Published on luglio 25th, 2014 | by Raffaella Capritti0
OLIVARI B. S.P.A.
Via G. Matteotti, 140 - 28021 Borgomanero (NO) - ITALY
Phone +39 0322 835080 - Fax +39 0322 846484
Production: Handles, pull handles, door knobs
A hundred years of Olivari door handles
In its century-old history, Olivari has always sought out the maximum in quality, relying on the creativity of the best designers and architects. The Olivari family has handed down its attention to details, the search for innovation, and mainly a passion for its work, from generation to generation.
Battista Olivari founds the company in 1911 in Borgomanero, in the province of Novara; its plants are still there and its handles are entirely manufactured there. In 1926, Battista is succeeded by his wife Antonietta Ramelli, one of the few women directing a company at the time. In the 1930s, the first collaboration with architects begins with Marcello Piacentini and Gio Ponti, two of the important Italian architects of the era.
After World War II the company passes to the hands of the brothers Ernesto, Ambrogio, and Luigi. Olivari helps post bellum reconstruction by working side by side not only with Gio Ponti, who designs a classic handle like Lama, but with architects of the stature of Franco Albini, Ignazio Gardella, Angelo Mangiarotti, Caccia Dominioni, and BBPR as well. These designers create superbly handsome custom handles for their buildings. Then the designs stay in the Olivari catalog; some of them are still being manufactured.
Starting in the 1960s, Olivari is looking for new designs, and decides to call on the leading exponents of Italian design such as Sergio Asti, Marcello Nizzoli and Joe Colombo. At the same time it never stops following evolutions in technology: in 1959 it markets Bica, the world’s first anodized aluminum handle. In 1970 it introduces Boma, the first colored plastic handle. They both quickly become widely copied best-sellers.
In the 1980s, the company is handed down to the third generation of the Olivari family and the company goes international. New designers are summoned: Giorgetto Giugiaro, Ferdinand A. Porsche, Rodolfo Bonetto, and Giotto Stoppino, who wins the Italian Golden Compass design award with his handle Alessia.
The following decade is marked by profitable collaboration with Alessandro Mendini, the company’s art director who rethinks the corporate image. This is how handles by Paolo Portoghesi, Oscar Tusquets, Vico Magistretti, Richard Sapper, Andrea Branzi, and Massimo Iosa Ghini come into the company.
In the oughts, the manufacturing system is highly automated and environmentally friendly. The Biochrome finish and SuperFinish are introduced. Rodolfo Dordoni, Enzo Mari, James Irvine, Piero Lissoni, and Patricia Urquiola are just a few of the designers involved, not to mention leaders in contemporary architecture: Shigeru Ban, Steven Holl, Toyo Ito, Daniel Libeskind, Peter Marino and Dominique Perrault.
At the beginning of the year two thousand and ten, contemporary designers and architects such as Stefano Giovannoni, Jean Nouvel, Van Berkel and Marcel Wanders express themselves with different languages and create minimal sculpted, ergonomic, ironic handles.
2015 has just started and the research by Olivari continues…
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