Atelier Zanolli

Fabrics, Fashion, Craft 1905–1939

The cheerful style of Atelier Zanolli


Title Information

Edited by Museum für Gestaltung Zürich and Sabine Flaschberger

1st edition

, 2022

Flexible Hardback

328 pages, 437 color illustrations, 96 b/w illustrations

20 x 27 cm

ISBN 978-3-03942-082-7


Under the label Atelier Zanolli, a fantastic world of silk fabrics that were painted and imprinted with patterns, opulently embroidered cushions, colorful pearl creations, as well as finely crafted leather and wood articles, was created between 1905 and 1939 in Zurich. The Zanollis had immigrated from Italy in 1905. Their family business was entirely women-run by mother Antonietta and her daughters Pia, Lea, and Zoe Zanolli. The cultural and stylistic influences manifested in the Zanollis’ visually appealing product world range from the avant-garde to a typically Swiss aesthetic forged by a national spirit of defense against the increasingly felt threat that Nazi Germany posed to the country in the 1930s. Driven by a striving for artistic self-realization, the atelier defied the many economic challenges of the period and carried out many commissions for Zurich’s leading textile businesses and department stores.

This book traces the history of Atelier Zanolli, places its work in the context of the development of Zurich and the Swiss textile industry in the first half of the 20th century, and for the first time also positions the “Zanolli style” internationally. More than 600 images show the wealth of colors and shapes of the cosmos of textiles and crafted objects, as well as templates, sketches, private photographs, business cards, and letters. The essays illuminate the techniques and work processes used, discuss entire motif families and unique designs, and grant a rare comprehensive insight into the tastes of the time.


Contributions by Nadja Aebi, Franziska Born, Sabine Flaschberger, Barbara Junod, Julia Klinner, Tina Moor, Denise Ruisinger, Lela Scherrer, Katharina Tietze, and Virginia Gardner Troy


Sabine Flaschberger is curator of Museum für Gestaltung Zürich’s decorative arts collection.


Museum für Gestaltung Zürich is Switzerland’s leading museum of design and visual communication. Its widely renowned collection comprises more than 500,000 objects representing Swiss and international design history.


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