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Rosa Bertoli

In memoriam: celebrating the lives and work of those we lost in 2023

In memoriam in white type on black background.

As we begin to look back on 2023, we pause to remember some of the most inspirational creatives we have sadly lost during the year and, through the tributes below, to celebrate their work and enduring influence.

In memoriam

Balkrishna V Doshi, architect (1927 – 2023)

(Image credit: Gauri Gill)

A glance at the dates and it's clear that Balkrishna V Doshi and modern Indian architecture grew side by side. A student at the JJ School of Art in Mumbai when India celebrated its independence in 1947, the architect's career runs alongside the creation of some of the country's most iconic contemporary architecture. From his involvement in the Chandigarh project and India's famous Le Corbusier and Louis Kahn heritage, through to its finest architecture education institution – he designed and founded the School of Architecture and Planning in Ahmedabad in 1962 – Dr Balkrishna Vithaldas Doshi has been an omnipresent figure for a remarkable period of India's built environment. 


Paco Rabanne, fashion designer (1934 – 2023)

(Image credit: Photography by Luis Davilla/Cover/Getty Images)

Spanish designer Paco Rabanne – whose visionary designs under his eponymous label came to define 1960s ‘Space Age’ fashion – died aged 88 in Portsall, France, his passing announced by Puig, the group that controls the label’s fashion and fragrance lines. ‘Paco Rabanne made transgression magnetic,’ said José Manuel Albesa, president of Puig’s fashion and beauty division. ‘Who else could induce fashionable Parisian women to clamour for dresses made of plastic and metal? Who but Paco Rabanne could imagine a fragrance called Calandre – the word means “automobile grill”, you know – and turn it into an icon of modern femininity?’ 


Phyllida Barlow, sculptor (1944 – 2023)

(Image credit: © Phyllida Barlow Courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth Photo: Cat Garcia)

Phyllida Barlow, one of the most extraordinary forces in British sculpture and arts education, died aged 78. During her 60-year career, Barlow reshaped British sculpture as it was known. Monumental yet anti-monumental, her ability to draw directly from her surroundings and transform humble into entirely new environments was unparalleled. 


Rafael Viñoly, architect (1944 – 2023)

(Image credit: Film by Jason Schmidt)

Rafael Viñoly, who died in New York aged 78, left behind a rich legacy of projects that dot the planet. In his long career, the celebrated architect and mastermind of landmark schemes, such as New York's 432 Park Avenue, one of the world's most distinguished, elegant supertalls, worked tirelessly in his home country of Uruguay, his adopted home in the USA, and beyond. His portfolio consists of a slew of high-profile designs that made his namesake studio one of the most instantly recognisable in the field. 


Italo Lupi, architect and graphic designer (1934 – 2023)

(Image credit: Courtesy ADI)

Italian designer Italo Lupi died in Milan on 28 June 2023; the news was shared by his son, writer and editor Michele Lupi. ‘Architect, art director and right man, he has worked all his life away from the clamour, fighting against the desire to shock at all costs,’ wrote Michele. His work was influenced by history and architecture, and among his inspirations he cited Massimo Vignelli, Achille Castiglioni and Saul Bass. Throughout his work, Lupi was able to distil these inspirations (purity, humour, cinematic drama) to create the distinctive style that made him unique.


Michael Hopkins, architect (1935 – 2023)

(Image credit: Tom Miller & National Portrait Gallery)

Architect Sir Michael Hopkins died 'peacefully on 17 June 2023 at the age of 88, surrounded by his family', it was announced. The pioneering figure of 20th-century architecture worked in the UK and abroad on era-defining projects that won him many accolades, including the prestigious RIBA Royal Gold Medal in 1994 (the same honour was this year awarded to Yasmeen Lari); a CBE in 1989, followed by a knighthood in1995 for services to architecture; and he was elected a Royal Academician in 1992.


Paolo Portoghesi, architect (1931 - 2023)

(Image credit: Leonardo Magrelli)

To mark the passing of the postmodernist Italian architect Paolo Portoghesi, writer David Plaisant celebrates his life and legacy, recalling his visit to Calcata for a feature in the Wallpaper* April 2021 issue. 


