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The recently deceased Alessandro Mendini was without a doubt a key figure in Italian architecture, design, and illustration. Born in Milan in 1931 Mendini has left us with an everlasting influence that will continue to inspire many artists worldwide.
Mendini had an intense and influential 60-year career, being a key figure in the radical design movement of the 1960s and in the following postmodern movement. He produced several works mainly in the areas of architecture, interior design, furniture, and lighting. Today we’re having a look at some of his more marking projects.
We had to open this topic with what is probably the most famous of Mendini’s furniture pieces: the Proust armchair. Created in 1978, this fine couch was the result of a combination of a Baroque form with a pattern of a multi-colored fabric, a style inspired by pointillist artist Paul Signac. This chair was also seen as a clear rejection of modernism and minimalism.
His career also opened with significative pieces such as the “Lassù” chair, the “Scivolavo” seat, or the “Suitcase for the final journey”. All of them were defined as “objects for spiritual use” seen as these furniture pieces step away from the usual functionality of their nature.
Mendini also dared to be different in furniture design with the redesigning of Gerrit Rietveld’s famous ‘zigzag chair’, as well as the creation of Zabro, a piece designed for Zanotta in 1984, that can transform from a chair to a table. We also can’t forget to mention The Black Out ( mobile bar designed in 1984 with Alchimia) and also one of the most famous corkscrews of all time Anna (made in collaboration with Alessi).
Among one of his most recent projects was AM o1 which he made as a collaboration for Sanwa. This kitchen piece was presented last year at Eurocucina 2018.
Mendini was one of the co-founders of one of Milan’s most important establishment when it comes to educating potential young designers: Domus Academy was created alongside other relevant names in the area such as Maria Grazia Mazzocchi, Alessandro Guerriero, Pierre Restany, Andrea Branzi, and Valerio Castelli.
This educational establishment has managed to remain known as one of Italy’s leading postgraduate design schools, providing a complete education in areas such as interior design, product design, architecture, business, fashion, and experience design.
In 1989 Atelier Mendini was created by the hand of the acclaimed architect as well as by his brother Francis. This architecture studio located in Milan became quite known worldwide thanks to collaborations with renowned brands such as Zanotta, Alessi, Swatch, Philips, Venni, Bisazza, and Cartier.
Many of Mendini’s key design works include the Groninger Museum in the Netherlands, Museo di Omegna in Italy and Teatrino della Bicchieraia also in Italy. The first example is widely regarded as his greatest masterpiece in the area of architecture.
Another notable architectural accomplishment of his is the Bus Stop Seintor in Hannover, Germany. All of these works had a special touch of color to them which reflects the mindset of Mendini in using color effectively in his works.