The first Tecno catalogue in 1953 was a strategic collection, conceived by Borsani, of all those items he had designed in the years immediately after the war, which he felt were most representative of the industrial journey he wanted to take. The collection was displayed in the catalogue through a series of eye-catching graphics accompanied by text which provided an honest representation of the intentions of the developing Tecno. The items presented included the L60 bookcase, supported by vertical wall guides, the forerunner of the E22 system, the P30 armchair, the T45 desk, the P35 armchair and the L50 corner bed.
The Graphis office system was introduced in 1968. The design seemed to have come straight out of a book on computer art: two sheet metal corner pieces supported the work tops, and the choice of colour - white - was unheard of in the world of office furniture. The Graphis system was presented at the 15th Milan Triennial Exhibition in 1968, entitled â€œThe big hitâ€ù. The new system's absolute, elementary form provided a courageous, radical interpretation of the spirit of the times. With the introduction of this â€œmatureâ€ù series-made system, Tecno confirmed its switch to industrial production.
The Graphis system was made up of just three basic elements: a white painted â€œLâ€ù shaped sheet metal frame, a drawer unit and a laminate worktop. Over the years, the Graphis system has been expanded by the addition of other elements including containers, corners, meeting tables, screens and audio-video tables. To respond to the cabling needs of increasingly complex office automation, Valeria Borsani and the Tecno Design Centre developed Graphis 5 in 1993. The system, which has remained one of Tecno's best sellers over the years, was again updated in 2005. Various details were redesigned and a wide range of new colours and materials introduced.
In the 1980s, Tecno decided to renew certain strategic relationships of collaboration with external designers. In particular, this period saw the beginning of an important partnership with Norman Foster, leading to the design of Nomos, an office system that would go on to become a design icon, boosting Tecno's worldwide image and symbolising international high-tech style for over a decade.
The story goes that Nomos was conceived in 1983 during a visit by Tecno to Foster's studio. There, the Tecno team came across a table with a tubular structure as never seen before. Marco Fantoni immediately asked Foster to produce an industrial design for a similar system of elements on behalf of Tecno. The project continued for some two years, but eventually Foster's schematic drawings of the tables were transformed into an extensive and versatile system of industrially made office furniture.
The design philosophy underlying the system was based on three principles: firstly, in terms of product type, recognition of the fact that changing the spatial relationship between a work surface and the floor beneath it could adapt that surface to a wide range of uses; secondly, from a morphological point of view, the fact that a structure could be seen as a skeleton supporting an organism of mobile, modular elements; thirdly, from a technical standpoint, the fact that a whole system of elements was needed to build a wide range of changeable and re-configurable layouts from scratch.
Luca Scacchettiâ€™s latest contribution to Tecno comes in the form of the Vara collection of desks, meeting tables and cabinets. The name is inspired by the ancient world and use of the carpenterâ€™s trestle as an archetypal, aesthetically essential yet functional support. In this play on balance and volume, the tops seem to be suspended in the air. This rigorously light design creates a suggestive synthesis between form and function.