“Posed Architectures” @ Salone Milan 2014

“Posed Architectures” @ Salone Milan 2014


“The modernist buildings of Vico Magistretti in Milan” , collects and exhibits for the first time published and unpublished materials of artisans and masters of photography ( Monticelli , Dance, Sinigaglia , Beltrami , Basil, Studio Four , Country Houses , Zwietasch , Pegoraro , Riolzo, Basil, Casali. ) that represents the works of architect Vico Magistretti in his home town of Milan

They have also been illustrated through photos stored in archives ( often donated by the photographers themselves ) as an act of homage and intellectual complicity between artists of various media.

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vico magistretti

Milan , as well as the capital of modern architecture and design, was in fact also heartland of publishing and photography in a process of mutual cooperation that has served to consolidate its image in the world of international city.

The photography of architecture in Milan wrote one of his most significant and exciting , providing his artistic supremacy time the most advanced tool of modern communication.

Educated posing in the set of its streets , its squares and its neighborhoods, the architecture of Vico Magistretti were portrayed in their own characters more , both for the quality of the integration planning for the extraordinary elegance and dryness of a fresh language and essential at the same time


“A tribute to Milan , then, as well as to Vico Magistretti – one of  Milan’s modernist ” Master Builders ” ………..Fulvio Irace


Magistretti Milan Buildings

Buildings are presented which mark the different souls of Milan

buildings listing

map magistretti


Via Conservatorio – offices and apartment 1966

Conservatorio Business-Centre-Milan 2

“This red building on Via Conservatorio, constructed in a terrible situation, practically with no facade, isn’t half bad” …… Vico Magistretti

Conservatorio-offices and apts 1966 3


The Famagosta Depot for the Milan Underground Railway Company (1989-2000)

the Famagosta Depot for the Milan Underground Railway Company (1989-2000) 5


the Famagosta Depot for the Milan Underground Railway Company (1989-2000) 1


Coros Piazzale Aquileia – apartment building 1965

corso piazzale aquileia 22

Casa_piazzale_Aquileia 2

“I fondly recall a building I did on Piazzale Aquileia, a tower, a small tower… which in my opinion is perhaps the most beautiful house I have made in Milan, perhaps…” Vico Magistretti


Torre al Parco (Tower in the park) in via Revere 2

Architetture_in_posa 7

Torre_al_Parco Tower in the park in via Revere 2, Milan

Torre_al_Parco Tower in the park in via Revere 2, Milan (2)


Department of Biology at Milan Statale University 1978-81

Department of Biology, Milan, 1978-81 1

Department of Biology at the State University 1978-81 ( Franco Soro )


via Leopardi  – aprtments 1958 – 1961

via leopardi 1958 - 1961



Quartiere San Felice 8 – greenfield site housing development




The Church of Santa Maria Rising  1947-55 ( Mario Tedeschi )

church 0



corso Europa – office building 1957

corso Europa office bldg 1957 drawing 0

corso Europa office bldg 1957


San Marco – via Solferino – mixed use building. 1970-73

san marco piazza

Prospetto San Marco apt bldg , 1970-73 2


Corso Porta Romana – apartment building 1967

corso_Porta_Romana apt bldg 1967 drawing

corso_Porta_Romana apt bldg 1967


Torri MBM Gallaratese 4 – apartment tower – 1960’s

Torri MBM Gallaratese 4

Torri MBM Gallaratese



Exhibition Video

francesca molteni 2

francesca molteni

A video prepared by Francesca Molteni, narrates six buildings by Magistretti through a flight over the city, offering a new, unusual perspective on the works of Magistretti’s and Milan’s architecture.


Milano, Magistretti & Me – 
Vico’s places – Collective Map of the city.

A map of Milan marking private and public buildings designed by Vico Magistretti (Milan, 1920-2006) is used as a bulletin board for the visitors’ posts.

milano magestretti and me


magistretti notes

The Foundation starts with Magistretti’s words to create a new project of participation.

The thoughts and opinions of Vico about Milan are shown on a map of the city, revealing the places he liked, the buildings he designed or those of other architects, his favorites and those he would have like to see demolished, his habitual paths through the city.

Visitors are encouraged to indicate their most beloved or detested places on the map, their everyday itineraries

A collective narrative of urban experiences, to share emotions, thoughts connected with places, the city and its services.

The project is also online: visitors can take pictures or shoot videos around Milan and share them on the Foundation’s Facebook page, using the hashtag #MilanoMagistrettiMe


Project Launch

exhibition 00


Paolo Ulian has displayed black & white pictures in a minimalist mood, and a video by Francesca Molteni shows the city as seen by drones.

Everything is small, and proudly so.

Rosanna Pavoni and Fulvio Irace at Fondazione studio museo Vico Magistretti.

Rosanna Pavoni and Fulvio Irace at Fondazione studio museo Vico Magistretti.



About Vico Magestretti

Ludovico Magistretti (Milan, 1920-2006)


Ludovico Magistretti was born in Milan on 6th October 1920.

He came from a family of generations of architects: his great-grandfather Gaetano Besia built the Reale Collegio delle Fanciulle Nobili in Milan; his father, Pier Giulio Magistretti, was involved in the design of the Arengario Palace

His father Piergiulio, was one of the protagonists of Milanese architecture during the Twenties and Thirties.

