Pelikan And Luigi Colani: A Collaboration

Pelikan No 1 ballpointsLuigi Colani (1928-2019) was a German born industrial designer and, while he may not be a household name, he is responsible for a multitude of consumer products and served as an influence for generations of architects and designers.  On September 16, 2019, he passed away at the age of 91 after succumbing to an unspecified severe illness in the town of Karlsruhe, on the Rhine river west of Stuttgart.  He is survived by his partner Yazhen Zha and son Solon Luigi Colani.  A shameless self-promoter and an eternal provocateur, I thought that it would be a fitting tribute to explore this most fascinating man and one of his many corporate collaborations.  You may or may not be aware but Luigi Colani worked with Pelikan in the 1980s on the design of several pens. While vehicle design seemed to be his métier, Colani was a prolific designer who had his hand in a bit of everything.  His designs can be seen in furniture, cameras, cars, musical instruments, shoes, pens, and so much more.  Mr. Colani once estimated that he had committed more than 4000 designs to paper over his long career, most of them relegated to desk drawers, with only a small percentage actually being brought to life.  His vision for the Cannon T90 film camera was perhaps one of his largest commercial successes and would go on to influence Japanese camera design to this day.  Admittedly, his contribution to the world of writing instruments may have been less lasting than some of his other endeavors but it is no less interesting.  Read on to learn how Colani’s distrust of angularity informed the creation of the Pelikan № 1, № 2, and P80 pens.

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