carlo de carli desk cover article

Carlo De Carli and his synergistic architecture between man and nature

Carlo De Carli can be considered the quintessential Milanese architect. His work encompasses both interior design and teaching at the renowned Polytechnic University of Milan, in addition to numerous exhibitions at the Triennale in the Lombard capital. His poetics blend methodology, scientific studies, and artistic experiments, all in pursuit of creating a comprehensive architecture and a kind of total work of art, where man and nature are in a close symbiosis.

De Carli, a pioneer of Bio-architecture

Carlo De Carli was an innovative architect and designer of the 20th century, laying the groundwork for an embryonic bio-architecture project in which man and the surrounding environment coexist in close connection. Like his predecessors Le Corbusier, Gropius, and Mies Van Der Rohe, who advocated for the Modern Move

ment and the architectural trend of Minimalism, the Italian architect and designer also explored innovative strategies to provide effective and comfortable housing solutions for mankind.

His architectural unity incorporates natural elements, akin to the phytomorphic forms of the Finnish architect Alvar Aalto, along with contemporary structural elements that ensure a complete overview and livability of spaces. The concept of the house and building, translated into residential and condominium solutions where multiple people coexist, converges into a singular architectural unit meant to be lived in, akin to a physical forest where different animal species live in complete harmony.

Various residential and housing projects across the entire Italian peninsula

Among his most renowned projects and housing plans, one must mention the Caletta of Siniscola in Nuoro (1951) or the nursing home in Negrar, Verona. These are residential gardens and buildings with loggias, architectural walks, and open sequences that provide each apartment with a sense of autonomy and an internal green space, beneficial for individuals both psychologically and physically.

The mission of architect Carlo De Carli is to contain space and offer individuals a livable and comfortable cell in which to carry out their daily activities. The intention of the Italian designer is pedagogical, aiming to pass on the best strategies to optimize and enhance space, even in small dimensions and common living contexts. There is a strong desire to preserve and protect that kind of primary space in which a person should feel good and have everything at hand, including a small outdoor area to use as a vegetable garden or a balcony garden.

The theater projects

Carlo De Carli architecture. Credit by Ordinearchitetti.

Carlo De Carli architecture. Credit by Ordinearchitetti.

Throughout his career, Carlo De Carli designed numerous structures for communal spaces, such as the Piccolo Teatro of Sant’Erasmo in Milan (1951-1953) or the Church of Sant’Idelfonso, also in the city of Milan. Even in the realization of these buildings, one can perceive a strong will to ensure a primary space of interaction beneficial for humans, where people (in this case, spectators and believers) can interact and collaborate in perfect harmony.

His concept of space is in constant motion, conceived as a sort of work-in-progress treadmill that spreads from the central plan, creating tension and dynamics among the load-bearing structures. The result is a geometry of movement, a projection of motion that animates the actor, the believer, and the individual who lives and interacts in that space, through modules, ellipses, vortices, and strategies that maximize every available centimeter in service of humanity.

Carlo De Carli and design: his famous desk

Designed in the early 1950s, the famous desk is confined within a monolithic wooden structure, enlivened on the sides by more dynamic and stylized forms that create a contrasting effect. The result is a solid and robust piece of furniture that beautifully reflects the canons of the time, Rationalism, and Structuralism, which were dear to the recently overcome fascist manifesto and regime.

Carlo de Carli Desk Wood Glass and Brass - ltwid

Carlo de Carli Desk Wood Glass and Brass – ltwid

The innovation lies in the introduction of a glass plate that allows a glimpse inside, creating a play of solids and voids, lightening the structure, and providing a functional recess to organize magazines and newspapers. The drawers, lamp corner, and ample leg space confirm that we are faced with a kind of interactive desk and office desktop similar to those of our modern-day, only more antique and monumental.