Opening of the ADI Design Museum in Milan retracing the history of Italian design – WWD
Milan has long been considered the international capital of design thanks in large part to its design and furniture fair Salone del Mobile, as well as its history of local talents who have helped shape the tastes of the world.
Today, the city is shining more light on its links with design through the opening of the ADI Design Museum Compasso d’Oro, which was unveiled on Tuesday, a space that aims to trace the evolution of aesthetics, industry and economy of Italian design over the decades.
Nestled between Milan’s Monumental Cemetery and the city’s Chinatown, the museum spans 55,272 square feet and was made possible by an investment of 6.5 million euros from the city’s municipality and other contributions from the Lombardy region, the Ministry of Culture and the ADI Foundation.
The latter is an institution created in 2001 by ADI, Industrial Design Association, the organization which awarded the biannual Compasso D’oro prize, or Golden Compass, design since 1954 to designers, companies and firms that have stood out with the best projects. and objects. The award was created by architect and designer Gio Ponti.
Located inside a restored 1930s industrial complex that first housed the city’s horse service warehouse and was later transformed into a power station, the museum overlooks Via Bramante and the newly established plaza. renamed Compasso d’Oro.
The airy and imposing three-room space housing the permanent collection was developed by the architectural firm Migliore + Servetto Architects in collaboration with Italo Lupi.
Mara Servetto likened the main hall to a cathedral and stressed that the project they designed was intended to serve as an exhibition space. “We have reduced the use of materials to the bare minimum, with thin sheets of wood and iron… and using both artificial and natural lighting as a third material,” she told WWD.
“Our aim was to develop an open plan that allowed flexibility and that would not overshadow the rich variety of exhibits,” noted Servetto, highlighting for example the juxtaposition of a tractor with a dentist’s chair and smaller objects like a fork.
Migliore + Servetto – who has worked in the past on exhibition spaces, for example by lending his creativity to the “Coats!” From Max Mara! exhibition in Seoul – also developed the graphic identity of the new museum.
Crossed by a glass covered boulevard that connects it to the city, the museum has been described as an “open space” by ADI president Luciano Galimberti, who said it was intended to “regenerate the urban landscape” .
“It is a meeting place, open and inclusive for design enthusiasts, industry professionals, businesses, as well as young people, the curious and families,” added Andrea Cancellato, director of the museum.
Culture Minister Dario Franceschini attended the opening event and remarked on how he signals the country’s resilience. “Despite the difficult months ahead, Italy has already demonstrated its ability to recover quickly from the aftermath of World War II, largely thanks to its creative spirit,” he said.
The ADI archives, which include around 2,300 projects, 350 of which have received the Golden Compass award over the years, served as the basis for the permanent exhibition titled “The Spoon and the City,” which traces the history of the award by exhibiting the winner artefacts flanked by technical drawings and sketches, as well as patent documents and articles.
The ADI Archives were recognized as a collection of culturally and historically relevant objects by the Ministry of Culture in 2004.
Curator Beppe Finesse imagined the spaces dedicated to each artefact in the permanent collection as a wunderkammer bringing together and exhibiting the know-how of the various craftsmen, companies and designers involved.
“Without any critical ambition that would have seemed too self-referential, we decided not only to focus on the winning projects but also to chronologically retrace the 26 editions of the prize and combine them with a light on the different fields of application of Italian design. ”, Finesse explained.
“Our goal is to find the right language to spread and share the culture around [design] projects aimed at sustainable and responsible growth, ”noted Galimberti. “It is a self-generative space but not self-festive, we hope, as it will grow as the Golden Compass award grows in the years to come,” he added.
To this end, the institution has partnered with the Istituto Europeo di Design in Milan, or IED, by enrolling the school’s students in projects to restore and catalog the museum’s collection.
Umberto Cabini, president of the ADI Foundation, declared that the opening of the museum represents “a message of optimism for the design industry and for the made in Italy and also a new chapter in the history of the foundation, which further highlights, values and triggers a broader discussion of the culture of [design] projects.”
In addition to the permanent exhibition, the museum will host a list of temporary display cases in other rooms, each designed by different international architects.
Temporary exhibitions include “One to One. The Object’s Species ”, which combines the winning Golden Compass objects based on their common purpose or design philosophy, as well as a retrospective on the work of textile designer Renata Bonfanti and Kartell entrepreneur and founder Giulio Castelli.
The ADI Design Museum is the first in Italy not to have a ticket office, and visitors are required to purchase their tickets in advance through a dedicated mobile app and website.
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