03 May 2017

Milan’s design culture: life stories as told by the Vico Magistretti Foundation
Vico Magistretti: manual skill
The art of making

“There was an extremely powerful group of small craftsmen who were absolutely invaluable. Invaluable because they enabled us to produce our models, I don’t mean with our own hands but with theirs, knowing, understanding whether or not they could use their own discretion.”

During the ‘80s, Spalding asked Vico Magistretti to design a golf bag and clubs.

Magistretti was delighted, saying: “I have to say there is one thing I really love: it’s playing golf; I played well because I was in the top class, I had a handicap of 9, so it was good fun … the wonderful thing is that if you’re really keen you think you’re playing better and better, because you learn, you read, you watch …”.

He asked the great model-maker Giovanni Sacchi, who had a workshop in Via Sirtori in Milan, to produce the first models for the heads of the woods, the best golf clubs for nailing long-distance shots.

For Vico Magistretti, working with craftsmen meant drawing on their experience to check the feasibility of his projects. Pierluigi Ghianda says that Vico Magistretti went to see him in his workshop while working on the Vidun table for De Padova, and asked him to make the first model for it. Magistretti explained that the concept was a table inspired by traditional work tables, with a central support on 4 legs.

Vidun Courtesy De Padova PH. L. Soave

It was Ghianda who suggested a three-legged solution, because the table legs would otherwise have resembled a swastika. It would also be more stable, as evidenced by the milking stools used in the Brianza area. Vico Magistretti, not entirely convinced, asked him to make both models: Vidun has three legs.

1987, Vidun De Padova - Studio Magistretti Archives

Vico Magistretti always said he would never have known how to make the joint between the leg and the seat of a chair, for example. He added that in any case he would have developed that chair with someone who had made them in spades, so it would have been he who told him which joint was the best, the strongest, the simplest to make ….

Carimate chair joint, courtesy Cassina

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