enzo mari wants to choke bad designers with his bare hands.

You may not recognize him, but this man is a hero. He is a designer and his name is Enzo Mari. In 1974 he published a little book called Autoprogettazione. It included plans for 19 DIY furniture projects, and the plans looked like this:

Mari may have provided the plans, but that doesn't mean he meant for them be followed strictly. Disgusted by what he calls the "alienation of industry," Mari hoped to put the power back in the hands of the consumer.
Results vary.

In a recent interview with Apartamento magazine, Mari expressed a distaste for the word "design." He prefers "project," or, in Italian, progetto.

"Projects can only be taught concretely," he told the interviewer. "It can't be done abstractly, using fragmented banal theories, but only intervening critically on a student's practice.
"Every time I asked them [students] to choose what to design, they would propose things like chairs, say, things that have already been designed thousands of times before.
"I would say all the time, 'Look out the window. If everything you see is beautiful, and right, and you approve it there's nothing left to design.
"'If there is something that makes you want to choke the designer and the commissioner with your own bare hands, something that horrifies you, that is the reason for your project.'"

In 2009, a London gallery staged a group exhibition celebrating Mari's Autoprogettazione. The plans may have been published in the early '70s, but the ideas behind them still seem current as ever.


  1. yes yes yes! what a man! lets build furniture this summer!

  2. fascinating, the idea of open design at that time!