In Memoriam: Rodolfo Dordoni (1954 - 2023)

We remember Italian designer and architect Rodolfo Dordoni, who died on 1 August 2023

Architect and designer Rodolfo Dordoni
Rodolfo Dordoni at a Wallpaper* Design Awards party in Milan in 2015, when he won Best Executive Office
(Image credit: press)

Italian designer Rodolfo Dordoni died on 1 August 2023. A Milan Politecnico alumnus, Dordoni left his mark on Italian design through his work as artistic director of Minotti and Roda, and through collaborations with the likes of Molteni&C, Cassina, Foscarini, Effe, Kettal and more. 

Based in Milan, he led his eponymous design studio as well as an architecture practice, Dordoni Architetti, working on architectural planning, interior design in collaboration with Luca Zaniboni and Alessandro Acerbi. 

Upon graduating in 1979, he soon joined Giulio Cappellini at his eponymous brand, where he helped him establish the company's language and direction. Over the years, he branched out to collaborate with some of Italy's leading brands, developing a style of design that was discreet, timeless and always elegant.

'Rodolfo was like a brother to me,' said Giulio Cappellini. 'We studied together, and after university he stayed in the company with me. When I heard the news I saw 40 years of my life go by.' 


Two brown suitcase design armchairs, grey floor, grey top coffee tables, dark wood wall divide, mirror book case, glass vases, white wall

Suitcase by Rodolfo Dordoni for Minotti

(Image credit: Minotti)

His rationalist approach to design led him to working with Minotti, which started in 1997 with a chair, Suitcase, whose cubic shape was inspired by fashion and leather goods. In 1998, he became artistic director, a position he held until now, working in continuous creative exchange with Renato and Roberto Minotti. 

'For more than 25 years alongside the Minotti family, in its important design pathway, with his remarkable vision, passion and dedication, Rodolfo Dordoni contributed to the creation of a precise stylistic language which made Minotti renowned on an international level, thus strengthening the brand’s identity and the stylistic continuity that has become its hallmark feature,' read a note from Minotti. 

Remembering Rodolfo Dordoni

Carlo Molteni: MD of the gamechanging Italian furnishing brand. Pictured with Rodolfo Dordoni, W*134

Rodolfo Dordoni and Carlo Molteni photographed by Pierpaolo Ferrari for Wallpaper*, May 2010

(Image credit: press)

'The news of Rodolfo's passing has shocked and saddened all of us greatly,' added Co-CEO Renato Minotti. 'Our strong, intense relationship, based on mutual esteem, over time turned into an authentic friendship, allowing us to develop our work together to its fullest potential, becoming the Minotti style. A true lover of art and beauty, Rodolfo found the right balance between creative passion and rigour to create with us a winning combination that has made our products timeless classics.'

Rodolfo Dordoni

From top, Camden’ chaise longue, designed for Molteni & C. ‘Lawson’ sofa, for Minotti

(Image credit: Wallpaper*)

Adds Co-CEO Roberto Minotti: 'We had the chance to work alongside a visionary, passionate, inspired man, who has been protagonist of one of the most brilliant eras in the history of our brand. Today Minotti has lost one of its dearest friends, a precious collaborator, a true professional and member of our family. We acknowledge with sadness the news of his passing and we want to express our gratitude for his life, his work and for all that he passed on to us.'

Rodolfo Dordoni

Dordoni's studio in Milan, photographed by Leonardo Scotti as part of the Wallpaper* Subscriber Since initiative, showing his collection of Wallpaper* magazines alongside the ‘Van Dyck’ table he designed for Minotti

(Image credit: Wallpaper*)

'I have known Rodolfo Dordoni for more than 25 years, when we began our collaboration,' said Carlo Molteni, President and CEO of the Molteni Group. 'I learned to appreciate his kindness, seriousness and desire to dialogue and confront everyone. His projects, always of great size, elegance and precision, have left their mark.'

Roda's Davide Pompa said: 'he was an immense professional, a strict teacher, but above all a sincere friend and travel companion of the last 20 years. I consider myself very lucky to have been able to work in such close contact with a giant of the world that we call design and that he really helped to define.'

Triennale Design Museum Director, Marco Sammicheli, wrote in a note remembering the designer: 'dear Rodolfo, your genius, your discretion, your grace will be greatly missed. I won't forget our conversations, your advice, [and] finally that business card, as the unforgettable art director of Cappellini, which featured the silhouette of the chest of drawers by Shiro Kuramata - not a whim, but a declaration of elegance.'

Rodolfo Dordoni Twiggy for Minotti

Twiggy for Minotti

(Image credit: Courtesy Minotti)

Cabanon Sauna by Rodolfo Dordoni for Effe

The Cabanon home sauna for Effe, named Best Hot Spot at the Wallpaper* Design Awards 2023

(Image credit: Courtesy Effe)

Collage of marble dining table by Rodolfo Dordoni for Minotti with black top featuring white veins

Dordoni's sculptural ‘Marvin’ dining table for Minotti

(Image credit: Studio Likeness)

Rosa Bertoli was born in Udine, Italy, and now lives in London. Since 2014, she has been the Design Editor of Wallpaper*, where she oversees design content for the print and online editions, as well as special editorial projects. Through her role at Wallpaper*, she has written extensively about all areas of design. Rosa has been speaker and moderator for various design talks and conferences including London Craft Week, Maison & Objet, The Italian Cultural Institute (London), Clippings, Zaha Hadid Design, Kartell and Frieze Art Fair. Rosa has been on judging panels for the Chart Architecture Award, the Dutch Design Awards and the DesignGuild Marks. She has written for numerous English and Italian language publications, and worked as a content and communication consultant for fashion and design brands.