Enzo Mari attended the Academy of Fine Arts of Brera in Milan and, at a very young age, worked in the field of Arte Programmata (Programmed Art) to devote himself, from 1956 onwards, to industrial design also experimenting with new materials. In art, he promoted the international movement “Nuove Tendenze” (New Trends). In the 1960s, he revolutionized the concept of design through objects useful for the so-called ordinary people, until then excluded from a sector deemed elitist. Thus were born creations that do not feel the wear and tear of time, free from fashions, whose meaning lies not only in the constant and long research work, but also in the quality of the shapes. Mari has always looked at human needs outside the market conditions. He has articulated in his work the inventions of artist, designer and theorist, as an author of fifteen educational and political books.
His works are included in important permanent museums’ collections such as the Museum of Modern Art in New York, La Galleria d’Arte Moderna in Rome, the Musée des Arts Décoratifs Palais du Louvre in Paris, the Center d’Art Santa Mònica in Barcelona, the Kaiser Wilhelm Museum in Krefeld, the Zagreb Modern Art Gallery and in other public and private collections.
He taught in several Universities, in Italy, in Vienna and in Berlin.
He was awarded the Compasso d’Oro five times; the first in 1967 for “individual design research” and the last in 2011 for the career. In 2014 he received the Ambrogino d’Oro, the highest honor of the Municipality of Milan.
In 2000, the Polytechnic of Milan awarded him an Honoris Causa Degree in Industrial Design and in 2015 the Academy of Fine Arts of Brera in Milan, awarded him the Honoris Causa Academic Diploma in Visual Arts and the title of Academician of Italy.