Friday, February 6, 2009

Bilumen Portariviste | Rodolfo Bonetto | Bilumen, Italy | 1969

Rodolfo Bonetto PortarivisteRodolfo Bonetto
Bilumen, Italy, 1969

Orange Portariviste The Portariviste by Rodolfo Bonetto for Bilumen.

Rodolfo Bonetto was born in Milan in 1929. He abandoned a successful career as a jazz drummer to devote himself to the profession of designer. He founded his own firm in 1958 and collaborated with such firms as Brionvega, Bilumen, Siemens, Autovox, Valextra, Driade, and Olivetti. He worked in a large number of industrial fields ranging from the designing of tooling machines to clocks, lamps, ski boots, surgical lasers and automobiles. He was president of the Associazione per il Disegno Industriale (ADI) from 1971 to 1973 and ICSID from 1979 to 1981. Bonetto lived until 1991.

He has eight times been awarded the Compasso d’Oro:

  • In 1964 for the Sfericlock alarm clock (Veglia Borletti)
  • In 1967 for the the numerical control machine tool, “Auctor MUT/40A” (Olivetti)
  • In 1970 for the the B.C.M. automatic microfilm apparatus (B.C.M.)
  • In 1979 with N. Matsunaga for the Inspector Midi 130W measurement center (Olivetti)
  • In 1979 with G. Iliprandi for the interior of the Fiat 131 Supermirafiori (Fiat)
  • In 1981 with N. Matsunaga for the “Polyfunctional center for production of mechanical and electrical energy” “Wiz” (Wizco)
  • In 1984 for the Work center and vertical axis, “Auctor 400” (Olivetti)

After his death, he was dedicated the Compasso d’Oro 1991 as a tribute to his overall activity, which now continues with the Bonetto Design Studio.

For the original Bilumen edition of the Portariviste, I have seen white, orange, red, brown (“chocolate”), and black colors. I’ll update with pics as I find more. The object is 20.4 cm wide by 37 cm long by 26 cm tall with plastic thickness of 4 to 5.5 mm. The holder is able to be nested one inside the other, which doubles storage capacity while increasing floor footprint by considerably less. Did I mention it looks great? Based on the lines and stubs, it is made from injection molded ABS. Examples of this object are rare and usually fetch between $100 and $200 on eBay but interest is often spotty.

2 Orange Portariviste2 orange Bilumen Portariviste, nested.

Where they usually are: Left, the bedroom. Right, the bathroom.Orange Portariviste Orange Portariviste

Orange Portariviste labelThe imprint, in orange.

White Portariviste label

White PortarivisteImage source (Factory 20), White Portariviste, For Sale $165. Additionally noted: nice accessorizing.

White Portariviste label White and black Portariviste A different imprint, on a white Portariviste. Image source, eBay. Sale price, €49 = $63.

Brown Portariviste

Brown Portariviste Image source eBay. Brown Portariviste. For sale $138 ea.

Black Portariviste Image source. Black Portariviste. Item sold.

In 2005, the Bilumen Portariviste was re-issued by Italy's B-Line as “Buk.” Buk is made from roto-molded polyethylene in colors including ice, orange, red, yellow, blue, basalt gray, purple, and water green. It is still available and retails for $199 but can be had for $150. Since I don’t have one, I can’t show you the stamp but if I get the chance, I’ll share.

Buk reissue promotion         Buk reissue promotion

Buk reissue promotion

Buk reissue promotion

Promotional photos for B-Line’s Buk re-issue of Bonetto’s design.

I am very interested in any information that can be contributed to this entry to further my knowledge of this piece. I would especially appreciate a photograph of the original box (Bilumen and B-Line) and information about original cost.

Selected Bibliography

Philippe Decelle, Diane Hennebert, Pierre Loze, L'Utopie Du Tout Plastique 1960 - 1973, 1994, p.62.


Guzzini, (2009). iGuzzini - Rodolfo Bonetto. Retrieved January 24, 2009, from Guzzini Web site: http://www.iguzzini.com/html/en/307.html

Wulfing, K.W. (2003). Compasso d’Oro and changes in the Italian domestic landscape. Blacksburg, VA: http://scholar.lib.vt.edu/theses/available/etd-07302003-121520/unrestricted/KWWThesis.pdf.

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