The first major exhibition dedicated to the design of Aldo Rossi, at Museo del Novecento in Milan

aldo rossi design

Museo del Novecento in Milan presents the first major exhibition dedicated to the design of Aldo Rossi until 2 October 2022. The Pritzker Prize-winning architect, who died prematurely in 1997, has perhaps always been celebrated more for his architecture than for his design projects, in spite of his first-rate and vast production. Throughout his career as a designer Aldo Rossi tried his hand at coffee makers, clocks, porcelain, lighting, carpets, as well as various pieces of furniture. Therefore, the exhibition curated by Chiara Spangaro, whose layout has been designed by Morris Adjmi – MA Architects, is an opportunity to see over 350 pieces of furniture and objects, drawings, prototypes, models and paintings, testifying to Aldo Rossi’s work as a designer, architect and architectural theorist.

aldo rossi
In the first room, Armadio Fiorentino with checkered doors and, on the right, Cabina dell’Elba, both produced by Bruno Longoni Atelier

To design the products realized with different companies, Aldo Rossi experimented with different materials, ranging from industrial production to fine craftsmanship. The companies he worked with represent the excellence of Made in Italy production; they have always experimented with enthusiasm and the results are some products that have gone down in history and are still in production today, even after 40 years.

Discover Intertwingled, the exhibition dedicated to carpet design at the Galleria Nazionale in Rome

aldo rossi design
Coffee makers and teapots

Aldo Rossi’s rooms

The exhibition consists of nine rooms where design products dialogue with drawings, paintings, graphic works, and architectural models, to illustrate the close relationship between design and architecture in Aldo Rossi’s work. Between the end of the 1970s and 1997, Aldo Rossi designed more than 70 pieces of furniture and objects, many of which are still produced. His production ranged from Alessi coffee makers, a milestone in 1980s design, to the bookcases, chests of drawers, chairs and desks for Molteni & C. and Unifor, up to designer furniture for Bruno Longoni Atelier, including the famous Cabina dell’Elba, from 1982.

Some chairs and, in the background, the Carteggio chest of drawers by Molteni & C.

The exhibition Aldo Rossi. Design 1960-1997 highlights the very close relationship between object and architecture, evident in the nucleus dedicated to furniture designed by Rossi for some of his buildings, exhibited in the eighth room, including the seats for the Carlo Felice Theatre in Genoa (Molteni & C/UniFor, 1990) and the Museo chair built for the Bonnefanten Museum in Maastricht (UniFor, 1994) – examples of what would later be known as contract furniture; the seventh room illustrates very effectively other sources of inspiration. In the reconstructed domestic interior, there are pieces of furniture he designed as well as anonymous pieces that he collected, including a 19th-century sideboard and American coffee makers.

The room with carpets by Aldo Rossi

Another great merit of this exhibition is that it has brought Aldo Rossi’s design works together for the first time, thanks to the collaboration of museums and company archives (Museo Alessi; Molteni Museum; Bruno Longoni Atelier d’arredamento and Up Group archives); Italian and international museum collections (Bonnefanten Museum, Maastricht; Georges Pompidou Centre, Paris; Fondazione Museo Archivio Richard-Ginori della Manifattura di Doccia, Florence; MAXXI – Museum of XXI century arts, Rome; Università Iuav university in Venice; Milan Triennale) and various private collections. The photographs are by Francesco Carlini, courtesy of Museo del Novecento.

29 April – 2 October 2022
Aldo Rossi. Design 1960-1997
Museo del Novecento, Milan

Aldo Rossi’s domestic interiors