Ornella Noorda graduated in Sculpture from the Brera Academy of Fine Arts with artist and sculptor Marino Marini and Alik Cavaliere. Her works include the sculptures created for the exhibition held at Villa Olmo in Como, and for the “Il Milione” gallery in Milan: it was thanks to these pieces that she was honoured with an award at Quirinale Palace by the President of the Italian Republic Antonio Segni.
In 1959, she began to collaborate with la Rinascente as external consultant of the design office, working closely with Augusto Morello and Amneris Latis. She designed exclusive items for a number of events including ‘Natale Idea’, ‘Casa Idea’, ‘l’Ufficio’ and ‘La Caccia’.
With her expertise in textiles, she created table sets, such as tablecloths, as well as bedroom sets: cushions, bed sheets, covers, quilts, rugs and upholstery fabrics.
«In 1960, I was pregnant with my first child, and so I drew a lot of inspiration from the motif of children. I particularly remember a window display, the first one on the left, under the portico of the Rinascente store in Piazza Duomo: bed sheets, tablecloths and bibs were displayed, hanging from taut threads almost as if in reference to washing lines, that I had exclusively made for Rinascente. Their common theme was cut and whole apples, a peculiar motif that I had used a lot».
The creations that are most remembered by Ornella Noorda are: Autunno Le Mele (a series of bed sheets for children, tablecloths and placemat sets sold in gift packaging), Numeri (a collection of cushions, decorative fabric panels and tapestries, as well as foulards and tablecloths in a variety of colours) and Amori (gift ideas, merchandising items, foulards and textile items, all linked to one of Noorda’s key graphic designs, based on the theme of love and related to a specific object: a heart).
In 1966, the first edition of the book Amori was published, a collection of graphic works revolving around the theme of the heart, with captions in three languages. The original designs were on display at the MoMA in New York.
Still in the field of textiles, Noorda designed a collection of square rugs (2x2m in size) with geometric patterns exclusively for la Rinascente, drawing inspiration from tile mosaics. The rugs, which were produced by a Viennese company, could be used alone or combined with others to create remarkable designs. “Vogue” dedicated a reportage to this project, which was carried out in the Unimark studio, with shots taken by photographer Ugo Mulas.
Noorda not only created design objects and textile items, but also furniture, such as a Plexiglas table designed for ‘Natale Idea’ event that was remarkably successful thanks to its modern, clean-cut lines.
“I had designed a coordinated collection for ‘Natale Idea’ that comprised a large table, formed of a series of closely positioned individual tables, laid with a transparent set of placemats, dinner and soup plates, a series of plexiglass glasses and a centre piece candle holder. A few days before Christmas, I headed to the floor where the installation had been created, but the space was empty because everything had been taken away to decorate the Christmas evenings at Casa Borletti”
Ornella Noorda studied various types of materials, specialising in the by-products of plastic materials that were introduced in the 1960s. She created simple, charming , fun items for everyday use with a strong design, experimenting and creating coloured plastic materials. For ‘l’Ufficio’ event, she designed a line of coordinated items: pen holders, rulers, document holders, paperweights and a special notepad formed of a base and a support made of Plexiglas where a paper roll for issuing receipts is attached.
She continued her close collaboration with Guzzini, leader in the manufacturing of plastic materials, creating design items for the home, table and kitchen. Notably, she designed a collection of trays and stacking containers, and in 1968 she won first prize in Macef.
Fancy, imagination and technique are the defining traits of the character, passion and love that Ornella Noorda feels for her work.
Her collaboration with la Rinascente ended in 1970.
The selection presented here includes slides of a variety of products designed exclusively for la Rinascente, a series of compositions of objects chosen by Ornella Noorda, which are symbolic of her prestigious and noteworthy collaboration with la Rinascente.
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