Vignelli, Lella 1934- (Elena Valle)

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Vignelli, Lella 1934- (Elena Valle)


Born 1934, in Udine, Italy; moved to the United States, 1965; daughter of Provino and Ave Valle; married Massimo Vignelli, September 15, 1957; children: Luca, Valentina. Education: Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA, School of Architecture, 1958; University of Venice, Italy, School of Architecture, D.Arch., 1962.


Office—Vignelli Designs, 130 E. 67th St., New York, NY 10021.


Furniture designer, interior designer, graphic designer. Skidmore, Owings, and Merrill architectural firm, Chicago, IL, interiors department, designer, 1959-1960; Lella and Massimo Vignelli Office of Design and Architecture, Milan, Italy, founder and principal, 1960-64; Unimark International, Milan, and New York, NY, head of interiors department, 1965-71; Vignelli Associates, New York, NY, executive vice-president and cofounder, 1971—; Vignelli Designs, New York, NY, president and cofounder, 1978—. New York City Landmarks Preservation Foundation, board member.

Exhibitions include: "Italy: The New Domestic Landscape," Museum of Modern Art, New York, 1972; "Knoll au Musée," Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Paris, 1972; "Design & Design: Associazione Disegno Industriale," Milan and Venice, 1979; "The Work of Lella and Massimo Vignelli," Parsons School of Design, New York, 1980; "Vignelli," Padiglione d'Arte Contemporanea, Milan, 1980; "Design since 1945," Philadelphia Museum of Art, 1983; "New Design for Old," Boilerhouse/Victoria and Albert Museum, London, 1986; "Lella and Massimo Vignelli, Recent Works," Ontario Art Gallery, Toronto, 1987; "Vignelli in Miami," Luminaire, Inc., Miami, 1987; "Graphic Design in America," Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, 1989-1990 (toured); "Design USA," United States Information Agency sponsored tour of the Soviet Union, 1989-1991; "Design: Vignelli," Academy of the Arts of the U.S.S.R., 1989 (toured ten European cities, 1989-1993, ending at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Paris). Works included in permanent collections at the Museum of Modern Art, New York; Cooper-Hewitt Museum, New York; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Philadelphia Museum of Art; Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Montreal; Israel Museum, Jerusalem; Die Neue Sammlung, Munich; Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe, Hamburg; Vitra Museum, Weil Am Rhein, Jewish Museum, New York, NY. Designs include: Boston Architectural Center, 1976; Kansas City Art Institute, 1978; and Art Center College of Design, Pasadena, 1979.


International Furnishings and Design Association, Artemide U.S.A. (board member, 1980—), Industrial Designers Society of America, American Institute of Graphic Arts, Ordine Degli Architetti (Milan, Italy), Decorators Club of New York.


American Institute of Architects Industrial Arts Medal, 1973; named honorary member, Women in Design, New York, 1981; Interiors magazine special award, 1982; Gold Medal, American Institute of Graphic Arts, 1983; Excellence Award, Industrial Designers Society of America, 1983, 1985; Citation of Distinguished Contributions, National Associated Schools of Art and Design, 1983; Edwin F. Guth Memorial Award of Distinction, Illuminating Engineering Society of North America, 1983; Award of Design Excellence, Presidential Design Awards, National Endowment for the Arts, 1984; named to Interior Design Hall of Fame, 1988; Collab Award for Excellence in Design, Philadelphia Museum of Art, 1988; Gold Medal for Design, National Arts Club, 1991; Fellowship of Excellence, Interior Product Designers, 1992; President Medal, 2002; lifetime achievement award, Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, 2003; Visionary Award, Museum of Art and Design, New York, NY, 2004; Architectural Award, American Academy of Arts and Letters, 2005; honorary doctorates from Parsons School of Design, Corcoran School of Art, and the Rochester Institute of Technology.


(With husband, Massimo Vignelli) Design—Vignelli, Rizzoli (New York, NY), 1981.

(With Massimo Vignelli) Design—Vignelli: Centre D'Art Santa Monica, Departament de Cultura Generalitat de Catalunya (Barcelona, Spain), 1991.

Also contributor to books, including Women Designers in the U.S.A., 1900-2000: Diversity and Difference, edited by Pat Kirkham, Yale University Press (New Haven, CT), 2000; Dal Merletto Alla Motocicletta: Artigianne/Artiste E Designer Nell'Italia del Novecento, Martin Soderlind, Silvana Editoriale (Milan, Italy), 2002; Jewelry and Design: Jewelry between Design and Ornament, edited by Silvana Annicchiarico, Alba Cappellieri, and Marco Romanellini, Edizione Della Triennale (Milan, Italy), 2004.


Born in 1934, in Udine, Italy, Lella Vignelli studied design and architecture at a number of renowned institutions, both in Italy and the United States, including the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, School of Architecture; the University of Venice, School of Architecture; and the Parsons School of Design. Vignelli married her partner, Massimo Vignelli, in 1957. Together they founded the Lella and Massimo Vignelli Office of Design and Architecture in Milan, and later Unimark International, Vignelli Associates, and Vignelli Design in New York. Vignelli is best known for her work with her husband, creating both graphic and corporate identity programs, innovative publication designs, architectural graphics, and for exhibitions that include interior, furniture, and consumer product designs, many of which were created specifically as part of an image or branding effort for a number of prominent American and European organizations and firms. Her exhibits include contributions to major museums around the world, including the Museum of Modern Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Cooper-Hewitt Museum, all in New York. In Design—Vignelli, which she produced with her husband, she collects images of some of the Vignelli team's best work through the years. The Vignellis have won numerous awards and accolades for their achievements, including a lifetime achievement award in 2003 from the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum.



Contemporary Designers, 3rd edition, St. James Press (Detroit, MI), 1997.


Architectural Record, July, 1980, "Casa Vignelli: A Showcase of Modern Design," p. 104; July, 1982, "The Walls," p. 120.

Design Week, April 20, 2006, "Profile: Massimo and Lella Vignelli," p. 13.

Hospitality Design, September 1, 2003, "Accolades: I.M. Pei and Vignelli Associates," p. 28.

House & Garden, March, 1981, "Women in Architecture: Breaking New Ground," p. 146.

Interior Design, December, 1988, "Hall of Fame '88," p. 133.

Library Journal, December 15, 1981, review of Design—Vignelli, p. 2385.

Metropolitan Home, May, 1985, "The Met Grill," p. 26.

Newsweek, April 19, 2004, "Design: Edge of Your Seat," p. 69.

New York Times, March 6, 1980, "The Vignelli Look in Furniture, Graphics and Interior Design," p. 10; June 26, 1980, "It's Linen, Linen over All," p. 1; April 7, 1988, "What's the Message? Good Design Starts at the Office Door," p. 1.

Restaurant and Hotel Design, September, 1987, "Design Programs That Do It All," p. 31.

Town & Country, September, 1988, "Arts in Residence," p. 233.

Vogue, November, 1984, "Lella Vignelli: A Taste for Perfection," p. 460.

Working Woman, May, 1980, "Success in the Bag," p. 14.


Image Publishing Web site, (February 6, 2008), review of Design—Vignelli.

Interior Design Web site, (February 6, 2008), career profile.

NY Mag Online, (October 21, 2007), Julie V. Lovine, "The Vignellis."

Vignelli Home Page, (February 6, 2008).