The history and stories of Italian design from 1902 to 1998 told through 180 iconic XX century objects, 5 main themes, and an analysis of the contemporary design scene. This is the exhibition curated by Chiara Alessi for the XI Triennale Design Museum at La Triennale di Milano and entitled ‘Storie. Il design italiano’, which will be on show until January 2019.

The 5 special thematic areas are those of Politics, curated by Vanni Pasca, Geography and Economics, both curated by Manolo de Giorgi, Technology, curated by Raimonda Riccini, and Communication, curated by Maddalena Dalla Mura. ‘Power and Forms. When designers do politics’ focuses on some key moments in the development of Italian design, from 1933 to the economic boom of the 1950s, through to the counter-design of the 1960s and 70s and on to globalization and world design, which began to take shape in the 1980s. ‘Maps. Shifting Geography’ looks at the manufacturing districts dotted around Italy and the particular aspects of their local areas, which constitute a unique setting for particular processes and uses of materials. ‘Stock Market. A carousel of numbers’ analyzes Italian design through the data that refers to it: from sales to royalties, to commercial successes and dismal flops.

From the Transistor to the Moon. Design and Technologies’ concentrates on the ability of Italian designers to interpret innovation in the field of electronics and experimental materials, turning them into quality products. ‘Images and Imagery: through photography and magazines’ shows how the history of Italian design is also the history of the construction, projection, and multiplication of its image, as well as of its dissemination through the media. Here the visitor is taken through magazines and photographs from the 1950s to the 1980s.

The 180 works have been selected as the most representative of Italian design. The choice is based on their innovative technology and shapes, their aesthetic qualities, experimental nature, iconic appeal, and success among the public. While, the decision to keep 1998 as the end of the selection, intentionally leaving out the past two decades, allows scholars to analyze the discipline from a distance, in terms of time and criticism.

Ilona Catani Scarlett

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