Vignelli Center
for Design Studies
Rochester Institute of Technology

Welcome to the Vignelli Center for Design Studies

About the Vignelli Center for Design Studies Biography of Massimo Vignelli Biography of Lella Vignelli Accomplishments

Lella Vignelli



Lella Vignelli was born in Udine, Italy, in 1934. She received a degree from the School of Architecture, University of Venice, and became a registered architect in Milan in 1962. In 1958, she received a tuition fellowship as a special student at the School of Architecture, MIT, and in 1959, Ms. Vignelli joined Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (Chicago) as junior designer in the Interiors department. The following year, with Massimo Vignelli, she established the Vignelli Office of Design and Architecture in Milan. In 1965, she became head of the Interiors department for Unimark International Corporation in Milan and, a year later, in New York. In 1971, the Vignellis established Vignelli Associates, with Lella Vignelli as executive vice president, and later serving as chief executive officer. Seven years later, the couple formed Vignelli Designs, a company dedicated to product and furniture design, of which she later became president.


Lella’s work is widely featured in design publications in the United States and abroad. Examples of her work have been included in the permanent collections of numerous museums, including the Museum of Modern Art, the Cooper-Hewitt Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Montreal, and Die Neue Sammlung in Munich. In 2003, Lella and Massimo Vignelli received the National Design Lifetime Achievement Award. She is also the recipient of honorary doctorates from the Parsons School of Design, New York and the Corcoran School of Art, Washington D.C. She also received the President’s Medal from Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester, NY.


Lella Vignelli passed away in New York on December 22, 2016.