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Autoprogettazione (Multilingual) Hardcover – December 20, 2014
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Top Customer Reviews
Enzo Mari, a designer of furniture and other things in Italy, asked interesting social questions about relationships between people and things, such as furniture. In a 1974 workshop which became a gallery exhibit, he fostered the experience of creating and making a thing that worked mechanically and also made a connection with the heart of the maker. Using simple boards, often of no particular quality, plus one saw, one hammer and some nails, anyone could experience the journey of creating something useful. He spoke to the spark of creativity in all of us, plus the peace and pride of filling an everyday need.
Mr. Mari wrote that this was not about the DIY practice that is common in America. In part that was about his philosophical view of "free time." To learn more, read this book. It is an easy, fast read, with text in both Italian and English. Read some of it several times to appreciate the subtlety of his argument.
As an active Do It Yourself (DIY) American, at some point I grew through the unskilled zone that Mr. Mari addressed in 1974. I have tools and skills, and have used them to create or recreate many things that bring me joy (and possibly, that bring others joy as well). From that viewpoint--less than a professional but more than a rookie--I see brilliant simplicity in many of the designs in Autoprogettazione. I look forward to making a few projects by using his designs as a starting concept. Given an idea by Enzo Mari, what can I make of it? I will post a few photos when I have results.
If you have a moment, the Wikipedia page for Enzo Mari has a picture of him with a bunch of miniatures of the projects in the book.
"Autoprogettazione" is hard to convey in English. This explanation appears on page 5 of the book:
"Literally it means auto = SELF and progettazione = DESIGN. But the term 'self-design' is misleading since the word 'design' to the general public now signifies a series of superficially decorative objects. By the word AUTOPROGETTAZIONE Mari means an exercise to be carried out individually to improve one's personal understanding of the sincerity behind the project. To make this possible you are guided through an archetypal and very simple technique. Therefore the end product, although usable, is only important because of its educational value."
My copy of Autoprogettazione is a second edition (copyright 2005), fifth printing in 2014. Cover price is 15 Euros. Current price on Amazon ranges from $24 to $37 (U.S.). I bought this small, 64-page book on the high end of that range, at about $0.60 per page. I rarely pay even close to that. And yet, I found enough intensity, vision, clarity, and compact density to justify my expense and make this a valued book in my workshop. The heavy cardstock pages help explain the cost. For a book meant as a springboard to making something, the size, materials and binding are ideal. I work outside. This book will not blow away in a breeze, and it will survive through many projects. Perfect.
Perceptions vary. All I can say is, "Thank you, Mr. Mari, for sharing your work with me."