August 13, 2013

A Mentor Who Created Poetry With His Pencil

 
Cleto Munari, left, was 42 years old in 1972 when he met his 66 year-old mentor, collaborator, and friend, Carlo Scarpa, center, both seen here with Ettore Sottsass,

Cleto Munari, left, was 42 years old in 1972 when he met his 66 year-old mentor, collaborator, and friend, Carlo Scarpa, center, both seen here with Ettore Sottsass, right.

“You have some good ideas but also a great feeling of proportion and an innate sense of beauty. And these are things that are within us and cannot be learned from books.”  These are the words Carlo Scarpa spoke to Cleto Munari that ignited an undiscovered passion in the latter to become a designer.

An article on The Curated Object by JoAnn Locktov explores the relationship between the two men. The unlikely pair met in 1972. “Cleto Munari remembers the meeting well. It took place in Vicenza, the Palladian city north of Venice, Italy, where both he and Carlo Scarpa worked. In Scarpa the architect, Munari found friend, teacher and collaborator,” Locktov writes.

Scarpa, the long-time architect and well-known Italian, took Munari, who had no formal design education, under his wing, teaching him about architecture, history, art, and design. Scarpa, as the mentor, helped Munari realize a career around creativity and collaboration: Cleto Munari Design Associates.

A silver cutlery set designed by Carlo Scarpa for Cleto Munari Design Associates

A silver cutlery set designed by Carlo Scarpa for Cleto Munari Design Associates is in the permanent collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Munari eats with his set every day. “It is ergonomically perfect and a feast for the eyes,” he says.

Scarpa designed several pieces in silver for Munari’s new business, including a cutlery set he took five years to perfect, one Munari wished to be “the most beautiful in the world.” Today, it is part of the permanent collection at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York so it’s safe to say his wish took him as close to achieving that dream as one can possibly come.

Munari commissioned Warhol to create this torn paper portrait of Scarpa

Both Munari and Scarpa met Andy Warhol at Harry’s Bar in Venice. Later, Munari commissioned Warhol to create this torn paper portrait of Scarpa, but the work wasn’t completed until after Scarpa’s death.

Scarpa passed away suddenly when he fell down a flight of stairs while visiting Japan in November 1978. “When Scarpa died I lost the compass of my life,” Munari said, their story adding credence to the idea that the greatest collaborations forge bonds beyond the norm.

See the full article about Scarpa and Munari’s amazing relationship and collaborations here. And follow writer JoAnn Locktov’s Dream of Venice on Facebook and Twitter for daily posts on the storied romantic city of bridges and canals that has captured her fascination almost as solidly as Munari and his contributions to the design canon have. I’d like to thank her for this powerful story about a mentor and his disciple.

Tagged under: , , , , , , , , , ,

Categorised in: , , ,