Enrico Astori, founder of Driade: Made in Italy loses another giant

On May 17th, Enrico Astori died. In 1968, he founded Driade with Adelaide Acerbi and Antonia Astori

We will remember spring 2020, and not only for Covid-19. Among the news of this month of May, immediately after the grief for Nanda Vigo’s demise, we received announcement of the death of Enrico Astori, a great figure in Italian design and the founder of Driade along with Adelaide Acerbi and Antonia Astori.

Enrico Astori and Adelaide Acerbi, picture from the film “L’Adelaide”, by Emilio Tremolada

Enrico Astori and Driade: a Made in Italy story

The story of Enrico Astori and Italian design is the story of Driade, a company that has given a great contribution to Made in Italy design, different designers, of different nationalities, and that has been a star of the Milan Design Week for several years. When I interviewed Antonia Astori and Francesca De Ponti for the book on the history of the Fuorisalone (whose publication has been postponed due to the health emergency), we talked at length about Enrico Astori and Adelaide Acerbi, and the adventure of Driade, a story with Milanese roots and international fruits.

Pantos system, by Antonia Astori for Driade

From the first event, at the old Centrale del Latte, in 1980, to the presentations in the showroom on Via Manzoni with the parties in the courtyard of Palazzo Gallarati Scotti, Driade has always made communication an integral part of its project.

Installation by Paola Navone, East Meets West, in the courtyard of the Driade showroom, 1997. Ph: Emilio Tremolada

A project resulting from a love of beauty and contemporary patronage, which made Driade a design center rather than a commercial company. A crossroads of exchanges between designers of any nationality who at Driade found a space to express their personality.

Driade showroom, Milan (ph: Emilio Tremolada, courtesy Driade)

A modern patronage

Enrico Astori loved surrounding himself with beauty, as shown by the settings of the parties organized in the courtyard of the Driade showroom on Via Manzoni. This beauty combined with playfulness gave life to projects that went down in history. Among them we can mention the Costes chair, which perfectly represents the Eighties. A café that has made the history of public places, Café Costes in Paris, a designer whose name is a guarantee, Philippe Starck, and a chair that is an authentic icon.

Costes chairs at Cafè Costes, designed in Paris by Philippe Starck, 1984 (Costes chairs still produced by Driade)

From the Costes chair to Borek Sipek’s glass objects, up to Antonia Astori’s systems: these are the countless faces of a company that has been telling the history and evolution of made in Italy design.

Marina glasses, by Borek Sipek for Driade

From its establishment, thanks to the farsightedness of Enrico and Antonia Astori and Adelaide Acerbi, to its acquisition by Italian Creation Group in 2014, the journey of the company continues, albeit on a different track.

Following David Chipperfield, Driade’s art director has been Fabio Novembre since 2019, after. Enrico Astori remains for us a symbol of a certain way of doing business and culture. [Roberta Mutti]

Nemo armchair, designed by Fabio Novembre for Driade


Related Articles


Agape: 50 years of excellence

“In realtà, volevamo fare dell’altro” (“Actually, we wanted to do something else”) is the title of the exhibition celebrating the 50th anniversary of Agape, a company founded on the banks of the Mincio River in 1973.

Read more »