During his lifetime, Vico Magistretti became one of the most recognized names in design, helping to define post-war Italian design on the world's stage while introducing modern design and architecture to an essentially conservative and traditionalist clientele. Working in town-planning, architecture, industrial design, and furniture design, Magistretti was driven by a passion for what he called "anonymous traditional objects," which he found extraordinary precisely for their ordinariness - their humility, timelessness, and everyday utility.
Magistretti's architectural contributions include small homes, large residential estates, hotels, offices, cinemas, banks and churches in Italy and around the world. His furniture and objects have also had a great impact; some of his most well known pieces were designed for Cassina, with whom he worked for more than twenty years. He also engaged a long-standing partnership with DePadova, which has been described as "an enviable equilibrium of tact and self-assurance."
Some of his most important innovations are the use of S-shaped legs for maximum support without breaking the integrity of the singular piece, and the technique of thickening the plastic to reinforce the areas that receive more stress. His paean to the "anonymous object" is his "Sinbad" armchair and sofa (1981) which has an informal, cozy quality achieved by its English horse blanket throwover cover.
Magistretti also designed the "Maralunga" chair (1973) which features an adjustable headrest. Still one of Cassina's best selling pieces, the ageless Maralunga line includes an armchair, an ottoman and a sofa; all combine the comfort of a high back lounge chair with the scale of a conventional chair and sofa and are available with fabric or leather upholstery.
Along with 12 other pieces designed by Magistretti, Maralunga is part of the Permanent Collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York. In 1973, Maralunga was named by Fortune magazine as one of the 25 best designed products, the only product in the furnishing field.
Before his passing at the age of 86, Magistretti's designs dominated the Milan design scene for four decades. Eighty percent of his work is still being made today.