Italian Version

“Established by Triennale Milano in 2007, the Museo del Design Italiano is dedicated to the promotion, conservation and documentation of the history of Italian design. At present the Museum presents a selection from the Permanent Collection of Triennale Milan, consisting of over 1,600 pieces belonging to our institution.
The exhibition highlights the central role that Triennale has had since its foundation in the definition, development and showcase of Italian design. Products, graphic and photographic materials of the International Exhibitions, collected in our archives and often unreleased, are on display to tell our almost 100 year history. The selection is organised chronologically and it covers one of the most important periods for Italian design: from the immediate post-war years and the subsequent economic boom to the early 1980s, when the appearance of new vibrant movements such as Memphis triggered a new era in design production, in Italy and worldwide. Throughout these decades of intense experimentation, in which new materials, new techniques and new aesthetic codes revolutionised behaviour at home and in society, innovation was driven not only by designers but also by the entrepreneurs and CRAFTSMEN whit whom the designers worked constantly, making Italian design a phenomenon of international importance. Today, the Museo del Design Italiano is engaged in an intense process of enrichment and enhancement of the Archives and the Collection through a productive dialogue with designers, artists, archives, heirs, collectors, and gallery owners, as demonstrated by the recent donations and loans obtained through the collaboration with AIAP (associazione Italiana design della comunicazione visiva), AIAP CDPG (Centro di Documentazione sul Progetto Grafico), Fondazione Massimo e Sonia Cirulli, Salone del Mobile Milano, Studio Ettore Sottsass.
The Museo del Design Italiano is directed by Marco Sammicheli and its scientific committee is composed of Paola Antonelli, Andrea Branzi, Antonio Citterio, Michele De Lucchi, Piero Lissoni, Claudio Luti, Fabio Novembre and Patricia Urquiola.
The Museo del Design Italiano has been possible thanks to the support of the Ministry of Culture”.
(press Museo del Design Italiano)

below a selection:


Marco Zanuso, Lady (1951) – Arflex
Between 1947 and 1948, Pirelli began the first experimental studies on the use polyurethane foam and elastic bands in car upholstery and then in furniture. From these experiments, Arflex was born in 1951. Lady comprises four individual elements (two sides, seat and backrest) which are processed indipendently, then assembled into a single piece and finally upholstered.

Vittoriano Viganò, Floor Lamp mod.1047 (1951) – Arteluce
This floor lamp is characterised by its adjustable varnished aluminium light, brass frame and tripod base. It was presented at the 9th Triennale in 1951.

REX Projects Office, REX mod.700 (1962) – Antonio Zanussi
The Sixties were a time when kitchens and electrical appliances became increasingly popular due to the economic boom and social shifts. This gas cooker was a great success because it combines functionality with a low cost to the public, due to the simplification of the production cycle.

Gio Ponti, Visetta (1948) for Visa
The Visetta sewing machine is characterised by extremely simplified form and reduced dimensions. It features a new patented mechanism for winding the bobbin case that uses a small lever, the only element visible from the outside. The table has been designed with and around the machine itself to be able to hide it from view when not in use.

Carlo De Carli, Mod.683 (1953) – Cassina
This sturdy and fully demountable chair features solid wood sides, while the seat and backrest are made of ultra-thin curved ash plywood. The colour variation in the finger joints is due to the wood being cut longitudinally or transversely with respect to the fibres. The visible brass joints on the side join the seat, side profile, and metal cross under the seat in a cam lock-type connection.

Dante Giacosa, nuova 500 D (1960) – Fiat
The super-utility car that epitomises Italian-made products around the world. More than four million examples were produced over a period of eighteen years (1957-75), and there were more than a dozen different versions in terms of interior fittings, mechanical components, and slight variations to the bodywork. The “D” model (1960-65) with its compact, rounded lines and side mouldings ensured its ultimate success.

Umberto Riva, table lamp E 63 (1963) –
La Rinascente (1963)
Francesconi (1969)
Bieffeplast/Francesconi (1978)
FontanaArte (2001)
Antonia Jannone (2015)
Tacchini (2017)
The shape is inspired by one of Umberto Riva’s favourite artists, sculptor Constantin Brâncuși. This lamp is made of moulded sheet metal and has a futuristic shape (so much so that it was included in the latest remake of the film Blade Runner, set in 2049). The name refers to 1963, the year the project was created for a competition, while the E comes from the cataloguing process conducted by company Francesconi, which put it into production in 1969.

Vittoriano Viganò, Tre Pezzi (1946) – Compensati Curvi
Three pieces assembled with brass bolts: a seat, backrest and two armrest-legs, shaped like an upside-down “U”, made of and hot-pressed. Viganò draws on pre-war Scandinavian production to create an armchair that is light, easy to assemble, flexible, sturdy and non-deformable even when immersed in water. The shape speaks to the technique and follows the curve of the human body.

Achille and Pier Giacomo Castiglioni, Arco (1962) – Flos
A marble base, a stainless-steel rod fitted with three telescopic arches, and a bowl-shaped aluminium shade with perforations for cooling. The hole in the base allows the insertion of a broom handle to easily lift and move the lamp. Thanks to “Arco”, the dining table in the home is no longer tied to a predetermined position by the ceiling light.

Gae Aulenti, Sgarsul (1962) – Poltronova
Sgarsul (which in Venetian dialect means frivolous, bold) is an example of Neo-Liberty, an Italian movement of the early 1960’s born as a reaction to modernist rationalism. It is a rocking chair with rounded, continuous lines and a curved beechwood frame, an ironic take on Thonet’s 1862 Rocking Chair n.1

Studio 65, Bocca (1968) – Gufram
Sofa in the shape of giant lips, in cold-processed polyurethane covered with stretch fabric, inspired by the lips/sofa designed by Salvador Dalì in the work “Mae West’s Face which May Be Used as a Surrealist Apartment”. It represents an ironic critique of the ephemeral image society. The prototype was built for the Milan branch of American Contourella beauty centers.

Gae Aulenti, Tavolo con ruote (1980) – FontanaArte
An example of intuitive design where an idea becomes a prototype and then a product, whitout going through elaboration and drawings. A wooden tabletop on wheels used to transport sheets of glass in the FontanaArte factory is the inspiration for this coffee table, which introduces elements used in other contexts into the home by means of a ready-made process.

Alessandro Mendini, Poltrona di Proust (1978) – Atelier Mendini
After reading Proust and his rich descriptions of interiors and environments, Alessandro Mendini imagined what his armchair might look like. He decided to apply some details taken from Paul Signac’s paintings to a kitsch 18th century style armchair. The redesign aimed al creating a culturally valid object starting from a fake. The decoration is the very essence of the form, prevailing over the design.

Achille and Pier Giacomo Castiglioni, Mezzadro (1957) – Zanotta
Presented at the Forme e colori nella casa d’oggi (Shapes and colours in the contemporary home) exhibition in Como (1957), Mezzadro ironically and functionally places an early 20th-century sheet steel tractor seat cantilevered on a leaf spring above a wooden crossbar. A wing nut (often used for bicycle wheels) secures the whole thing without any tools or screwdrivers. Its innovation would not be understood until Zanotta would put it in production, fourteen years later.

Gabriella Ruggieri for 1blog4u

ph. Vaifro Minoretti

visit the Gallery

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