The Calendario Bilancia is a perpetual calendar consisting of a central block with three horizontal strips of different and contrasting timber species, which have the days, numbers and months silk-screen-printed on them. A fourth, lower strip of timber acts as a counterbalance.
Enzo Mari, born in Novara, Italy, in 1932. He designed the balancing calendar in 1959 for Danese Milano. His early work was expressed in timber, such as his 16 Animali puzzle for children, but by the 1960s he became known for his designs in high-tech plastics. He designed various furniture pieces for Italian companies Zanotta, Driade and Castelli, from the 1970s through the 1990s, and more recently for Gebrüder Thonet Vienna and Muji in Japan.
What makes it special
It’s a beautiful sculptural object that is useful too. The mix of timbers adds visual complexity but the simple balance mechanism is satisfyingly old-fashioned. For some, the need for manual adjustment would be maddening, but for others, it’s a perfect and very artistic way to remember dates.