MIM "Mobili Italiani Moderni"


Mobili Italiana Moderne, (MIM) was an Italian furniture company that in the 50s and 60s made a strong contribution to the spread of Italian design and production innovation. Founded in 1957 by the Fazioli brothers, Ennio, Virgilio and Marcello, MIM quickly became one of the most important post-war companies for the design, construction and sale of furniture for the home and office, and in a few years became a reference point for modern Italian design and culture.

Under the driving force of the six brothers (Ennio, Virgilio, and Marcello, the younger brothers Domenico, Roberto and Paolo also joined the company over the years) an elegant shop was opened in Largo dei Lombardo where the first MIM collection was exhibited. The displays were striking, enriched with paintings and murals by abstract artist Gastone Novelli and lighting by Fontana Arte. Ico Parisi was hired as artistic director of the company, and along with his wife Luisa, other designers who contributed to the line in the early years were Carlo di Carli and Gianfranco Frattini. Parisi helped to develop a business plan which included innovations in the furniture production process, along with new design ideas to integrate architecture and visual arts along with furniture design, in furtherance of the multi-disciplinary pluralism approach that was developing in the post-war design community. MIM began to involve top Italian designers and architects in the design and production process. Starting with the MIM logo, designed by Bruno Munari in 1954, other established professionals such as Bruno Zevi, Giò Ponti, Carlo Scarpa, Luigi Pellegrini, Marco Zanuso, Vittorio Gregotti and Alessandro Mendini contributed innovative designs for chairs, desks, armchairs, sofas, and bookshelves for both residential and commercial applications. MIM also distinguished itself with a revolutionary furniture packaging and shipping system to optimize space and transport, anticipating the Ikea system by many years.


The seventies were the most successful period for the company, with acquisitions of two factories, one for woodworking and one for metalworking, and expansion abroad with the opening of showrooms in Paris, Brussels and Antwerp. At peak production, the company had three plants and 600 employees. Architect and graphic designer Leonardo Sinisgalli, who had worked with Pirelli and Alitalia, was signed on to lead a series of educational and information seminars aimed at professional architects, to include design-related topics as well as broader cultural topics of general interest and current affairs. He also led in the organization of exhibitions and the publication of MIM notebooks, one of which was dedicated to Bruno Munari. From 1964 to 1966 MIM published a magazine directed by Sinisgalli "La botte il violino," modeled on a portfolio of design and drawings from the period. In 2000, the production of the plants ended, however sales of the limited reproductions of iconic MIM products remains very strong.

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