R & Company presents ‘SuperDesign’, a comprehensive survey of Italian Radical Design from 1965-1975. The exhibition curated by Maria Cristina Didero, freelance journalist and independent design curator, is the result of ten years of extensive research, passionate collecting and interviews to protagonists who started the movement in Italy in the mid-1960s when they were a group of art, architecture, and design students. It then started as a youthful rally against the establishment at a time of tumultuous political climate and as a rejection of design norms, but it soon became a movement that brought together some of the most dynamic and avant-garde thinkers and designers across the country. As Maria Cristina Didero writes, “perhaps it was the short circuit between appearance and functionality that created magic”; through it the Italian Radicals’ bold experimentation in modern design resulted in  enigmatic, confrontational, and clever furniture and objects—such as the iconic lip-shaped Bocca sofa, or the Cactus coat-rack in green foam—as well as more public innovations including discotheque interiors and subversive performances.

‘SuperDesign’ showcases emblematic examples of this visionary work, together with a selection of rare original drawings, photographs, and artwork unearthed from personal archives; and it features designers such as Archizoom Associati, Lapo Binazzi (UFO), Pietro Derossi (Gruppo Strum), Piero Gilardi, Ugo La Pietra, Gaetano Pesce, Gianni Pettena, Studio65, and Superstudio. However, ‘SuperDesign’ is not only an exhibition, it is also a book published by The Monacelli Press, written by Didero herself, Deyan Sudjic, and Catharine Rossi, with an introduction by R & Company principal, Evan Snyderman; it is also a feature length documentary directed by Francesca Molteni, which presents interviews with pioneering designers and rare unreleased archival footage.

Ilona Catani Scarlett

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