Alessandro Mendini (1931-2019)

“I like irony, I like to play a game, I like to stay far away from rhetoric: that’s the reason why I let the objects I design express all these ideas, turning them into a sort of toy you can use even though you’ve grown up.” Alessandro Mendini, Italian designer and architect

Alessandro Mendini
Alessandro Mendini

Image source: Atelier Mendini

About his life

Alessandro Mendiniwas born in Milan in1931. Anarchitect,designer,journalist, andpublisher, Mendini has helped establish, via his numerous works in equally numerous fields, the Italian design sensibility on an international scale—with a particular focus onneo-modern,avant-garde sensibilities, as well as creating a cross-over betweenart,designandarchitecture.

Alessandro Mendini with Amuleto Lamp for Ramun
Alessandro Mendini with Amuleto Lamp for Ramun

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Mendini’s work encompasses, among others, the fields ofgraphics,furniture,interiors,architecture,stage design,writing, andpainting; he acted as the publisher of the popular magazinesCasabella(1970-76),Modo,andDomus(each1979-85) as well. In1979, he joinedEttore SottsassandMichele De Lucchias a partner atStudio Alchimiabefore he cofoundedDomus Academyin1982.

Proust Armchair
Proust Armchair

Image source: de Vries,

What are the main features of Mendini’s style?

Alessandro Mendini’s work can be safely categorized as contemporary, in small part due to its use ofbright colorsandnon-traditional shapes, meant as an exploration of how one discipline can be affected by another.

Miniature of Alessandro Mendini’s “Proust” armchair

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Much of Mendini’s artistic approach is aimed at injectingnew meaningornew perspectiveinto everyday objects, such as furniture or homewares, a method that the Italian artist refers to as “re-design”, which was a notable departure from classic Italian styles at the time; due to this, Mendini is often credited with helping reform the Italian art, design and architecture movements in the1980s.

Mendini designs for Alessi
Alessandro Mendini for Alessi, 2003

Images source:,_cavatappi_alessandro_m._e_anna_g.,_2003.jpg

Exposition “Mondo Mendini” Groninger Museum

Images source: de Vries,

Alessandro Mendini for Zabro-Zanotta,1984. Chair and table.
Alessandro Mendini for Zabro-Zanotta,1984. Chair and table- Triennale Design Museum

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Selected works and projects

  • Triennale di Milano – Branch in Incheon (Korea), 2009
  • Byblos Art Hotel-Villa Amistà, Verona (Italy), 2005
  • Swimming and sports centre, Trieste (Italy), 2004
  • Galleria Mendini, Lörrach (Germany), 2004
  • Dinosaur – Dinosaur Museum, Katsuyama (Japan), 2000
  • Naples metro system – Santa Rosa/Materdei/Università stations, Naples (Italy), 2000-2009
  • Town Hall – redevelopment of the grounds, Naples (Italy), 1999
  • Luxo – Stardust, 1998
  • Fondazione Maghetti – redevelopment of a district in Lugano (Switzerland), 1998
  • Complex in Via della Bicchieraia, Arezzo (Italy), 1997
  • Alessi – Anna G collection, 1994-2004
  • Alessi offices, Omegna (Italy), 1993
  • 公共汽车站汉诺威- Steintor停止,汉诺威(德语y), 1992
  • Swatch (Spiritello, Cosmesis, Metroscape, Lots of Dots, Olimpico), 1990-1994
  • Paradise Tower, Hiroshima (Japan), 1988
  • Groninger Museum, Groninger (The Netherlands), 1988-1994
  • Clock Tower, Gibellina (Italy), 1987
  • Banal Object, Biennale di Venezia, 1980
  • Proust armchair, 1978
  • Kandissi sofa, 1978
Groninger Museum
Groninger Museum, Groninger (The Netherlands), 1988-1994-by Alessandro Mendini

Image source: Kempe

Naples Metro System
Naples Metro System – Santa Rosa/Materdei/Università stations, Naples (Italy), 2000-2009

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