“Design has its own world in which to act. The risk is that by emerging from these practical and theoretical boundaries, marvelous settings get created which, however, are short-lived. Be careful of useless things”

Angelo Mangiarotti (Milan 1921 – Milan 2011) was a truly original creator within the vast arena of international architecture: An Italian master of style, he was able to export his ideas and philosophies to the rest of the world. His career began in the early 1950s and his creations became points of reference for the world of architecture and engineering as well as for design and contemporary art.

The collaboration between Mangiarotti and Snaidero began in the 1960s. There was an immediate personal understanding between the architect and the Company’s founder, Rino Snaidero, based on a reciprocal personal and professional admiration. This understanding became the foundation of a relationship that continued to develop and that initially expressed itself in the design and manufacture of pioneering kitchen models. Mangiarotti designed the “Cruscotto” kitchen and “Sistema” line for Snaidero, both of which were distinguished by exceptionally refined volumes and materials. In fact, by virtue of its innovative stylistic and functional contributions, “Cruscotto” was accepted into the permanent collection of the “MoMa” in New York.

The relationship based on mutual admiration and collaboration between Rino Snaidero and Angelo Mangiarotti reached its peak, however, when the architect was given the job of designing the new building to house Snaidero’s offices and central headquarters in Majano (Udine). At the time – the early 1970s – the architect was designing a bold series of blown glass vases similar in shape to the organic form of a mushroom. A fascination with form that the architect decided to transport and translate into the architectural design for the Snaidero headquarters.

He then also brilliantly solved the design challenge by choosing to make the building’s facade out of fibreglass. This was secured to a reinforced concrete structure, which in turn was supported by four columns. The result was a building highly characterised by the use of original materials and a refined construction system. This was highlighted by the slightly protruding elliptical windows that became round in the curvature of the corners. The outer “skin” – punctured by windows, like the side of a ship or an airplane – should be viewed as the exceptional and definitive result of a patient study into the idea of outer shells and their use in architecture.

In 1977, following the damage caused by an earthquake the year before, Mangiarotti also completed a beautiful cover made from a steel structure partly suspended over the porticos and partly resting on the pillars. Once again this design testified to his ability – supported by technique and analytical thinking – to work with the most diverse materials, remaining within the scope of their natural logics.