Design Friday, Lora Lamm.

Designer Lora Lamm, was born in Arosa, Switzerland in 1928. Educated in Zurich in the late 1940’s, her carer began when she was hired by the upscale Italian department store La Rinascente upon a recomendation from her class mate and fellow designer Max Huber.

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Often times Lamm has been overlooked in the vast history of mid-century European designers, but her contributions to the field can’t be denied. Lamm was a major contributor to the Milanese design style of Italy from the mid 1950s through the 1960s. This post-war period in Milan, distinguished by its intellectual and progressive attitudes, booming economy and companies open to new ways of communication, attracted many design greats from Switzerland, including; Xanti Schawinsky, Max Huber, Carlo Vivarelli, Walter Ballmer, Aldo Calabresi and Bruno Monguzzi.  All of which were  employed by the influential Studio Boggeri, founded in 1933 by Antonio Boggeri.

Many innovative companies such as Pirelli  and La Rinascente  followed in the footsteps of Olivetti by establishing internal advertising and communications departments which were open to creating relationships with a diverse group of designers. Additional companies including Roche, Glaxo and Dompé, Alfieri & Lacroix, Einaudi also hired emerging design talent for use in the development of their marketing and advertising promotions.

After studying at the Kunstgewerbeschule in Zurich, and working for various agencies,  Lamm moved to Milan to work for Studio Boggeri in 1953 with the goal of finding interesting graphic design work. She received small assignments such as designing wrapping paper and packaging for confectioner company, Motta.

In 1954, Max Huber gave Lamm the opportunity to work for the advertising and communications department at La Rinascente. Huber was an established designer at La Rinascente, having designed their logo and introducing a new, integrated visual appearance to the company through the use of coordinated uniforms and a “house” typeface – Futura bold. Lamm’s contribution to La Rinascente included catalogs, posters, advertisements, invitations, mailers, packaging and other publicity pieces.

In 1956, Lamm designed promotional materials for the important Il Giappone exhibit, promoting new products being sold at La Rinascente from Japan. Using the screens of the exhibit as the major component of the campaign’s printed matter, Lamm created a geometric design of traditional Japanese colors. The playful and experimental nature of her work would translate into other designs, particularly when she started using her own drawing and illustration in her work.

Her works, are well-balanced, colorful, noticeable at a glance and generate a sense of wonder and excitement for the viewer. Light and whimsical posters and ads were appealed to a female audience, a goal for the department store. Lamm also used photography or photograms, but always considered the technical printing restraints of the era. Her designs still endure, looking as fresh and modern today as they did in the 1950s and 1960s.

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