Over the years we have lost many people, but 2020 has been very different with the pandemic going around, connecting virtually and people working from home. In the art and architecture community, we have lost many of the great creative minds this year due to the on-going pandemic and some due to natural causes. The legacies of these great minds will be remembered for many years to come, as their work has impacted the industry in a positive way.
1. Jan des Bouvrie- Dutch Architect
Awards: Culture Prize, The Style Prize, The Furniture Prize
Died on: 4th October 2020
Best known for his “kubusbank sofa” Jan Des Bouvrie was one of the creative minds and an astonishing architect, interior designer, and product designer. Apart from working, Des Bouverie also gave guest lectures in many design universities. His unique design philosophy developed during his time at the Rietveld Academy in Amsterdam, where his professional life began. Over the years, his ideas and visions developed by collaborating with manufacturers like Linteloo, Dutch Originals, and Gelderland.
In 2009, Jan Des Bouvrie was given the name Knight in the Order of the Netherlands Lion for his achievements in the field of art and design.
2. Dieneke Ferguson – Founder of Hidden Art
Died on: 21th September 2020
Dieneke Ferguson, the founding father of Hackney non-profit and style organization, was one creative mind and described as a visionary, endlessly resourceful, energetic, powerfully persuasive and eternally optimistic”, intentionally writer Barbara Chandler. She helped many British creatives to exhibit their work to a large audience during her course of time. Dieneke Ferguson alongside David Dewing, the then director of Hackney’s Museum of the House, found out the Hidden Art. Over the years, Dieneke mastered the art of fundraising, and secured grants to showcase Hidden Art at 100% Design and Milan design week.
3. Christian Liaigre – French Interior Designer
Awards: Sailing Yacht of the Year at the World Superyacht Awards
Died on: 2nd September 2020
“Christian Liaigre preferred a creative mind who let his designs speak for themselves,” said Liaigre’s studio in a statement.
Christian Liaigre, was a well-known French interior designer and architect who worked on homes for celebrities Calvin Klein, Rupert Murdoch, and Karl Lagerfeld. He redefined interiors by pioneering the use of dark wood, leather sofas, and a grey and brown color palette. Starting with furniture designs, Christian Liaigre moved on to expand his works into interiors for residences, holiday homes, yachts, and jets. Known for his refined, high-quality work, Christian used to interact with space by basing his designs on cultures and traditions, material selection, and the use of art and crafts.
4. Enzo Mari- Italian Artist
Books: Self-design, Hammer and Sickle-The hammer and the sickle by Enzo Mari and Riccardo Venturi, Landscapes, Fable Game, On Faces, A train-load of
Awards: Compasso d’Oro
Died on: 19th October 2020
“Design is only design if it communicates knowledge” – Enzo Mari
In a prolific 60-year career, this creative mind Italian designer Mari produced products for brands including Artemide, Alessi, Danese, Driade, and Zanotta. He embraced the concept of making well-designed pieces for ordinary individuals during his career.
His early works include a series of collaborations with Danese, the then newly founded Italian company, which saw the designer create vases, a pencil holder, a series of calendars, and a puzzle for his 16 children’s animals. He also designed the Delfina chair, which was designed for Driade and won the Italian Compasso d’Oro industrial design award.
The Putrella tray was also created by Mari from a slightly bent industrial beam for Danese.
5. Lea Vergine- Italian Art Historian
Edited works: When Trash Becomes Art, Capri 1905/1940, Turi Simeti, Trash, from Junk to Art, Staccioli
Died on: 20th October 2020
Lea Virgine died a day later on 20th October 2020, after her husband Enzo Mari was laid to rest on 19th October 2020 due to COVID-19. Lea Vergine has curated many exhibits and was particularly known for her writings on body art. Her book, The Body as Language, was first published in 1974. In 2016, a memoir of her career called L’arte non-è faccenda di persona perbene, which translates as Art is not the business of a decent person was published by Rizzoli.
She frequently worked for Italian newspapers such as Il Manifesto and Il Corriere Della Sera, and books including Body art and related stories: the body as a language, The other half of the avant-garde) and Life, maybe art.
