Last week I went to the ‘La Bellezza Quotidiana’ // ‘The Everyday Beauty’, a design exhibition by Triennale Design Museum promoting and enhancing Italian design icons throughout time. It contains a selection of over 200 iconic pieces laid out in chronological order, starting in 1945 and ending up in 2015. It contains designs by the big masters Alessandro Mendini, Andrea Branzi, Gio Ponti, Piero Fornasetti, Franco Albini, Bruno Munari, together with young, new designers such as Lorenzo Damiani, Martino Gamper and Fabio Novembre.
Below is the timeline of all the designs featured in the exhibition, just click on the image to view larger:
It is so fascinating to see the development and innovation that has happened over the years, and very interesting to see how many of these pieces still have a very modern and new feel to them. Italy is seen as being a worldwide trendsetter and leader in design, which you can clearly see in the collection of items displayed at ‘La Bellezza Quotidiana’.
One piece that especially caught my eye was the ‘PRATONE’, designed by Giorgio Ceretti, Pietro Derossi and Riccardo Rosso for Gruppo Strum in 1971. At first glance I had no idea what it could be, it looks like a section of oversized grass and has a pop-art style to it. When getting closer to it and reading the sign saying it was a chair I still felt a bit confused, as it does not resemble anything you would traditionally call a chair. It is primarily a work of art, but also functional and quite comfortable by the looks of it (see here.)
I also love the quirky ‘Sending Animals’ furnitures, designed by Marcantonio Raimondi Malerba for Seletti. These playful animal-shaped storage units are made from wooden shipping crates, a fun way to display your homeware.
The exhibition is located in the attic of the Villa Reale in Monza, a stunning location and a must-see if you are ever in the Milan area. It was the summer villa for the Italian royal family up until 1900 and is surrounded by Monza Park, one of the largest enclosed parks in Europe. The villa was recently restored, and is now open to the public as a museum but also hosts temporary exhibitions and events. There is a restaurant area near the entrance that serves lovely food and drinks, and a little book shop where you can have a browse.
The exhibition design is by Michele De Lucchi, with a minimalistic and organic style. Each item is displayed on untreated wood crates, which works very well with the wood and brick surroundings of the interior space. Each area is divided into a section focusing on the time period nicely displayed on the floor when entering. It is nice as it feels like you are having a walk through the history of Italian design.
If you do go to the exhibition be sure to check out the amazing photography exhibition ‘Oltre Lo Sguardo’ // ‘Beyond The Look’ by Steve McCurry also located at the villa. The exhibition shows his latest work alongside some of his best-known images. The highlight being the portrait of Sharbat Gula which was on the cover of National Geographic in 1985 and has since become one of the icons of world photography.