Danese, the Milanese manufacturer of this calendar, often collaborated with the Italian designer Enzo Mari. Together they created a range of products—from domestic tools to office supplies. Their products strove to underscore “the dimension of play as a cognitive tool.”[1] The Timor calendar reflects this philosophy as it requires the user to flip around the adjustable arm for the date, day of the week, and month. Telling time turns into a rhythmic movement. As the name suggests, the clock can be used year-after-year. Though Mari intended for this clock to never go out of style, its sculptural form shows the clean, sleek lines popular in Italian design of the 1960s pop period. The use of plastic by Enzo Mari, and many other leading Italian designers at the time, helped to earn the material a more sophisticated reputation. Though certain formal elements of the calendar’s design point to its place in design history, the fact that this calendar is still in production underscores its universality. The simple sans-serif font and elimination of ornamentation reinforces this Utopian ideal. Enzo Mari said, “I approached [everything I ever designed] with the deliberate intention of making them so that they would not age.”[2]

Mari also understood the capitalist system in which he worked, for calendars such as the Timor were commercial products meant to be sold in the mass market. He said in a 1997 interview, “the best-designed objects are done by socialist thinkers in a capitalist system.”[3] He intended to create products with dignity not only in terms of the production quality but also throughout the production process.

[1] http://www.danesemilano.com/company-profile/

[2] http://egodesign.ca/en/article.php?article_id=350&page=3.

[3] David Ryan, “Enzo Mari and the Process of Design,” Design Issues 13, no. 3 (Autumn 1997): 35.

The Timor Perpetual Calendar is included in the exhibition Bob Greenberg Selects, on view  in the Nancy and Edwin Marks Collection Gallery through September 9th, 2018.

Ben Green is a graduate student in the History of Design and Curatorial Studies program offered jointly by the Parsons School of Design and the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum. He is a Fellow in the museum’s Product Design and Decorative Arts Department.

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