“Mario Bellini. Italian Beauty” is the title of the exhibition that La Triennale di Milano is devoting to the entire work of the world-renowned Milanese architect. Visitors are taken on an extensivejourney through almost sixty years of design, architecture, exhibition installations and much more besides.
This retrospective opens thirty years after the exhibition of Mario Bellini’s works at MoMA, New York, in 1987. It is a tribute to the eclectic work of an Italian designer who obtained every success on the small scale (eight Compasso d’Oro awards, and furnishings and objects that became icons, often anticipating and revolutionising tastes and styles), and on the large scale, with convention centres, trade fairs and museums across the world, from Japan to Australia to the USA and France.
This examination of Bellini’s work also has the task of once again putting the subversive but redeeming role of “beauty” back at the heart of the debate, together with the inherent ability of Italian culture to be its ambassador abroad.
The exhibition is introduced by an entrance Portal/Bookcase – which provides a visual overview – and winds its way through a Gallery, which connects four Rooms and a central Room.
Over 300 images hang from the ceiling,setting the rhythm for a journey without words through the architect’s thoughts, approaches, methods and poetic vision.
In the Gallery, there are furnishings, objects and machines arranged by product type.
In the five rooms, architecture and exhibition displays, which naturally cannot be transported, are illustrated by means of sketches, drawings, models and giant projections. This is the only way of transporting the visitor, almost in audio and visual real time, into buildings dotted around the world.
One of the two passageways between the wings of the Gallery contains the Kar-a-sutra, a concept car designed upon the invitation of MoMA in 1972,while the other has a Wunderkammer made by Zetalab with a hundred photographs of objects dear to Mario Bellini.
The last section of the Gallery is Next, which announces the main projects currently underway: an abrupt reversal of the Retrospective into a Prospective exhibition.