Luigi Colani  

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"The earth is round, all the heavenly bodies are round; they all move on round or elliptical orbits. This same image of circular globe-shaped mini worlds orbiting around each other follows us right down to the microcosmos. We are even aroused by round forms in species propagation related eroticism. Why should I join the straying mass who want to make everything angular? I am going to pursue Galileo Galilei's philosophy: my world is also round." — Luigi Colani.

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Luigi Colani, (born in Berlin on 2 August 1928 as Lutz Colani), is a German industrial designer whose father came from Madulain near St. Moritz in Switzerland and mother from Poland.

The prime characteristic of his designs are the rounded, organic forms, which he terms "biodynamic" and claims are ergonomically superior to traditional designs. His "kitchen satellite" from 1969 is the most prominent example of this school of thought. Many of his designs for small appliances are being mass-produced and marketed, but his larger designs have not been built, "a whole host of futuristic concepts that will have us living in pods and driving cars so flat that leg amputation is the only option."

His unconventional designs have made him famous, not only in design circles, but also to the general public. He has received numerous design awards.

Colani currently resides in Karlsruhe, Germany.

Career timeline

1946
Studied sculpture at the Akademie der Künste, Berlin (academy of fine arts).
1948
Study of aerodynamics at Université de Paris-Sorbonne in Paris, France.
1953
Head of New Materials project group at McDonnell-Douglas in California.
1954
Receives the Golden Rose international prize for creation and design, in Geneva, Switzerland, for special Fiat bodywork; he is the originator of many Fiat designs in the coming years .
1957
Colani's Alfa Romeo design is the first sports car to clock a lap of under 10 minutes at the Nürburgring; it can now be seen in the Martini Rosso Museum.
1958
Catamaran racing success in Hawaii
1959
The world's first monocoque sports car: BMW 700
1960
World's first kit car in series: 1700 cars, Colani GT
1965
World-wide success with furniture design: Asko, Fritz-Hansen, Cor, Kusch+Co.
1966
Sports coupe, IAA Frankfurt
1970
Headquarters with major design team at Harkotten Castle near Sassenberg, Germany. Enormous success, work and exhibitions worldwide for many companies of major repute.
1972
Design of Eifelland Formula One car. First contacts with Japanese companies.
1973
First Far East study trip; Japan recognizes Colani's potential. Invitation by five companies to establish a Colani Design Center Japan. Rosenthal's Teapot Drop designed by Colani in Cooper-Hewitt Museum in N.Y.
1976
Fanliner, the first plastic sports airplane with a Wankel rotary engine constructed
1978
Revolutionary trucks, aircraft, car and ship studies at exhibitions world-wide
1981
Fuel economy world record set by the Colani 2CV (based on the French Citroën 2CV, 1.7 litres for 100 km with the original 2CV engine and chassis.
1982
Relocation to Japan
1983
Professor in Japan/Tokyo
1984
No. 1 industrial designer in Japan; Otaru exhibition, 60 m large shell
1985
Colani Robot Theatre most-attended at the Tokyo Tsukuba Expo. Pontresina propeller-driven airplane unveiled, having two contra-rotating coaxial pusher propellers with scimitar blades mounted in the tail. The propellers, also known as "centripetal supersonic propellers", were a new design idea. The plane was a design study and is not airworthy.
1986
Receives the Golden Camera Award for the Canon T90. Colani motorcycle world record in Italy. Foundation of the Colani Design Bern, Switzerland.
1987
Colani exhibition at Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris. Car design for Mazda, Japan. Pen design for Pelikan A.G., Germany
1988
Toulouse and Bremen branch offices. Professor h.c. of the Hochschule für Gestaltung, Bremen. Preparation on a widescale basis for record speed on land, water and air and economy world records in Utah, USA
1989
Sony headphones by Colani placed in Museum of Modern Art, New York. Formation of the company Colani Trading AG in Zürich, Switzerland
1990
Exhibition in Centre International de l'Automobile car museum in Paris; Presentation of the new Swissair uniforms designed by Colani
1991
Creation of optical frames and jewelry collection; Colani Ferrari sets record at Bonneville Speedway in Utah
1992
Computer mouse design for Sicos; creation of the Colani cosmetics collection; Colani signs a contract with European computer chain Vobis of Germany
1993
Presentation of the Colani field glasses; Shopping center exposition through Switzerland
1994
Colani Vobis Highscreen computer gets award for the Computer of the Year 1994. Cooperation with Carl Zeiss Jena
1995
Cologne, Germany opens new head office of Colani's design works. Designs for major companies in the construction and building industry. China's ambassador invited Colani for future projects to Shanghai, China, and he gets a professor title of the most famous University of Shanghai, Tongji
1996
Office furniture designs for Grahl, Michigan USA. Architecture project presentation for Shanghai, China, called Bio-City
1997
Created a new piano for famous piano builder Wilhelm Schimmel. Start of the DESIGN-show through more than 30 shopping centers in Germany
1998
Start of a bank terminal design project with one of the world's leading computer manufacturers. Design for a new microscope and photo camera at the Colani Shanghai office. Water bottle design for Carolinen-Brunnen, Germany.
1999
Presentation of a new "shower" (bathroom-combination)-generation for the German company Dusar. Furniture project with Kusch & Co., Germany. A world leader in porcelain, Rosenthal, Germany, plans to promote a special edition of the famous "Drop" teapot designed by Colani.
2000
"Human-City" architecture model by MW Energie AG in Mannheim, Germany. Colani optical frames presentation at optical shows in Milan, Paris and Las Vegas.
2001
Design for a new microscope and photo camera (for Seagull) at the Colani Shanghai office. Six exhibitions through shopping malls (ECE-group) throughout Germany. COLANI-Calendar for Castrol-Germany.
2002
Leading Swiss mineral-water company Valser (acquired by Coca-Cola in 2002) presents new bottle design by Colani. Start of another exhibition-tour through over 25 shopping malls (until 2004) by ECE-Group. Opening of a world-leading museum of design, Pinakothek, in Munich, Germany (including several Colani designs). Spitzer-Silo presents new Colani truck at IAA in Hannover, Germany.
2003
Uniforms designed for the police Hamburg/Germany. Designed the tt-62-plane for hp-aircraft.de&nbps;— over 40 units of this business jet sold already! Futuristic car design: Speedster shark (see "Visions")
2004
Guest Speaker and Presenter at World Economic Forum WEF in Davos, Switzerland. Porcelain giftware creations (Cappuccino, Espresso mugs).

"Life on Board" project

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Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Luigi Colani" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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