Joe Sofa
Paolo Lomazzi, Donato D'Urbino, Jonathan De Pas

Polyurethane foam and leather
33¹⁄₂ x 65¹⁄₄ x 41³⁄₄”

In 1966, the design collective was co-founded by architects Jonathan De Pas (1932-1991), Donato D’Urbino (b. 1935), and Paolo Lomazzi (b. 1936). The threesome met while studying architecture at Milan’s Polytechnic University.

The group focused on architecture (industrial and residential buildings), urban development, and industrial design. During the 1960s and 1970s they developed a specific interest in developing furniture and temporary buildings featuring avant-garde signs, materials and industrial technologies.

Taking inspiration from pop culture and leisure-time activities the group focused on radical seating objects. They took the views of a changing society in which furniture was no longer desired or required to last a lifetime and introduced a collection of furniture that represented precisely the opposite. The transparent armchair Blow (1967) was constructed from PVC film, and was the first piece of inflatable living room furniture to be mass-produced, as well commercially successful. Blow was manufactured by Zanotta, bringing the Italian manufacturer international recognition. The Joe Sofa (1968-70) was the second to become a design classic from De Pas, D’Urbino & Lomazzi, this time manufactured by Poltronova. It was a tribute to the American baseball player Joe DiMaggio, forming a sofa in the shape of an oversized baseball glove.

The group designed the entrance for Milan’s 14th Triennial (1968), which took the form of a long tunnel with port holes, as well as the Italian Pavilion at the Osaka World Expo (1970). From the 1970s onwards, they designed both industrial and residential buildings, and extended their focus to the diverse areas of industrial products including, home and office equipment, lighting, and electronics. —Pamono

(Photo: MoMA)