Goodbye Rodolfo Dordoni

Rodolfo Dordoni has passed away. His well-balanced, refined objects have always had the capacity to define an environment and its atmosphere, writing the story of Italian design over the last thirty years

Rodolfo Dordoni – courtesy Minotti
Rodolfo Dordoni – courtesy Minotti

His signature style was a very Milanese kind of discretion. Rodolfo Dordoni died on 1 August, following an illness that he had been living with for many years, leaving a void in the world of design. His way of being, understated and reserved, always away from the glamour of high society, translated into a refined and elegant style that has been the voice of major interior design brands. Always an art director, after graduating in Architecture in 1979 he began working alongside fellow student Giulio Cappellini, who at the time was embarking on a process of renewing the family brand. One of his first collaborations was with Minotti in 1997, a longstanding partnership that was never interrupted. Then came Roda, Artemide, Molteni&C., Cassina, Poliform, Foscarini, Kettal, to name just a few.

Anyone who knew him was aware that he was a great lover of dogs. I often met him early in the morning in Brera with his dog Ottone, an Italian spinone the colour of cognac who stayed by his side throughout the rest of the day, in the studio in via Bramante, a long space in a beautiful courtyard, that he shared with partner Luca Zaniboni. In the office, Ottone reclined on leather sofas and listened in on the meetings, projects and interviews. Once, inside this exquisitely stylish interior, Dordoni told us, “We are fortunate to live in a situation where taste and beauty are part of our everyday life”, “as a result, I believe that our work as designers is not only the fruit of development, intuition and study of function, but the result of attention and concentration”.

His objects have always been able to give places a distinctive look. Designing collections of furniture, Dordoni always found himself working more on the context than on the individual object. The sum of his individual pieces was able to define an environment and its atmosphere in a way that was immediately recognisable. His work was the fruit of attention and sensitivity, crossing  the boundaries of style and function. A language made up of details and tactile perceptions, forms and dimensions that only hands-on experience can bring.

Enrolled in the Olympus of the Maestri, Rodolofo will be missed.