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Oggetti e Progetti: 30 Years of Alessi

Italian designer and architect Alessandro Mendini, born in Milan in 1931, joined forces with the Italian design factory Alessi in the late 1970s as a kind of Postmodernist design mentor for the brand, which was established in 1921 as a small metalworking firm and soon became known for its industrial pieces. Having previously headed up the magazines Casabella, Modo and Domus, Mendini—who designed the Groninger Museum in the Netherlands and Italy’s Omegna Forum—is best-known in the Alessi milieu for his Mendini T&C service and his Mendini TCT service, which he calls “the joker in the pack.” Still actively designing, Mendini refers to the projects from the studio he runs with his brother, Atelier Mendini, as “an ongoing puzzle that is never completed.”

In collaboration with Museo Alessi, Mendini is curating and designing “Oggetti e Progetti,” a retrospective dedicated to the last 30 years of Italian design for Die Neue Sammlung, the International Design Museum in Munich, specifically focusing on Alessi’s contributions through the years. Credited by the curators of Die Neue Sammlung as “instrumental in securing the success of Postmodernism,” Mendini has selected an array of Alessi designs, sketches and prototypes ranging mostly from the 1970s through the aughts, on display from May 21 through September 19.

The stainless-steel Fruit Bowl 370, produced in 1952 by the Ufficio Tecnico Alessi, the company’s design hub. The bowl is still in production today, and its inclusion in the exhibition suggests a relationship between the bowl’s earlier, mid-century lines to later Alessi forms.

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