6. Kenzo Takada – Japanese Fashion Designer
Awards: Ordre des Arts et des Lettres
Died on: 4th October 2020
Kenzō Takada created Kenzo, a global perfume, skincare, and clothing company, and was the honorary president of the Asian Federation of Couture. He was the first Japanese designer to gain popularity in the fashion sense in Paris, known for his vivid graphics, jungle-inspired prints, and eclectic use of color. In the 1960s, he settled in France and spent the remainder of his career there. The Japanese designer never stopped celebrating fashion and the art of living with nearly 8,000 designs during his career.
From selling his sketches to fashion houses to facing controversies during the start of his label, ‘Jungle Jap’ a reference to his country of birth and to his appreciation for the aesthetic of the rainforest. Until retiring from the fashion industry in 1999 at the age of 60, Takada remained with the label, taking overpainting and designing costumes for the opera.
7. Manlio Armellini- Advocate for Italian Design
Awards: Certificate of Merit and Gold Medal by Federlegno in 1994, Tagliacarne Prize by the Italian Association for Marketing Studies in 1998, Knight of the Grand Cross of Order and Merit of the Italian Republic
Died on: 16th November 2020
Manlio Armellini, famously known as the heart and soul of Salone del Mobile was a creative mind and an advocate for Italian design. He dedicated his life’s 40 years to the furniture industry from being involved in the inaugural edition of Salone in 1961 to Compasso d’Oro earning Europe’s Oldest Design Prize for promotion of Italian Design.
Following in his father’s footsteps Manilo Armellini started working at FederlegnoArredo alongside being an editor for L’INDUSTRIA del Legno e del Mobile from 1949-2000. In 1961, he co-founded Salone del Mobile and throughout the years he worked on expanding it to be the world’s largest furniture fair.
Through his passion and hard work, Manilo Armellini gained Italy’s highest honour, the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic.
8. Cini Boeri- Italian Architect
Awards: Los Angeles, Quirinal Palace, President of Italy
Died on: 9th September 2020
Cini Boeri, the founder of Cini Boeri Architetti was a creative mind known for her series of famous seating designs and invention of pop objects. Most of her furniture work is modular and still in production today, attesting to her designs’ timeless essence and her permanent emphasis on functionality.
Her interest in industrial design and economy, from materials to manufacturing, evolved from her experience during the Second World War. She was one of the first female Italian designers to rise to fame and was awarded the Compasso d’Oro Lifetime Achievement Award in 2011 and the Grand Officer of the Italian Republic’s Order of Merit. Throughout her career, Cini Boeri often collaborated with Arflex, the furniture brand for which she produced some of her most famous designs, including the Serpentone sofa from 1967 and 1971 with the monobloc foam Bobo chair.
She was a significant contributor to the cultural conversation. Domestic design and architecture were the subjects of several of her written essays. Architecture and design were an essential undertaking for Boeri. It was always an enormous obligation, rooted in a desire for integrity and a belief in equality.
9. Jack Portman – Architect and Developer
Died on: 28th August 2020
John C. “Jack” Portman III, often considered as the innovative architect, the elder Portman is best known for redefining the modern skyline of Atlanta. Following his father, John Calvin Portman Jr., Jack Portman earned his bachelor of Architecture and started practicing in 1973 at John Portman & Associates.
In 2017, after the demise of his father, Jack Portman became the leader of the firm and continued creating magnificent architecture with a focus on culturally sensitive design. Jack pioneered their international growth during his almost 50-year career with the Portman Companies, helping to transform the company into the real estate design and development firm that they are today.
10. Maria Piechotka- Polish Architect
Books: Heaven’s Gates: Wooden Synagogues in the Territories of the Former Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, Landscape with Menorah: Jews in the Towns and Cities of the Former Rzeczpospolita of Poland and Lithuania
Died on: 28th November 2020
The importance of the wooden synagogues of the 17th and 18th centuries was recognized by the Polish architect Maria Piechotka and her late husband as unique to their country the architecture and the richly colored murals. Piechotka and her husband, who were not Jews, recovered and strengthened their knowledge of the centuries-old synagogues.