This week I went to:
5 photographers interpret 5 products by Vico Magistretti
30/03/2017 – 22/02/2018
Foundation studio museum Vico Magistretti
via Vincenzo Bellini 1 20122 Milan
If you want to explore the exhibitionFuori Catalogo, you have enter a building in via Bellini that was designed by Pier Giulio Magistretti, Vico’s father – and there’s a building by Vico himself nearby and one by his great-grandfather on the other side of the street.
The inner part of the building that now houses the foundation, archive and museum was Vico Magistretti’s studio from 1946 to 2006, a space he shared with the surveyor Franco Montella, colleague and life-long friend. The first in the series of annual exhibitions on Vico Magistretti was launched in 2011, a year after the foundation was opened. The exhibitions consider, in turn, Vico’s contribution as an architect and as a designer. This year, Fuori Catalogo is an unusual type of exhibition: a silent one.
Five objects designed by Vico and manufactured by Artemide, Oluce, Alias, Rosenthal-Linie and Cassina are on display in Montella’s old studio, the only room that has been remodelled – in fact, if you visit Vico’s studio you’ll find his sketches and notes still hanging on the walls.
Now discontinued, Selene,Ekon, Bath / Broomstick, Pan and Edison are, all the same, five striking examples of the long-standing partnership that existed between Vico Magistretti and many top brands. Every object is animated, as it were, by a different spirit, because every project was designed by different hands (or minds) which worked on it simultaneously: Vico’s hands, of course, as well as the hands of every firm who worked alongside him.
This is why it’s impossible to identify one version of Vico Magistretti’s style: in fact, as Vico himself acknowledged, he was never concerned with this. In order to be manufactured, every product has to comply with two main criteria, that of being concrete and having a practical purpose.
According to Vico Magistretti, a well designed object has to last 100-150 years, otherwise it’s just a fad. This was not true in the case of the five pieces on display at Fuori Catalogo, but thanks to the analysis of five young photographers from ECAL in Lausanne (Magistretti himself trained in Lausanne), we can discover the soul of each object - just by looking at it in a different light.
Visitors are also encouraged to see for themselves, to go up to Edison and move around Selene, to study the surface details on the object itself and discover new ones, by looking at it in the different perspectives and according to the manipulated visuals of the photographs mounted on the walls.
In this silent exhibition, where objects and photographs face each other, the guided tour is a must: there are stories to be told (and exceedingly well) which add new depth, not just to the objects but also to Vico Magistretti’s way of thinking and character.
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