Italian industrial designer Joe Colombo pursued a career in painting and sculpture before he transitioned to design in the 1950s. In even the most functional homeware pieces, Colombo’s artistic background shines through in the sculptural silhouettes he creates.
Such is the case with 5-in-1, a set of mouth-blown glasses that neatly intertwine. Featuring five pieces – originally intended as a cognac class, a white wine glass, a red wine glass, a grappa glass, and a water glass – each has a markedly different shape and purpose. Using that diversity to his advantage, Colombo’s ingenious design ensures that the glasses can be inserted into each other in order to form one transparent sculpture.
As well as its aesthetic appeal, the 5-in-1 is a highly practical design. Once stacked, the glasses reduce storage space, making it an ideal piece for smaller kitchens.
Joe Colombo studied at the Polytechnic of Milan and the Brera Art Academy. After an important, albeit brief, escapade with informal painting, he decided to devote himself entirely to design and architecture. In 1954, he participated in an exhibition at the 10th Triennale, and in 1956 his first architectural project was completed in Milan, in via Rosolino Pilo.
A precursor of the study of ergonomic design, he developed unique products with a dynamic sculptural appearance.
Many of his objects are considered milestones of design and are part of the collections of the world’s most important museums, such as the MoMa and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.