Lella Vignelli by: Razan Alissa

Lella Vignelli

To be a good designer is one thing, but to be a successful one is something else. Lella Vignelli, the Yin to husband, and work partner Massimo’s yang. Sharp, critical, creative and driven. Venturing into various fields of design like graphic, product, and furniture design, with her critical eye, and “if you can’t find it, design it” motto, Lella along side husband Massimo created numerous fresh, and innovative designs, where her design methods, philosophy and goals blossomed, regardless of how different they may be. Creating designs that acted as solutions, and paved the way to many designs we know today.

Lella Vignelli
Lella Vignelli

Elaboration of the great designs of Lella starts with an interior design of a sofa for Poltronova in 1964. Poltronova wanted a new sofa design, yet they didn’t know what kind of sofa they needed. With the strong believe that design should be integrated into the production process, and not merely as a factor of visual decoration, Lella created the Poltronova sofa, that not so long after turned into the Poltronova Saratoga Furniture set. With a thick hard-edged lacquered structure, and soft pillows. The Poltronova Saratoga line was modular, by allowing different kinds of arrangements to form with its coffee support table, drawers and a backlit top, that was boxy enough to support itself without the need of a wall. With its functionality, and sleek simple design, the Poltronova was the first of its kind in the market, creating a trend for many years to come.

Poltronova Saratoga Furniture (1964)

Lella’s talent spreads in various design fields leading to the design of Heller glass bakeware of 1980. Here, Lella brings her love, and knowledge of cooking, which played a major role in what kind of cooking products to design. That, alongside her functional way of thinking, and design eye, Lella discovers that food is beautiful with a top view rather than in the sections, and therefore decides to come up with casseroles and pans incised with a groove section hiding the food, and enhancing the container. Instead of handles, she designs flat rings that went all around the container for easy removal from the oven. Consequently, creating a functional product, with timeless beauty.

Heller Glass Bakeware (1970)

Another one of Lella’s creations can be seen swinging from the hands of people around the streets of New York. Canvas or paper, small, medium, or big, it’s Bloomingdales brown bag. It was in 1972 when Bloomingdales approached Lella and her husband, making them one of their first graphic design projects after moving to New York. Little did they know that the brand identity they were about to design would transcend, and become part of a New Yorkers culture. Communication through simplicity was key in the success of this project, allowing the essence and image of the brand to come through. With its rounded type logotype, and witty branded bags, the warmth playfulness, and intelligence of the Bloomingdale brand came across clearly. By adding the size to each of the bags, they have not only added humor but also created a smart system, where salesclerks were able to classify and smartly pack consumer purchases. The Big Brown Bag would fit a pillow or two perfectly, and The Small Brown Bag would be the practical size to carry around a cosmetic purchase.

Bloomingdales Corporate Identity & Branding (1972)
Bloomingdales Corporate Identity & Branding (1972)

With a widespread remarkable portfolio of talent, creativity, and timeless creations, built on a keen design philosophy. Dedicating her career and strictly affirming the importance of design as not only being a beautifying tool, but also an important tool to building better tomorrows, that are functional, beautiful, and complete in every way. Lella Vignelli is not only a mere embodiment of a creative designer, but a successful designer as well.


  1. Bouabana, S., & Sperandio, A. (n.d.). Hall of femmes: Lella Vignelli.
  2. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.vignelli.com/Designed_by_Lella.pdf
  3. Bonanos, C. (2014, May 28). Design . Retrieved April 30, 2015, from The Cut: http://nymag.com/thecut/2014/05/massimo-vignelli-5-appreciations.html
  4. GREENBAUM, H. (2011, 6 21). Who Made The Big Brown Bag? . Retrieved 4 30, 2015, from The New York Times: http://6thfloor.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/06/21/who-made-that-big-brown-bag/

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