Milan, 1931- 2019
Developing a personal and distinctive path that embraces design, architecture and art for over forty years, Alessandro Mendini is one of the major designers and critics on the international scene. His activity ranges from the creation of objects, furniture, environments, paintings, installations and architecture, as well as including a remarkable theoretical body of work, both with the famous Studio Alchimia and with his brother Francesco, a fellow architect with whom he founded Atelier Mendini in 1989.
The definition of some theoretical concepts on historical phenomena and movements of design, including “postmodern design” and “re-design”, are linked to the name of Mendini, whose contribution since the 1970s has been decisive for their expression and critical analysis.
He was the former director of Casabella (1970-1976) and Domus (1980-1985 and 2010-2011), and founder of the magazines Modo (1977) and Ollo (1988).
In addition to aspects related to architecture, he also has designed collections of furniture and objects, including the famous Proust Armchair (1978), as well as installations and redesigns, reflecting a multifaceted activity, and a wide-ranging and transversal design approach with respect to the individual disciplines.
Mendini has received many awards, as the Compasso d’oro for design (1979 , 1981, 2014) and the title of “Chevalier des arts et des lettres” in France. He has also received the honour of the Architectural League of New York, few honorary degrees at the Politecnico of Milan, in Paris, in Wroclaw (Polonia) and Seoul (Corea).
At the Milan Triennale in 2003, Atelier Mendini (with Francesco Mendini) received the Gold Medal for Italian Architecture for the Naples Metro project, and in 2006 the Prix Villegiature award in Paris for the Byblos Art Hotel in Verona.
Mendini has collaborated on collections of household goods, objects and furniture with renowned international brands such as Alessi, Bisazza, Cartier, Hermès, Philips, Swatch and Venini.
His most famous works and projects include the Milan Triennale (2009); the Incheon headquarters, South Korea (2009); Byblos Art Hotel – Villa Amistà, Verona (2005); Natatorium and Sports Center, Trieste (2004); Mendini Gallery, Lörrach, Germany (2004); Dinosaur Museum, Katsuyama, Japan (2000); Naples Metro – Santa Rosa, Materdei and Università stations (2000-2009); Villa Comunale, redevelopment of the park, Naples (1999); Luxo – Stardust (1998); Maghetti Foundation, district redevelopment, Lugano (1998); Via della Bicchieraia complex, Arezzo (1997); Alessi – Anna G. Collection (1994-2004); Alessi offices, Omegna (1993); Steintor Bus Stop, Hannover (1992); Swatch: Spiritello, Cosmesis, Metroscape, Lots of Dots, Olympico (1990-1994); Torre Paradiso, Hiroshima (1988); Groninger Museum, Groningen (1988-1994); Torre dell’Orologio, Gibellina (1987); Banal Object, Venice Biennale (1980); Proust Armchair (1978); Kandissi Sofa (1978).
Alessandro Mendini’s art and design work has been exhibited in galleries and museums in Italy and abroad. His solo exhibitions have been held at: Kunstmuseum Ahlen and Kunstmuseum Lindau, Germany (1997); La Fabbrica del Lunedì, Naples (1995); Artiscope, Brussels (1993); Galerie Kaess-Weiss, Stuttgart (1989). Numbered among recent group exhibitions, installations and interiors are PoliArte. The Art of Arts, Galleria Enrico Astuni, Bologna (2019); Monster Cabaret, Lasvit, Milan (2018); Between All Chairs, Ammann Gallery, Cologne (2016); Spot On: With a Little Help from My Friends. 50 Years of the Friends of Museum Kunstpalast, Museum Kunstpalast, Düsseldorf (2015); Collection #1, curated by Studio Job, Chamber, New York (2014); I Mendini, architetti tessitori, curated by Elvilino Zangrandi, Villa Valle Civic Gallery, Valdagno (2011); Italy Made in Art: Now. Contemporary Arts and Industrial Design, curated by Achille Bonito Oliva, Museum of Contemporary Art, Shanghai (2006); Alessandro Mendini, a Pioneer of Postmodern Design in Italy, Academy of Fine Arts, Guangzhou (2004); Fragilisme (with Francesco Mendini, B. Felis, S. Giuli, D. Koziara, C. Mendini, A. Mocika), Fondation Cartier pour l’Art Contemporain, Paris.
Alessandro Mendini has exposed several times at the Venice Biennale: Atelier Mendini, Architecture section (1995); Swatchanschauung (1993); Monumentino Swatch (1991); Casa = Famiglia? (1982); Architettura nei paesi islamici. Studi urbani in territorio islamico, with Alchimia (1982); L’oggetto banale, with Alchimia, P. Navone, D. Puppa e F. Raggi, Architecture section (1980); La sala del secolo (1978).