Article from the 2011-08-16
”There is no more originality today. The invention of new forms is replaced by the variation of decorations and surfaces. The design is re-design. To design is to decorate.”
With provocative statements and designs, Alessandro Mendini became one of the most important figures of Italian design of the 20th century. The designer and architect celebrates his 80th birthday today.
Born in Milan in 1931, Mendini especially figured in the development of design in Italy. He was designer and architect, theoretic of Italian Avant-garde design and initiator of new trends as well as founder and editor of the “Casabella”, “Modo” and “Domus” magazines.
Mendini developed the concepts of re-design and Banal design, where everyday objects are transformed into ironic objects with colours and forms, together with other Italian designers. Especially by this irony and often even respect-less treatment of common thoughts of “good taste” and the alienation of historic masters and design classics, Mendini often offered dynamite for great discussions.
The started talk about design themes made up and important part of the development of Italian design which became worldwide known as a consequence. Famous design objects by Mendini are the unmistakable cork-screw figures Anna G. (1994) and Alessandro M. (2003) for Alessi, the armchairs Poltrona di Proust and Vassilij (both 1978 for Alchimia, 1993 re-edition by Cappelini), the table Papilio for Zanotta (1985), the filter coffee machine Geo for Alessi (2003) or the Kandissi sofa and the Ondoso table (both from 1979 for Alchimia).
Alessandro Mendini was and is still Art director and consultant for Swatch and Alessi since many years. He leads the architecture studio Mendini in Milan together with his brother Francesco (also an architect) since 1989, working at theory researches as well as designs and architecture projects.