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Gastone Rinaldi was born in the Italian town of Padova in the Venice Region in 1920. After working in his father’s metal shop he and his brother took over the company called R.I.M.A. and executed other designer’s work in metal, for example a bookcase in 1946 for Vico Magistretti. His natural ingenuity for finding solutions to complex metal engineering problems such as the stackability of chairs and the behavior of various metals brought him and the company to the foreground of design in Italy in the very early 1950’s.

Although not widely known today, he is very much collected at the high end of the design market. The limited production output that did survive and the fact that seemingly odd looking chairs were thrown away in the mid-eighties, all contributed to the fact that he is not more widely known to us today. He received an Honorable Mention for his Chair Design DU43 at the 1954 Compasso d’Oro competition, the highest design award in Italy at the time and a full award at the same Compasso in the same year for Model DU30.

Other models produced were the DU55P and the DU68 designs. The new models were always with new forms or ingenious design solutions. Starting in 1956 the company worked on sofas with metal structures and fold down mechanisms.

The company’s zenith was achieved in 1958 with the Saturno sofa design using solid bar stock steel for a real avant garde design (shown below).

rima-repertorioNo other metal company today has produced anything like it because of the metal bending problems. The expense of the tooling required outweighs the selling possibilities. A modified version of the sofa was made in the early seventies for his new company Thema, but very few of these were produced (Black and white photos used here are from the Repertorio design guide). The color Saturno pictures were taken by us at a private residence.

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