Archizoom was an emblematic Florentine group within the radical Italian movement, at the heart of the avant-garde in terms of design and architecture. Their name paid tribute to the English group Archigram, and borrowed the fictional and popular world of the comic strip and Pop Art. In adopting an approach of critical realism, the group rejected the modernist doctrines of the 20th century and their definitive model of society. Preferring the real world in all its complexity and contradiction, Archizoom tended to encourage situations enabling the user to be a player in his environment. “Making architecture did not mean just making houses, or, in a more general way, constructing useful things; it was self-expression, communication, discussion and the free creation of your own cultural space, based on every individual’s right to create his own environment” (Andrea Branzi). In refusing consumerist values, group members opted for derision to speak out against the cultural crisis of Western societies and the generalized impoverishment of creation. (Letti di Sogno/Dream Beds, 1967). Between 1966 and 1973, for Poltronova, they produced modular furniture which conveyed liberating messages and laid claim to a new autonomy in the management of spaces (Superonda, (1966) and Safari (1967) sofas). Over and above these experiments in the field of design, Archizoom developed a line of research involving the city, the environment and mass culture, through their project No-Stop City, and thus posited the theoretical markers of a radical architectural research programme.
Founded in Florence in 1966 and dissolved in 1974, the Archizoom group was made up of Andrea Branzi (1938), Gilberto Corretti (1941), Paolo Deganello (1940), Massimo Morozzi (1941), and as from 1968, Dario and Lucia Bartolini (1943 and 1944). Archizoom produced many critical texts and took part in the Superarchitettura exhibitions (1966), the 14th and 15th Milan Triennale (1968 and 1973) and the exhibition Italy: The New Domestic Landscape, organized by Emilio Ambasz at the MoMA in New York (1972). In 1974 the members of Archizoom were among the founders of Global Tools, a counter-school of architecture and design which championed the free development of individual creativity. The group’s archives are today held in the Centro Studi e Archivio della Communicazione Università degli Studi di Parma, at the Centre Pompidou in Paris, and at the FRAC Centre in Orléans.