Tomás Maldonado

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Tomás Maldonado (1922, Buenos Aires) is a painter, industrial designer, teacher and design theoritician who has been highly influential on design thinking and practice since the 1960s.

He studied at the Academia Nacional de Bellas Artes in Buenos Aires. In 1942, together with Jorge Brito, Alfredo Hlito, and Claudio Girola, he signed the Manifiesto de cuatro jóvenes rejecting the selection carried out at the Salón Nacional. In 1945, he co-founded the Asociación Arte Concreto-Invención and co-wrote The Manifiesto Invencionista.

In 1948, he met Max Bill during his travel to Europe; later he invited him to teach design at the Ulm School of Design, where he taught between 1954 and 1967; in 1955-56 serving as Vice Dean, and from 1960 as Dean.

Maldonado is Professor of Environmental Design (Progettazione Ambientale) at Politecnico di Milano University.



  • Max Bill, Buenos Aires: Nueva Visión, 1955, 148 pp. (English),(French),(German),(Spanish)
  • Beiträge zur Terminologie der Semiotik, Ulm: Ebner, 1961. (German)
  • La speranza progettuale, Turin: Einaudi, 1970, 146 pp. (Italian)
    • Umwelt und Revolte : zur Dialektik des Entwerfens im Spätkapitalismus, trans. Gui Bonsiepe, Reinbek bei Hamburg: Rowohlt, 1972, 118 pp. (German)
    • Design, Nature, and Revolution: Toward a Critical Ecology, trans. Mario Domandi, New York: Harper & Row, 1972, xi+139 pp. (English) Commentary: Sadler (2013).
    • Ambiente humano e ideología. Notas para una ecología, trans. Hernán Mario Cuevas, Buenos Aires, 1972, 166 pp. (Spanish)
    • Environnement et idéologie. Vers une écologie critique, trans. Giovanni Joppolo, Paris: Union générale d'éditions, 1972, 192 pp. (French)
  • Avanguardia e razionalità: articoli, saggi, pamphlets 1946-1974, Torino: Einaudi, 1974, xvii+306 pp. (Italian)
    • Vanguardia y racionalidad: artículos, ensayos y otros escritos, 1946-1974, Barcelona: G. Gili, 1977, 271 pp. (Spanish)
  • Disegno industriale: un riesame, Milan: Feltrinelli, 1976, 93 pp. (Italian)
    • El diseño industrial reconsiderado, trans. Francesco Cantarelli, Barcelona, 1977; rev.ed., Barcelona, 1993. (Spanish)
  • editor, Tecnica e cultura: il dibattito tedesco fra Bismarck e Weimar, Milan: Feltrinelli, 1979, 309 pp. (Italian)
    • Técnica y cultura: el debate alemán entre Bismarck y Weimar, Buenos Aires: Infinito, 2002, 316 pp. (Spanish)
  • Il futuro della modernità, Milan: Feltrinelli, 1987, 230 pp. (Italian)
    • El Futuro de la modernidad, Barcelona: Júcar, 1990, 261 pp. (Spanish)
  • Cultura, democrazia, ambiente: saggi sul mutamento, Milan: Feltrinelli, 1990, 156 pp. (Italian)
    • Hacia una racionalidad ecologica, trans. Alexandra Lomonaco, Buenos Aires: Inginito, 1999, 92 pp. (Spanish)
  • Reale e virtuale, Milan: Feltrinelli, 1992, 118 pp. (Italian)
    • Lo real y lo virtual, trans. Alberto Luis Bixio, Barcelona: Gedisa, 1992, 261 pp. (Spanish)
    • Virkelig og virtuel: et essay, Oslo : Aschehoug, 1993, 111 pp. (Norwegian)
  • Tre lezioni americane / Three American lectures, trans. Kate Singleton and William S. Huff, Milan: Feltrinelli, 1992, 72 pp. Lectures in New York, Buffalo and Cincinnati in 1989. (Italian)/(English)
  • Che cos'è un intellettuale? Avventure e disavventure di un ruolo, Milan: Feltrinelli, 1995, 118 pp. (Italian)
    • Qué es un intelectual : aventuras y desventuras de un rol, Barcelona: Paidos, 1998, 130 pp. (Spanish)
  • Critica della ragione informatica, Milan: Feltrinelli, 1997, 219 pp. (Italian)
  • Escritos Preulmianos, eds. Carlos A. Méndez Mosquera and Nelly Perazzo, Buenos Aires: Infinito, 1997, 134 pp. Selection of 18 articles written before joining the HfG Ulm in 1954. (Spanish)
  • Memoria e conoscenza. Sulle sorti del sapere nella prospettiva digitale, Milan: Feltrinelli, 2005, 312 pp. (Italian)
    • Memoria y conocimiento. Sobre los destinos del saber en la perspectiva digital, 2007. (Spanish)
  • Digitale Welt und Gestaltung: ausgewählte Schriften, ed. & trans. Gui Bonsiepe, Basel: Birkhäuser, 2007, 421 pp. (German)


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