Aug. 26 Art Minute: Ico Parisi and Luisa Parisi, ‘Sideboard’

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Ico Parisi (Italian, 1916–1996) and Luisa Parisi (Italian, 1914–1990), Sideboard. Mahogany with lacquered brass mounts, about 1955. 36 by 81 ½ inches. Purchased with funds from the Florence Scott Libbey Bequest in Memory of her Father, Maurice A. Scott, 1984.79. Gallery 18

Ico Parisi (Italian, 1916–1996) and Luisa Parisi (Italian, 1914–1990), Sideboard. Mahogany with lacquered brass mounts, about 1955. 36 by 81 ½ inches. Purchased with funds from the Florence Scott Libbey Bequest in Memory of her Father, Maurice A. Scott, 1984.79. Gallery 18

As sleek and sexy as its Italian contemporaries the Vespa scooter and the films of Federico Fellini, this sideboard, designed by Ico and Luisa Parisi, presents a chic example of Italian postwar 20th-century design. Designed for a dining room, its elegantly arranged and meticulously matched wood grains distinguish the angular lines of the horizontal body, which is raised on slender legs tapering at the front into gleaming protective brass sheaths, like a stiletto-clad leg seductively extended from beneath a skirt.

Husband and wife, Ico and Luisa Parisi were highly innovative players in Italian furniture design in the 1950s. After separately garnering success in architecture, airplane design, film, and photography, in 1947 the Parisis established La Ruota (the wheel), a studio that specialized in interior design, including ceramics and glassware as well as furniture. In their sideboard the grace and fluidity of modern sculpture is imbued with a refined structural dynamic indebted to the plywood models for the Parisis’ airplane designs.


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