Having enjoyed the two Mari, let's further explore Italian Modernism with Munari.
Bruno Munari, born in Milan in 1907, started his creative experiments as a young member of the Futurist movement,
and kept that playful, irreverent avant-garde spirit alive throughout his long artistic career. This eclectic and
inventive genius was one of the key Italian figures of the last century in the fields of art, visual communication,
industrial design, graphic design, didactic, design theory, children’s books and more.
In 1940 the birth of his son Alberto inspired Munari, who at the time was working as art director for a magazine,
to create a series of innovative, open-ended children’s books and toys designed to develop creativity
and imagination through play while tickling the funny bone. The following books are some of his early creations,
Munari loved working with new ideas, materials and technologies, and the unconventional layouts
of these experimental books include different sizes of paper, holes and other devices.
Toc Toc : Who is it? Open the Door
In Toc Toc, pages open like doors and containers to reveal their surprising animal contents,
while becoming smaller and smaller like paper matrioshkas.
A Tale of Three Little Birds
The birds Ciò, Cià and Cì tell the stories of how they ended up in a cage in three small separate booklets
inserted within the large album. Complete with holes to add extra interest.
Animals for sale
The animal salesman offers the child his exotic beasts, represented on pages that become progressively shorter,
but the child refuses because of their strange habits, and would much rather have roast turkey with a side of potatoes.
These animals, like most of us humans, are unsatisfied with their lives and dream of being somebody else.
This ironic circular story uses the device of small camouflaged inserts that open to reveal the animal’s fantasies.
Munari published over 40 books, many of which were addressed to young children. Check out Munari’s Zoo
and Bruno Munari’s ABC, originally published in the sixties and reprinted in the US by Chronicle.