For its 25th anniversary, the Groninger Museum dedicates an exhibition to its designer, Alessandro Mendini. The exhibition was curated by Mendini himself, who worked on it before he passed away last February. This is an opportunity to deepen the knowledge of the Italian Master and to visit one of the most interesting works of contemporary architecture.

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The Groninger Museum (Photo Ralph Richter)

Mondo Mendini – The World of Alessandro Mendini obviously hosts his works, although a large section is also dedicated to works by designers and artists whose affinities he felt, and who inspired his work. A journey into the visual arts, design and architecture through a selection of about 200 objects.

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Anna G, corkscrew by Alessandro Mendini for Alessi, 1994.

One of the works on display is a Poltrona di Proust (Proust Armchair), here in a 3-metre-high version, directly from the Fondation Cartier. Again, among the most famous projects, the Anna G. corkscrew, designed in 1994 for Alessi, inspired by the designer Anna Gili. The exhibition presents Mendini’s activity in every field, from jewellery to architecture, from household objects to sculptures.

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The Poltrona di Proust (Proust’s armchair), photo Marten de Leeuw

The exhibition features also works by artists and designers of the past, chosen from those who have most inspired his work. These include works by Paul Signac, Wassily Kandinsky, Henri Matisse and Oskar Schlemmer, architecture by Theo van Doesburg and Gerrit Rietveld, objects by Italian designers such as Gio Ponti, Michele De Lucchi and Gaetano Pesce, and paintings by American artist Peter Halley.

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The Groninger Museum staircase, photo Peter Tahl.

The Groninger Museum is one of Alessandro Mendini‘s best-known architectures. The new buildings housing it were designed between 1987 and 1994 and opened in 1894. Alessandro Mendini, in charge of the project, involved Philippe Starck, Michele De Lucchi and the Austrian firm Coop Himmelb(l)au in the design team.

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The Groninger Museum (Photo Erik and Petra Hesmerg)

The project for the history and archaeology pavilion is by Michele De Lucchi (with Ferruccio Laviani and Geert Koster) and is inspired by the ancient walls of the fortifications which originally stood on the site. Philippe Starck, together with Dutch architect Albert Geertjes, designed the pavilion for applied arts. The museum complex also includes the Mendini Pavilion, and the pavilion by Austrian architects’ Coop Himmelb(l)au.

In 2010, some areas of the project have been revamped by international designers. An Info Center, designed by Jaime Hayon, was located at the entrance. Overlooking the Info Center, the Job Lounge, by Antwerp-based duo Studio Job – which has several works on display in the museum. Dutch designer Maarten Baas, on the other hand, completely redesigned the Mendini Restaurant, with some furnishings designed specifically for the restaurant, based on his Clay collection.

Mondo Mendini – The World of Alessandro Mendini, Groninger Museum, October 12, 2019 to May 5, 2020.

(Alessandro Mendini portrait is by Carlo Lavatori)

Info: Groninger Museum