Thomas Eyck, design entrepreneur (1964 – 2023)

(Image credit: Courtesy Thomas Eyck)

Dutch design entrepreneur Thomas Eyck died on 4 July 2023; the news was shared by his brand's managing partner, Wendy Gooren. ‘Surrounded by loved ones and leaving us with beautiful memories, an end has come to Thomas’ life. We will miss him so much,’ read Gooren’s message. Eyck started his eponymous label in 2007 with a collection by Studio Job, and instantly became a Wallpaper* favourite. Through his well-considered design editions, he helped boost the careers of some of the Netherlands’ design stars, from Aldo Bakker to Irma Boom, Stefan Scholten and Carole Baijings – the brand currently boasts over 200 pieces by 20 designers, and his team will carry on his legacy under Gooren’s direction. 


Rodolfo Dordoni, architect and designer (1954 - 2023)

(Image credit: press)

Italian designer Rodolfo Dordoni died on 1 August 2023. A Milan Politecnico alumnus, Dordoni left his mark on Italian design through his work as artistic director of Minotti and Roda, and through collaborations with the likes of Molteni&C, Cassina, Foscarini, Effe, Kettal and more. Based in Milan, he led his eponymous design studio as well as an architecture practice, Dordoni Architetti, working on architectural planning, interior design in collaboration with Luca Zaniboni and Alessandro Acerbi. 


Jamie Reid, artist and graphic designer (1947 – 2023)

(Image credit: © 2023 Jamie Reid Courtesy John Marchant Gallery, UK)

Jamie Reid, British artist and graphic designer, has died aged 76. Reid’s subversive body of work most famously included album artwork for the Sex Pistols, with his distinctive, bold aesthetic and playful defacing of Cecil Beaton’s portrait of Queen Elizabeth II shaping a generation of punk.


Andrea Branzi, designer (1938 – 2023)

(Image credit: Courtesy Triennale)

Italian designer Andrea Branzi died on 9 October 2023. Born in Florence in 1938, Branzi was among the founders of legendary design studio Archizoom Associati alongside Gilberto Corretti, Paolo Deganello and Massimo Morozzi. He also co-founded Domus Academy, and was a professor and chairman of the Politecnico di Milano’s School of Interior Design.


Ida Applebroog, artist (1929 – 2023)

(Image credit: Emily Poole)

American artist Ida Applebroog died aged 93 in New York. Applebroog, who is survived by her four children and their families, was an integral figure in American feminist art, frequently translating classic motifs of male aggression into darkly humourous work. Born to an orthodox Jewish family in the Bronx in 1929, Applebroog embraced an eclectic selection of mediums over six decades, creating sculptures, films, installations, paintings and drawings. She especially enjoyed working on skinlike Rhoplex-coated vellum, creating figures that were cartoonish in their simplicity. 


Maria Pergay, designer (1930 – 2023)

(Image credit: Manuel Bourgot)

Designer Maria Pergay died on 31 October 2023, aged 93. She spent most of her life in France, where she began her design career in the 1950s: at a time when design strived to be functional, Pergay defied the customs of her time by creating objects and furniture whose silhouettes were experimental, and sophisticated. 


Russell Norman, restaurateur (1965 – 2023)

(Image credit: Photography: Jenny Zarins. Courtesy of Ebury Press)

British restaurateur and author Russell Norman passed away at the age of 57. He was known for his notable contributions to the restaurant industry, introducing the concept of Italian small plates and breathing new life into the Negroni cocktail. Having earned the title of the ‘new king of Soho dining’ in 2012, Norman had a diverse career in London's most iconic restaurants before co-founding the independent restaurant company Polpo with his close friend Richard Beatty in 2009. They then continued to establish restaurants in central London, including Spuntino and Mishkin's.


Joe Tilson, artist (1928 – 2023)

(Image credit: Getty Images)

British artist, Joe Tilson, a stalwart of the British Pop movement, died aged 95. Tilson brought a joyful riot of colour to the contemporary art scene in the 1960s, after early experiments with slyly witty work inspired by American culture. After studying at St Martin’s School of Art and the Royal College of Art, Tilson drew on his training as a carpenter and a joiner as he began creating his early works rooted in realist traditions.


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