The Obsessions of Italian Design at Triennale Design Museum


Here are a few photos of the inaugural exhibition at the new Triennale Design Museum in Milan - the first design museum in Italy, which opened last month.

The show, called The Obsessions of Italian Design, is created by film maker Peter Greenaway and architect Italo Rota.

Photos are by Fabrizio Marchese.

Below is info about the show and the new museum:



“The Obsessions of Italian Design” created by British Filmmaker Peter Greenaway and Italian Architect Italo Rota to Include Films by Greenaway and 6 Prominent Italian Filmmakers

Milan, Italy December 2007 – The Triennale Design Museum, the first museum dedicated to design in Italy, will open inside La Triennale di Milano in the Parco Sempione in Milan on December 6, 2007. The new Museum establishes a permanent exhibition space for design in the heart of a city synonymous with design, in an area of the country marked by a rich design heritage. The Museum will open with “The Obsessions of Italian Design”—100 Italian design objects set against films by British artist and filmmaker Peter Greenaway and 6 Italian filmmakers—conceived and designed by Greenaway and Italian architect Italo Rota.

The Foundation of the Museum

The Museum is the fruit of a framework agreement requested by Triennale di Milano and promoted by the Ministry of the Cultural Heritage, the Region of Lombardy, the Province of Milan, the Municipality of Milan and the Chamber of Commerce of Milan, joined by Assolombarda, Fondazione Fiera Milano, Politecnico di Milano, Fondazione ADI, Università IULM, Anfia, and COSMIT. The Triennale Design Museum has been sponsored by Arcus and Fondazione Cariplo.

The Museum Design

The architectural design for the restoration of the building and the conversion of the Museum is by Michele De Lucchi. Work for the Design Museum began in 2004 with the building of the Design Library, the Historical Archives and the Documentation Centre and continued with the construction of the new Museum and restoration of the existing museum site through December 2007.

The innovative architectural feature of the Triennale Design Museum is the creation of its own entrance, via a bridge over the grand staircase, so that the Museum exists both inside the Triennale and as an independent body, visible as such.

The Museum includes a conference hall capable of offering a wider range of meetings, presentations and events open to all the leading figures of Italian design, where different aspects of design will be discussed.

The Curatorial Vision

The Museum will be directed by Silvana Annicchiarico, who has been the been the Curator of the Permanent Collection of Italian Design of La Triennale di Milano for nine years, and has been in charge of the Design Department at La Triennale for the last six years.

The scientific director of the Design Museum is Andrea Branzi.

The Museum of La Triennale aims at being deeply innovative. Usually one goes to a museum just once or twice. The purpose, the challenge presented by La Triennale is to have visitors come back twice a year. Hence the idea of a Museum that should not be crystallised or static, but a dynamic Museum, able to renew itself and offer itself with renewed visions time and again. A scientific as well as emotional Museum, that should offer visitors an intriguing experience such as to make them want to repeat it again.

On one side, it develops through a wide scientific research that tells and portrays the history of Italian design from different perspectives, through different stories, interpretations, approaches, and which tackles, in its first year, the subject of “What is Italian design?”. The next steps will be a new subject, “The relation between Art and Design”, a new scientific system and a new layout for the 2009 Furniture Show and, from then on, every year.

On the other side, the Museum will host an area in which some aspects of the subject will be explored through different curators. The planned focuses are: from 6 December 2007 L’Editoria del design; La legione straniera; I Materiali autarchici; Le gallerie d’arte e di design.

Italo Rota and Peter Greenaway have been called to give their view of the first subject, an emotional take on Italian design. “The Obsessions of Italian Design” includes films by Greenaway, Italian directors Antonio Capuano, Pappi Corsicato, Davide Ferrario, Daniele Luchetti, Mario Martone, and renowned filmmaker Ermanno Olmi.

The Design Museum at the Center of Italian Design Culture

The Triennale Design Museum is at the centre of the network of the ‘veins’ of design in which Italy, especially the area of Lombardy, is rich; and it is a truly widespread beauty, which however is often unknown as it happens to private museums or public and private collections. Therefore the Museum is also an opportunity to form a network of such vast heritage and make it visible in its contents.

