MuDeFri, Museo del Design del Friuli Venezia Giulia, makes a ‘census’ of female designers from the region

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Portrait of Gae Aulenti, born in 1927 in Friuli. She took part in the Italian resistance movement after high school and in 1953 graduated in Architecture from Politecnico di Milano. She loved teaching, journalism and interior design

We should start from the past to draft a complete list, from figures such as Gae Aulenti, Monica Graffeo, Neera Gatti or Trudi Mueller Patriarca, to understand the role of these extraordinary women on the Italian design scene. This is exactly what MuDeFri – Museo del Design del Friuli Venezia Giulia is doing, with its research into female designers.

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Ruspa lamp designed in 1968 by Gae Aulenti for Martinelli

This project started at Triennale di Milano in 2016 with the exhibition “Women in Italian Design”, showcasing works by Cristina Celestino, Paola Paronetto, Anna Aurora Lombardi, and now MuDeFri, Museo del Design del Friuli Venezia Giulia, wants to continue and enhance it.

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Lella Vignelli, born into arts in the Valle family from Udine, a charismatic figure in interior and graphic design, as well as wife to Massimo Vignelli, internationally renowned graphic designer

Friuli and female designers

55 female designers were born in Friuli Venezia Giulia, as to the current results. Among them, the pioneer from Gorizia, Elvira Luisa Morassi (b. 1903) stands out. After graduating in architecture in Milan, she worked with Gio Ponti in 1923 and, after a short stay in Paris, came back to Gorizia to work as in architecture and design.

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Senza Fine, silver jewelry collection designed by Lella Vignelli for San Lorenzo

Neera Gatti was born in Trieste in 1906. After attending Accademia di Belle Arti di Venezia, in 1948, she established her own company Gatti Neera Ceramiche including a workshop/school.

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Monica Graffeo was born in Pordenone in 1973 and has collaborated with brands such as Rexa, Valcucine, Lago

All these women are nonconformist, competitive, versatile, open-minded, creative, passionate inventors. [Text Isabelle Fournier]

Opening picture, Cristina Celestino, successful Friuli-born designer

Discover other designers from Friuli Venezia Giulia here