A skilled interior and product designer, Lella Vignelli (1934–2016) and her husband Massimo co-founded Vignelli Associates, one of New York’s most sought-after studios.

A skilled interior and product designer, Lella Vignelli (1934–2016) and her husband Massimo co-founded Vignelli Associates, one of New York’s most sought-after studios.

A skilled interior and product designer, Lella Vignelli (1934–2016) and her husband Massimo co-founded Vignelli Associates, one of New York’s most sought-after studios.

Lella Vignelli. New York, 1980. © Vignelli Center for Design Studies.

Lella Vignelli. New York, 1980. © Vignelli Center for Design Studies.

Lella Vignelli. New York, 1980. © Vignelli Center for Design Studies.

Massimo worked on print assignments, while Lella took commissions for furniture, dinnerware, jewels, and interiors. The couple shaped their final designs in joint brainstorming sessions. The Vignellis have been described as “the first couple of modern design”, though Lella rarely got the spotlight. Just before he passed away in 2013, Massimo authored Designed by: Lella Vignelli—a 96-page love letter and compendium of his wife’s many unheralded contributions to modern design.

Massimo worked on print assignments, while Lella took commissions for furniture, dinnerware, jewels, and interiors. The couple shaped their final designs in joint brainstorming sessions. The Vignellis have been described as “the first couple of modern design”, though Lella rarely got the spotlight. Just before he passed away in 2013, Massimo authored Designed by: Lella Vignelli—a 96-page love letter and compendium of his wife’s many unheralded contributions to modern design.

Massimo worked on print assignments, while Lella took commissions for furniture, dinnerware, jewels, and interiors. The couple shaped their final designs in joint brainstorming sessions. The Vignellis have been described as “the first couple of modern design”, though Lella rarely got the spotlight. Just before he passed away in 2013, Massimo authored Designed by: Lella Vignelli—a 96-page love letter and compendium of his wife’s many unheralded contributions to modern design.

Pitagora theater seating system. © Poltrona Frau.

Pitagora theater seating system. © Poltrona Frau.

Pitagora theater seating system. © Poltrona Frau.

In 1955, Massimo and Lella Vignelli designed the Pitagora theater seating system for Poltrona Frau furniture company. Pitagora armchairs can be installed in straight or curved rows to furnish theatres and auditoriums. In 1985, Lella Vignelli designed a line of tableware for Japanese manufacturer Sasaki. In 1984, Italian silver manufacturer Cleto Munari asked the Vignellis to design a tea set in a post-modern way. Since the Vignellis never liked post-modern design, Lella took this opportunity for expressing her point of view on the subject by using a metaphor. The tea set shows the purity of the basic Euclidean shapes: the cube, pyramid, and sphere, each crashed or perforated by the snake of postmodernism. In 1977, the Vignellis built the interior of St. Peter’s Church in New York. They considered the project a holistic design concept, working on every element, from the pews to the organ.

In 1955, Massimo and Lella Vignelli designed the Pitagora theater seating system for Poltrona Frau furniture company. Pitagora armchairs can be installed in straight or curved rows to furnish theatres and auditoriums. In 1985, Lella Vignelli designed a line of tableware for Japanese manufacturer Sasaki. In 1984, Italian silver manufacturer Cleto Munari asked the Vignellis to design a tea set in a post-modern way. Since the Vignellis never liked post-modern design, Lella took this opportunity for expressing her point of view on the subject by using a metaphor. The tea set shows the purity of the basic Euclidean shapes: the cube, pyramid, and sphere, each crashed or perforated by the snake of postmodernism. In 1977, the Vignellis built the interior of St. Peter’s Church in New York. They considered the project a holistic design concept, working on every element, from the pews to the organ.

In 1955, Massimo and Lella Vignelli designed the Pitagora theater seating system for Poltrona Frau furniture company. Pitagora armchairs can be installed in straight or curved rows to furnish theatres and auditoriums. In 1985, Lella Vignelli designed a line of tableware for Japanese manufacturer Sasaki. In 1984, Italian silver manufacturer Cleto Munari asked the Vignellis to design a tea set in a post-modern way. Since the Vignellis never liked post-modern design, Lella took this opportunity for expressing her point of view on the subject by using a metaphor. The tea set shows the purity of the basic Euclidean shapes: the cube, pyramid, and sphere, each crashed or perforated by the snake of postmodernism. In 1977, the Vignellis built the interior of St. Peter’s Church in New York. They considered the project a holistic design concept, working on every element, from the pews to the organ.

Sasaki tableware designed by Lella Vignelli, 1985. © Vignelli Center for Design Studies.

Sasaki tableware designed by Lella Vignelli, 1985. © Vignelli Center for Design Studies.

Sasaki tableware designed by Lella Vignelli, 1985. © Vignelli Center for Design Studies.

Silver tea set for Cleto Munari designed by Lella Vignelli, 1984. © Vignelli Center for Design Studies.

Silver tea set for Cleto Munari designed by Lella Vignelli, 1984. © Vignelli Center for Design Studies.

Silver tea set for Cleto Munari designed by Lella Vignelli, 1984. © Vignelli Center for Design Studies.

Interior of St. Peter’s Church in New York.

Interior of St. Peter’s Church in New York.

Interior of St. Peter’s Church in New York.