The Museum Catalogue

L’Europeo, the renowned Italian historical magazine in production since the 1930s, will produce the catalogue, a special monographic issue developed with La Triennale di Milano to celebrate the birth of Triennale Design Museum. The process of development of Italian design will be told by the big names of L’Europeo, historians and designers, from the perspective of the twentieth-century history of Italy.

Triennale Design Museum

Silvana Annicchiarico, Director
Michele De Lucchi, Designer of the Restoration of Palazzo della Triennale
Andrea Branzi, Scientific Director
Peter Greenaway and Italo Rota, Exhibition Design

Official opening, December 6, 2007
Triennale di Milano
Admission ticket: museum + catalogue, 11 euros

The new logo of Triennale Design Museum has been designed by Pierluigi Cerri.

The involvement of artistic personalities in the fitting out of the Museum was made possible by MINI. This cooperation will continue for the next two years.

The technical sponsors of Triennale Design Museum are:
ArchLegno, Basf, bticino, iGuzzini, Orsogril, Viabizzuno.

Posted on Thursday January 3rd 2008 at 9:26 pm by . Copyright policy | Comments policy

  • I’m thinking that this is one of those situations where photographs, alone, can’t tell the real story. At least I’m hoping that’s the case.

  • @Musser:
    The photos are the best part.

    I visited a week ago and was completely let down by it…
    The illumination is horrible, making it hard to see the objects.
    Every 3 pieces there is an LCD screen detailing the product name and designer. You have to wait for the cycle to catch the info. This is a place where cardboard tags would have been more appropriate. (talk about bad design)

    The museum is trying too hard to be edgy and trendy.
    Italian design is all about the maverick spirit and passion, not superficial enhancements.
    Save yourself the ticket, and go visit Castiglioni’s studio a block away!

  • seervision

    i disagree!
    Saw this twice . The exhibition had so much energy and definitely puts Italian design in its’ place in international design.
    Was in the New Museum too in NY–and it’s so much different from NY innaugural exhibit. they just are worlds apart–
    But really the MoMA was more equivalent to Triennale since PS1 and New Museum is more avantgarde and not design-object focused. ..and since American design has less weight in international design history..its natural for Italians devote their own hall of fame. their own territory..
    I am looking forward to seeing it evolve though and ask the future of Italian or non-Italian d.

    ciao ciao

    and achille’s is a must too…it’s in a different context !!

  • selvaggia

    The idea of such a museum has come very late to its accomplishment, as almost everything else in Italy. They want to celebrate Italian design from the golden age, which means stuff from the fifties to the eighties, that’s totally ok. On the other side, there hasn’t been a real support to Italian design throughout all this time. Let’s think of the degree course in industrial design, which has been established in the first half of the ninenties or the general courses for visual communication, fashion, or exhibit design, which first came out in the late ninenties…Italian institutions have mostly ignored the lively world of design such as it was: industries, people and hard work. Now that those ages have undergone, they want to celebrate it all, perhaps a way to bring it to life again. There are now different rules and mechanism in Italian design, which is still alive but differently. They still ignore it. Nevertheless, Triennale is once again a private institution! Just have a look at the exhibition: they invited a foreign filmmaker for an exhibition about Italian design. Don’t we have any good young filmmaker in Italy? I don’t think so. Anyway, where is the connection between video installations and the products, which should stand for the real characters of this plot? They put together special effects, expensive videos and impressive images with horrible typography and a non-informative exhibition. What should people learn from this past? Famous design pieces are put in the shadow like grannies looking at a present thay can’t understand anymore. There is no communication between the products and the video part, which was aimed to add more significance to the objects. But the objects talk for themselves, they are already something and need no other stories to tell. They just need a simple language to come closer to people even if people can’t interact with them, in order for the general audience to experience these memorable products for what they merely are at first sight, just everyday tools, and perhaps to provide information about their place in the design scenario, why do they stand out from the crowd, why do they look so simple but are rather the outcome of a difficult process which engaged many good brains. All this, of course, through the simple language of design. People see, people touch, people play, people question and perhaps they get more into it. No celebration of the exceptional, design is the exceptionally ordinary of our life. Hopefully next exhibition will make me say “wooooow!”….