Saturday, May 5, 2012 3:21 PM EDT
Concluding HGTV.ca’s special 6-part series on Italian design, as reported from the streets at the heart of the Mediterranean republic’s undisputed design capital. If all roads lead to Rome, all threads lead to Milan…
Apart from being a leading fashion capital, Milan is Italy’s unequivocal capital of industrial and furniture design. The bustling city boasts countless studios and laboratories, and manufacturers churn out some of the most iconic objects and furnishings ever made. In Part 5, we considered the works of Ponti and Fornasetti; in today’s finale, a pilgrimage alongside numerous other visionary designers, whose works are to be found everywhere in Milan.
The artful blending of utilitarianism and keen artistic sensibilities of Achille Castiglioni (1918-2002) helped generate a veritable, long-lasting revolution in Italian design. Employing plastics and state-of-the-art industrial materials instead of the precious wood used in the past, Castiglioni’s approach has never been more relevant than today. Among many seminal creations are his famous designs for radio manufacturer Brion Vega, the gracious Arco lamp [pictured, left] and the exuberant Teraxacum chandelier [pictured, bottom of post, manufactured today by Flos].
To name but a few other Italian design greats: Vico Magistretti, Ettore Sotsass, Marco Zanuso and Alessandro Mendini. If we imagine a genealogical tree of design, from these figures stems a veritable family of design production, which includes the still very active and influential Michele De Lucchi, Paola Navone, Antonio Citterio — again, to name only a few.
Adding to the offerings of the rich and diverse design community that is Milan, and in addition to countless galleries and house museums containing priceless artistic treasures, some of the homes and ateliers in which so much seminal activity took place are open to the public today. Consider: One can visit the Achille Castiglione [pictured, top of post] and Vico Magistretti foundations, the studio of Piero Portalupi (Art Deco architect and ceramicist), and the Aldo Rossi and Franco Albini foundations. Honourable mentions (which would be undisputed highlights in any city other than Milan) include the Triennale Museum of Design, the Villa Necchi Campiglio (setting for the stylish Luca Guadadnino film I Am Love) [pictured, left] and the Museo Boschi di Stefano (a house museum and repository of art and design from the interwar years).
If you are perhaps considering making your own pilgrimage to Milan, the above suggested romp through the city's illustrious points of interest are bound to keep you busy for days. For design buffs, there's no place better.