Design, Milan 2023 – On the curved gallery on the Triennale Milano ground floor, the new Italian Design Museum features over 300 works either drawn from the museum’s own 1,600-strong collection or on loan from private collections. “For the centenary, we imagined a journey highlighting the great ‘historical projects’ narrating how Italian design development was brought forward by creatives, visionary entrepreneurs, and families – all well aware of design’s cultural value long before their time,” Explained Marco Sammicheli.
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“We did not want to construct a mere chronological path,” Sammicheli told Archipanic. Indeed, along with the iconic pieces, the curator has selected and recreated immersive interiors whose logic represented a fundamental line of development in the design discipline. “Such interiors build a more vertical insight into the history of Italian design.”
The Italian Design Museum was inaugurated in 2019 and temporarily closed in 2021 for the 23rd Triennial Exhibition. Triennale is the most important institution preserving Italy’s design and interior design heritage. Founded in 1923 in Monza, in 1933, it settled at the Maurizio Muzio-designed historic building in Via Alemagna 6, Milan [Map].
The exhibition features masterpieces by some of the most illustrious architects and Italian design Maestros including Franco Albini and the Castiglione brothers – we absolutely love the iconic Superleggera chair by Gio Ponti for Cassina, 1957 – but also independent design avant-garde movements including Superstudio and the infamous Memphis Group founded by Ettore Sottsass, Alessandro Mendini, and more.
Encounter many statement lighting designs including FLOS’ Arco Lamp by brothers Pier Giacomo and Achille Castiglioni for Flos, 1962, to Gae Aulenti’s Pipistrello for Martinelli Luce, 1962. The selection does not only include traditional furniture but also everyday objects, from the Coccoina glue brand to visionary tableware, the iconic Lettera 22 by Marcello Nizzoli for Olivetti, 1950, Enzo Mari’s animal puzzle toy, 1956… And sexy vehicles such as the Fiat 500, the Lambretta 50 Lui CL,1968, and the Vespa 125 mod. 51, 1951.
“All these pieces have deeply innovated Italians’ way of living and thinking,” continues Sammicheli. The secret of Italian design? “The ability to catch and interpret collective values before others.”
The last stretch of the exhibition will host the Design Platform: a space designated for temporary exhibitions with a focus on design today. The first exhibit in this space, Text, runs from 15 April to 17 September 2023 and looks at approaches by stylists and designers when creating texts, interfaces, and fabrics, including works by Ottavio Missoni, Giorgio Armani, Humberto and Fernando Campana, Vico Magistretti, and Gaetano Pesce.
All photos BY Agnese Bedini e Gianluca di Gioia – courtesy of Triennale Milano.