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Triennale Design Week 2018

The eleventh edition of the TDM is all about 20th Century design while a series of exhibitions celebrate lighting by Martinelli, the architecture of Mendini and chairs by Archizoom.

"Stories. Italian Design", exhibition view, La Triennale di Milano, Milan, 2018

What is Italian design and what does it mean to be an “icon” today? An answer to these two questions is offered by the Triennale Design Museum, the geographic and cultural epicentre of Milan Design Week, with its eleventh edition entitled “Stories. Italian Design”, on show until 20 January 2019. Devised by Silvana Annicchiarico, the highlight in absolute of the packed programme for the 2018 Fuorisalone at the Milan Triennale, is an anthological exhibition that opened on 13 April and invites visitors to discover 180 of the most iconic products of Italian design made between 1902 and 1998. An entire century, the twentieth, that is represented here through a exhibition organised chronologically in five periods and enhanced by five thematic studies commissioned to top curators and historians: politics by Vanni Pasca, geography and economics by Manolo de Giorgi, technology by Raimonda Riccini, communication by Maddalena Della Mura.

Going from the Poltroncina by Ernesto Basile and canvas shoe by Superga in the period between 1902 and 1945, the Vespa to Componibili for Kartell designed by Anna Castelli Ferrieri (1946-1963), the UP5_6 chair by B&B Italia (1964-1972) up to Tratto/Pen, the Carlton bookcase by Ettore Sottsass (1973-1983) and the Juicy Salif lemon-squeezer by Philippe Starck (1984-1998). The story stops here, “to maintain the right critical and temporal distance”.

After ten years experimenting with themed exhibitions, the Triennale decided to create something that is the closest to a museum (permanent) that has been seen in the field of design, describing the designs and designers that have made history, contributing to the invention of Made in Italy and the evolution of the country.

Stories however doesn't forgo the discussion on what is happening now in design. The exhibition opens in fact with Pay for Design, a consideration of the contemporary situation curated by Chiara Alessi. A series of rooms, arranged on the sides of a central tunnel made from mirrors describes the complex heterogeneity of the industry and consumption in the new millennium, analysing different scenarios linked to sales and distribution: it talks for example of open-source, crowdfunding and customisation. The key piece in this immersion in contemporaneity is called click & collect, a large distributor six metres high, a kind of completely automatic “design supermarket” that enables visitors to buy a collection of 20 objects from both historic companies and new realities made specially for this edition of TDM, such as for example the Nasa kit by Achille Castiglioni at 30 euro.

But that's not all: the Fuorisalone at the Triennale includes eighteen exhibitions with the major interpreters of Italian and international design and a special temporary store where it is possible to purchase - discounted up to 80% - a selection of objects by designers including Gae Aulenti, Cini Boeri and Joe Colombo.

The first of the key exhibitions installed for Triennale Design Week is a monograph dedicated to Martinelli Luce and Elio Martinelli, the designer of the famous Cobra lamp, reinterpreted for the fiftieth anniversary of the company by a pool of 23 designers including Marc Sadler and Paola Navone. In a chronological presentation of the 1970s to today it is possible to discover the evolution of a company that is a quintessential symbol of Made in Italy, not forgetting collaborations with big names in design of the time such as Sergio Asti and Gae Aulenti.

“Don’t need a title: MINI, inspired by origins” illustrates in four thematic rooms the history and philosophy of one of the most important icons in the world of cars. Alongside a tribute to Alec Issigonis, who designed it in 1959, the exhibition highlights its space-saving characteristics, its role of icon over the decades and the potential for customisation of the small revolutionary car. What is more, making its debut for the first time is the Concept MINI Vision Next 100, a look into the future of the brand and the concept itself of mobility.

“Stories. Italian Design”,  exhibition view, Triennale di Milano, 2018
“Stories. Italian Design”, exhibition view, Triennale di Milano, 2018

Curated by Aldo Colonetti, “Atelier Mendini. Le Architetture” is a homage by Abet Laminati to the brothers Alessandro and Francesco Mendini with whom they have been collaborating for almost half a century. 26 wooden models alongside photographs, drawings and videos describe for the first time ever all the public and private architecture projects by the Atelier including the Museum of Groningen in the Netherlands and the Inchoeon Triennial in Korea.

In the museum garden the spotlight is on “Poltronova Supernova Special”: fifty years after the birth of its timeless icon of radical design the historic Tuscan company Poltronova celebrates the Superonda chair that is presented in six new versions by protagonists and heirs of the Florence group Archizoom Associati (Andrea Branzi, Dario Bartolini, Gilberto Coretti, Cristina Morozzi, Paolo Deganello) called upon to design special new covers.

Finally alongside the Bagni Misteriosi by Giorgio de Chirico an arch with a delicate silhouette houses a collection of ceramics by students of the Master of Arts and Applied Arts of Creative Academy in collaboration with Laboratorio Paravicini (with support from the Fondazione Cologni dei Mestieri d’Arte and Van Cleef & Arpels ) an ode to the marriage between contemporary design and traditional decorative ceramic techniques.

Exhibition title:
Stories. Italian Design
Silvana Annicchiarico
Curated by:
Chiara Alessi, Maddalena Dalla Mura, Manolo de Giorgi, Vanni Pasca, Raimonda Riccini
Set up project:
Calvi Brambilla
Graphic project:
Leonardo Sonnoli
La Triennale di Milano
viale Alemagna 6, Milan
Opening dates:
14 April 2018 - 20 January 2019 | tuesday – sunday 10:30am - 8:30pm

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