Essentially, an artist and designer. In actual fact, so much more. Starting with his role as director of the Cassina research centre, from 1969 to 1976, which enabled him to practice art in an industrial environment. He also went on coordinating the production of Mario Bellini’s Karasutra minivan and Gaetano Pesce’s subterranean habitat for one of the great milestone exhibitions in the history of Italian design, New Domestic Landscape at MoMA in New York in 1972. In 1980 he set up his own Design and Communication Centre for researching and promoting design projects, some of which were developed for Cassina, including Mario Bellini’s Cab, Toshiyuki Kita’s Wink, and Gaetano Pesce’s Tramonto a New York.
An extremely lively non-conformist, Binfaré was born in Milan in 1939 and is the undisputed king of sofas, having designed an infinite number of them over his sixty-year career. Timeless, apparently simple, large-scale sofas, dispensers of wellbeing that combine technology and natural materials. Crosses between sofas and sculptures, such as L’Homme et La Femme, which was also the first ever to introduce variable configurations; or deconstructed and versatile like Flat; soft and welcoming, like Standard; or inspired by the Orient, flexible; adaptable, classical even, right up to the famous Pack, a bear on lying on its side (the backrest), on an ice pack (the seat). Provocative, and a catalyst for reflection for us all.
His father taught him how to paint and draw, skills that he then drew upon in his pursuit of design, exploring original methods for triggering creativity and involving architects and designers in the creation of products that have become Made in Italy icons, from Vico Magistretti’s Maralunga to Mario Bellini’s Bambole, Paolo Deganello’s AEO chair and Gaetano Pesce’s Up and Sit Down.
He took part in the travelling exhibition on the future of the technology at the Triennale in 1982, the same year as he embarked on his successful and prolific collaboration with Edra. A visionary, he has designed installations for new product launches, inventing what we now refer to as the concept of an event, and promoted experimental initiatives showcasing cutting edge objects, such as Bracciodiferro in 1973, with Gaetano Pesce and Alessandro Mendini, and Environmedia in 1974 with Mario Bellini and Pierpaolo Saporito, promoting the use of interactive media in design practice. A contemporary Ulysses, navigating the history of Italian design.