Tom Dixon, kicked off Milan Design Week 2012 with a huge bang when he transformed the “Leonardo da Vinci” Museo Nazionale della Scienza e della Tecnologia, in the center of Milan, into a new ” Epi-Centre” of the Salone.
With its twenty-eight sections, from information technology to engines to astronomy, some 40,000 square metres of displays, and a massive 15,000 pieces in its collection, the “Leonardo da Vinci” Museum is one of the most important technical and scientific museums in the world.
Originally a 16th-century monastery, the buildings have had various incarnations – military hospital (Napoleon), barracks (Italian army) and rubble (World War II Allied bombs).
It provided a rich backdrop to the work on display, with its historic cloisters now festooned with outstanding design by a range of designers and brands
Tom Dixon set up the Museum as a major hub for the freshest ideas in communication, food, culture, design and the digital industrial revolution. This collision of technology, culture and design was one of Milan’s highlights during Salone 2012.
MOST, as it was called, sought to rediscover and shed light into one of the most surprising exhibition spaces in the city, both to design week tourists and city residents
MOST inspired visitors to consider the “Process” as much as the product, and how our designs impact and improve our world.
MOST was a focus for a group of innovative and groundbreaking designers, curators and companies who shared the same global brand attributes in the fields of technology, art, design, fashion, materials, transport, publishing and new media.
With a plethora of brand installations scattered amongst the Museum’s permanent exhibits, visitors moved past World War 2 fighter jets, a Hall full of stream trains & a cavernous space filled with a variety of full scale sea craft – a great Industrial design experience mesmerised the Salone visitors.
Like Tom Dixon himself – the location is “Industrial to the Core”.
Museo della Scienza e della Tecnologia
via Olona 6b
Entering through via Olona, the exhibit opened with Dixon Luminosity‘s runway of lights, followed by Eclectic, his first collection of household items; in the following room — filled with locomotives — Trumpf machines continuously manufactured metal lamps and chairs from Dixon’s Stamp collection.
On the first floor’s striking Sala del Cenacolo, decorated with 17th century frescoes and stucco, Dixon’s chairs surrounded long tables upon which one could dine upon reservation.
Downstairs, around the cloisters, the pop-up restaurant Spring Table by chef Stevie Parle served lunch and snacks.
Most is a collective exhibition whose goal was to transform the Museum’s scientific environment into what resembles a Design Research Center.
The juxtaposition of historical transportation exhibition with contemporary design, stood almost as a reminder for today’s designers of what actually good design should be like, offering a perfect situation for sharp confrontation and critique.
“MOST came from my love of museums and the dissatisfaction with the types of spaces that we were being offered,” says Dixon. “I felt it was time to take matters into my own hands.”
Tom Dixon used to visit the Museum of Science and Technology every year, in secret, to escape the bustle and that amount of aggressiveness with which design comes along during the Salone del Mobile week.
He found the Museum to be beautiful, not only for its wonderful location, but also for what it enshrines: stories of men and technologies, of science and of big adventures.
“In a fit of spontaneous madness we decided that the world’s most important meeting place for global design obsessives needed a new epicentre, a space for quiet contemplation or chaotic energy – a platform for the exchange of big ideas. We have created a place where we can demonstrate the new democratisation and hyperactive innovation of technology in art, food, fashion, manufacturing and communication.” said Tom Dixon.
In a creative partnership with Ambra Medda and Martina Mondadori, Tom Dixon partnered with a diverse group of leading global brands and young designers which will be located in the extraordinary historic spaces of the museum.
The MOST exhibitors and particiapnts were – Areaware, Blu Dot, Boca do Lobo, Carpigiani Gelato University, CAST 001 by Sally Mackereth, Dassault Systèmes, David Weeks Studio, DesignersBlock, Dezeen Studio Powered by Jambox, Eclectic by Tom Dixon, Fabrica for Italian Chair Design, Flux, Graypants, Interlübke, Jawbone, La Chance, LEFF Amsterdam, Lorenz, MG Lab, Molo, Objekten, Portugal Brands, Quinze & Milan, Resident, SCP, SodaStream, Stefanel, Studio Toogood, Tamawa, Tokyo Bike UK, Tom Dixon, To-design in the World, Transnatural, Trumpf and Turni.
Amidst the ships, planes and locomotives, in the silence of the cloister, the new design Epi-Centre settled down to business quickly
About the “Leonardo da Vinci” National Museum of Science and Tecnology, Milan
With its twenty-eight sections, from information technology to engines to astronomy, some 40,000 square metres of displays, and a massive 15,000 pieces in its collection, the “Leonardo da Vinci” National Museum of Science and Technology in Milan is one of the most important technical and scientific museums in the world.
The Museum was founded in 1947 by the engineer Guido Ucelli di Nemi and inaugurated in 1953 and is now the largest of its kind in Italy.
It is made up of three separate buildings:
a) the Monumental Building, which is a former Olivetan monastery whose construction dates back to the early sixteenth century;
b) the Rail Transport Building, which reconstructs the environment of an art nouveau Railway Station, and the
c) Air & Sea Transport Building, which contains two of the Museum’s most sensational pieces: the sailing ship Ebe and the bridge of the transatlantic liner Conte Biancamano.
In addtition to this, the Museum offers a particular section which transports us back to a golden era in Italy’s artistic history: the Renaissance and its great men, among them Leonardo da Vinci, who perhaps knew best how to bring together and unite the concept of “art-science-technology”, a concept which over the centuries has become more and more divided and incoherent, with one culture prevailing over another.
A large gallery is dedicated to the genius of Leonardo the engineer and scientist, in which, as well as models of Leonardo’s machines, several frescoes from the fourteenth right up to the eighteenth centuries are displayed. Amongst these is a reproduction of “The Last Supper”, whilst the original can be found at the church of Santa Maria delle Grazie, only 200 metres from the Museum.
One of the most fascinating halls here displays modern models based on Da Vinci’s sketches, in the fields of military theory, ballistics and aeronautics – but this is just one section of a 10,000-item collection.
The museum’s biggest draw is the Enrico Toti, the first submarine constructed in Italy after World War II. It was launched on 12 March 1967 as an SSK (hunter-killer submarine), primarily as a deterrent against the nuclear-propelled torpedo-launchers of the Soviet Army.
It was discharged from service in 1999, and the following year the Italian Navy donated the vessel to the museum. After transport and extensive preparation, it opened to the public in December 2005.