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Enzo Mari: Serie della Natura

Enzo Mari: Serie della Natura 'Rana' 1976 (no longer available)

From 1963 until 1976, Italian designer Enzo Mari created his iconic series; "Serie della Natura” for Edizione Danese Milano. With "Serie della Natura", Enzo Mari paid tribute to nature and sought to bring natural elements such as animals and flowers into the home.  Although he has been compared to pop-art masters such as Andy Warhol and Tom Wesselmann; Enzo Mari's body of work is uniquely different.  Each boldly colored Enzo Mari art work was silk-screened and printed on heavy-wove texilina paper (a blend of paper and fleece).  It was originally supplied with two aluminum strips so it could be easily attached to a wall.  Later editions featured black PVC strips.  These beautiful oversized (111 x 111.5cm) silkscreens were produced until the late 1980s when Edizione Danese Milano ran into financial trouble and yanked them from their presses.  Many of these art works were completely forgotten over time; including the beautiful 'Rana' print from 1976 (above).  The current overly-contemporary collection of Danese (now for the 3rd time under new management) is a far and perhaps sad cry from the classic design icons they were once famous for.  Many of these prints, including Enzo Mari's 'Tredici Funghetti, 'Il Gorilla' and 'Cephalantus Occidentalis', have been overlooked although they are perhaps even more relevant today than when they were released in the 1960s and 1970s.  Hopefully, our article will convince the current management of Danese that the source of their riches may lay in their historically significant past.

Luckily enough, some Enzo Mari prints remain available including his bold and timeless 
La Mela and La Pera prints (images below).

Enzo Mari: Serie della Natura 'Uno, La Mela' 1963 (available from nova68)

Enzo Mari: Serie della Natura 'Due, La Pera' 1963 (available from nova68)

Enzo Mari: Serie della Natura 'Tre, La Mela e la Pera' 1963 (available from nova68)

Enzo Mari: Serie della Natura 'Quattro, La Pantera' 1965 (available from nova68)

Enzo Mari: Serie della Natura 'Tredici Funghetti' 1976 (no longer available)

Enzo Mari is by now infamous in the design world for his critical views (that is an understatement) on the current poor state of design and architecture.  But Enzo Mari's critics are clearly missing the point.  Enzo Mari was and still is a passionate perfectionist;  he takes incredible joy in "the beauty of things".  Throughout his career, Enzo Mari has sought to create a more beautiful world through his art, books and design.  In the progress, the husband and wife team of Enzo and Iela Mari have brought smiles to thousands of children and adults throughout the world with their truly wonderful drawings depicted in books including La mela e La Farfalla, Animali nel Prato and Mangia che ti Mangio (available from amazon.it). It has been extremely difficult for Enzo to see the barrage of tasteless contemporary design that is being cranked out by people who obviously don't have any clue about design.  So today we raise our Camparisoda in your honor Enzo and Iela;
you have deserved the right to critique anyone you want!

Enzo Mari: Serie della Natura 'Quindici il Gorilla' 1976 (no longer available)

Domus 458 / February 1968 page details. Enzo Mari, Serie della natura series. The prints can be rolled up and are kept taut by two aluminium sections. The whole series was presented with a text by Pierre Restany at the Apollinaire gallery in Milan in November 1967.

Text and Image Credits: © Lucia Fontana for moderndesign.org