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Bruno Munari, toys, and experiments with materials

In the late 1940s, Pirelli asked the artist, graphic artist, and designer Bruno Munari to study new ways of using foam rubber. Perfected by Pirelli in the 1930s, this innovative material had mainly been used until then as padding for mattresses and armchairs. As Munari himself recalled, his study of the material and its characteristics – above all its softness – “which feels like the sensation you get when you hold a kitten or some little animal in your arms”, inspired him to design baby animals for children.

This led to his foam rubber toys with an adjustable reinforcement wire inside: these were Meo Romeo the cat, patented in 1950, and the little monkey Zizì, patented in 1953, which won the first edition of the Compasso d’Oro award the following year for its “essentiality of form” and the “ particular use of the material”. The material was foam rubber with an adjustable wire reinforcement, which gave children “the fun of creating countless poses”.

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In the late 1940s, Pirelli asked the artist, graphic artist, and designer Bruno Munari to study new ways of using foam rubber. Perfected by Pirelli in the 1930s, this innovative material had mainly been used until then as padding for mattresses and armchairs. As Munari himself recalled, his study of the material and its characteristics – above all its softness – “which feels like the sensation you get when you hold a kitten or some little animal in your arms”, inspired him to design baby animals for children.

This led to his foam rubber toys with an adjustable reinforcement wire inside: these were Meo Romeo the cat, patented in 1950, and the little monkey Zizì, patented in 1953, which won the first edition of the Compasso d’Oro award the following year for its “essentiality of form” and the “ particular use of the material”. The material was foam rubber with an adjustable wire reinforcement, which gave children “the fun of creating countless poses”.

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Multimedia

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