From 29 April to 6 November, the Museo del Novecento presents Aldo Rossi: Design 1960–1997, curated by Chiara Spangaro, in collaboration with the Fondazione Aldo Rossi and Silvana Editoriale. With this show, the Museo del Novecento continues its investigation of the interdisciplinary relationships among the arts so characteristic of contemporary culture, delving deeply into the work and thinking of the architect, designer, theoretician, and critic, one of the key figures of twentieth-century visual culture.
For the first time, more than 350 pieces, comprising furniture and household objects, prototypes and models, paintings, drawings, and studies planned and realized by Aldo Rossi from 1960 to 1997 are exhibited in a spectacular itinerary, a visual testament to his activities as designer, planner, and theoretician of architecture.
In all of his artistic production, beginning with the first furniture created in 1960 with the architect Leonardo Ferrari, Rossi reflected on the relationship between architectural and urban scale and that of monuments and objects. In 1979, he began to investigate the world of industrial production and high craftsmanship, designing furnishings and useful objects, at first for Alessi, then for Artemide, DesignTex, Bruno Longoni Atelier d’arredamento, Molteni&C/UniFor, Richard-Ginori, Rosenthal, and Up&Up (today UpGroup).
Over a period of 20 years, he created more than 70 objects and pieces of furniture, many of which are still in production today, experimenting with forms and colors in metal and wood, marble and stone, ceramics and porcelain, artisanal and industrial fabrics, and plastic materials.
The exhibition, designed by Morris Adjmi-MA Architects, Rossi’s collaborator and, later, associate in New York, presents Aldo Rossi’s universe in nine rooms: each represents a world in which the relationship between graphic works and artisanal and industrial products emerges, with references to Rossi’s architecture and his personal spaces.
The first room introduces us to the relationship between the painted image and the world of objects, while the second is devoted to prototypes and variations of an imaginary domestic panorama, leading us to the reconstruction of a poetic environment in the third room, where works like the Parigi series (UniFor, 1994) and the Tea & Coffee Piazza (Alessi, 1983) are the visual and metaphysical focus, accompanied on the walls by never-before-seen drawings of the interiors of Rossi’s house in Via Rugabella (Milan). The fourth room presents the varied forms of his production of objects, related to the shape of the cube that recalls the Cemetery of San Cataldo, in Modena, and introduces the Apollonian geometric figures the artist used in both design and architecture—theme of the fifth room: from the prototypes for Richard-Ginori and Rosenthal to the architectural plans for the Monument to the Partisans of Segrate and the school in Fagnano Olona, to the carpets created with ARP Studio in Sardinia (1986) and the checkerboard inlays for Bruno Longoni Atelier d’arredamento (1997).
In the sixth room, one finds chairs, armchairs, large pieces of furniture and their variations in terms of materials and colors, from the Papyro writing desk (Molteni&C, 1989) to the Tabularium bookcase (Up&Up, 1985). The reconstruction of the domestic interior in Room 7 brings together furniture and objects by Rossi along with those he collected, taken from in his homes. Among these are the American coffeepots, a print by Giovanni Battista Piranesi, and a nineteenth-century sideboard that inspired his own design, all of which allow us to feel that we are entering his personal space. The relationship to architecture, clearly visible throughout the entire exhibition, can be seen in the grouping devoted to the furniture conceived by Rossi for some of his buildings that is presented in the eighth room: the seat for the Carlo Felice Theater, in Genoa (Molteni&C/UniFor, 1990), or the Museum chair realized for the Bonnefanten Museum, in Maastricht (Molteni&C|UniFor, 1994). The magical, mysterious presence of the Teatro del Mondo, which closes the show, recalls the temporary wooden constructions—from the lighthouse to the beach hut changing cabin to the floating theater—and brings us back full circle to the initial group of works.
Aldo Rossi: Design 1960-1997 leads the viewer through an unexpected narrative, imaginative and spectacular, that wends its way through form and use, classicism, irony, and metaphysics: a narrative in which a bookcase has the form of a steamship (Piroscafo, with Luca Meda for Molteni&C, 1991); the cone and the dome are sometimes coffeepots (La Conica and La Cupola, Alessi, 1984 and 1988) and at other times preparatory elements for the Teatro Domestico (17th Milan Triennial, 1986); the lighthouse, already a theater in Toronto and a museum on the island of Vassivière, is a glass and ceramic teapot for Rosenthal (Il Faro, 1994); and the Monument of Segrate appears alongside a checkerboard inlay for Bruno Longoni or a carpet woven in Sardinia.
The extraordinary ensemble of works brought together for the first time in this show is the fruit of discussions and collaboration with museums and various institutional archives (Museo Alessi, the archives of Bruno Longoni Atelier d’arredamento and UpGroup); Italian and international museum collections (Bonnefanten Museum, Maastricht; Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; Fondazione Museo Archivio Richard-Ginori of the Doccia Museum, in Sesto Fiorentino: MAXXI – Museo delle arti del XXI secolo, Rome; the Università IUAV, in Venice; and the Milan Triennial) and various private collections.
A catalogue raisonné entitled Aldo Rossi: Design 1960–1997, edited by Chiara Spangaro, with a critical essay by Domitilla Dardi, will be published by Silvana Editoriale for the show. It will be the first publication that brings together all of Rossi’s design projects: prototypes, objects actually produced, and the previously unknown and uncatalogued works created by the Milanese architect-designer, who was awarded the Pritzker Prize in 1990.
Museo del Novecento, Milan
29 April - 6 November 2022
Admission to the Aldo Rossi exhibit is included in the price of the ticket to the museum.
Admission € 10,00 | Reduced € 8,00
Tuesday through Sunday from 10 AM to 7:30 PM
Thursday: 10 AM to 10:30 PM
Last admission: one hour prior to closing
Press Office for the Exhibition:
Lara Facco P&C
tel. +39 0236565133
Aldo Rossi: Design 1960–1997 is a project of the Museo del Novecento, the Fondazione Aldo Rossi, and Silvana Editoriale. The primary sponsor is Molteni&C/UniFor; additional funding came from Alessi, Bruno Longoni Atelier d’arredamento, and G.T. Design, along with the technical support of Pollice Illuminazione and UpGroup. Digital Advertising by Moma Comunicazione.