Arengario Palace

Arengario Palace

Palazzo Bolchini by P.G. Magistretti, 1927-30


“This is beautiful, it seems like a little square from 1850 in Busto Arsizio. My father did this building, I did the one next to it; there, in front, is the Collegio delle Fanciulle done by my great-great-grandfather at the time of Napoleon. He was Gaetano Besia, a good architect, and here, back then, there was open countryside”. …Vico Magistretti

Vico Magistretti attended the Parini High School in Milan (specialising in classical subjects)

He was a leading Italian architect, one of the most intelligent product designers ever.

In 1939 he enrolled in the Faculty of Architecture at the Royal Polytechnic in Milan.

Four years later he fled to Switzerland along with other intellectuals to avoid being deported to Germany.

Here he took some academic courses at the Champ Universitarie Italien in Lausanne.

During his stay in the Swiss city he met Ernesto Nathan Rogers, the founder of the BBPR firm who had taken refuge in Switzerland after racist laws were passed in Italy

This was a key encounter in Magistretti’s intellectual and professional development, since the architect from Trieste turned out to be his maestro

Back to Milan, in 1945 he graduated in architecture from the Polytechnic, and immediately began working with his father, the architect Piergiulio Magistretti, in via Conservatorio, during the years of reconstruction after World War II.

He began his career working with the architect Paolo Chessa at the firm owned and run by his father, Pier Giulio, who died prematurely that same year.

Here, in his father’s small firm, he spent his entire career in partnership with just one extraordinary character, the surveyor Franco Montella, working exclusively on creating the basic concept for projects within the firm and then delegating their technical development externally (engineers and technicians).

He designed and constructed about 14 projects for INA-Casa from 1949-1959 and, working with Mario Tedeschi, took part in the QT8 community project to construct houses for veterans returning from Africa and then later on the Church of Santa Maria Nascente.

In 1946 he participated in the R.I.M.A. exhibition (Italian Assembly for Furniture Exhibitions), held at the Palazzo dell’Arte, designing some small almost self-made pieces of furniture and then, in 1947 and 1948, he took part together with Castiglioni, Zanuso, Gardella, Albini and others in the exhibitions organised by Fede Cheti, a furniture fabric maker, held at her own workshop.

During the period of the Milan Triennials and blossoming design industry, his involvement in the 8th, 9th (1951 Gold Medal) and 10th (1954 Grand Prix) editions was particularly significant and he even went on to organise some exhibitions as part of more recent events staged by this Milanese institution (most notably during the 12th Triennial in 1960 in conjunction with Ignazio Gardella)

The 1950s were a very busy and fruitful period for the young architect, who came up with lots of innovative ideas and, very quickly, emerged as one of the most brilliant exponents of the “third generation”.

The young architect was involved in plenty of activities and came up with lots of new ideas and proposals in the 1950s, which, in a short space of time, saw him rise to the status of one of the most brilliant exponents of the “third generation”, partly thanks to the construction of two key buildings in Milan: the Tower in Park in via Revere (1953-56, in conjunction with Franco Longoni) and the office block in corso Europa (1955-1957).

Over the following years he also designed a number of other important projects, including the Towers in piazzale Aquileia (1961-64), Bassetti House in Azzate (1959-62), Cassina House in Carimate (1964-65), and the house in via Conservatorio in Milan (1963-66).

In 1956 he was one of the founding members of the ADI, Industrial Design Association, and during the same year he was a member of the panel of judges for the Golden Compass Award for the first time. In 1969 he was again one of the judges for the ADI award.

In 1959 he took part in the jury for the Compasso d’Oro award together with Giulio Minoletti.


His work as an architect was almost totally focused on the issue of housing and living from the 1960s onwards, as he developed his own extremely expressive idiom, which, even though it was heavily criticised at times, made a real impression on the architectural scene in Lombardy during that period, making him one of its leading figures.

This is the context in which he took part in the CIAM Congress (International Modern Architecture Congress) held in Otterlo in the Netherlands in 1959, during which the Italians presented Velasca Tower designed by the BBPR, the Olivetti canteen designed by Ignazio Gardella, Arosio house designed by Vico Magistretti (1956-59), and the houses in Matera designed by Giancarlo De Carlo.

These works caused a real scandal and were, in some respects, emblematic of the deep crisis which struck the CIAM over those years, until then the undisputed protagonist of architectural debate, so much so that the 1959 Congress turned out to be the last.

Magistretti’s project for a small house in Arenzano allowed him to discover his own language and own image.

Magistretti was one of the founding fathers of so-called Italian Design, a phenomenon which he himself described as “miraculous” and which only happened thanks to the coming together of two key players: architects and manufacturers.

Over the next few years he began working a lot more as a designer as well as an architect, creating furniture and objects which will always be “classics” of modern-day production.

He began working with some exceptional manufacturers from the end of the 1960s, including Artemide, Cassina and Oluce, designing objects for them which are still “classics” of modern-day production.

vico products

The first product designed by Magistretti dates back to 1960 – the Carimate chair, designed to decorate the golf club he designed in the same year and actually brought into production by Cassina – but he then went on over subsequent years to design numerous other objects for the same company, notably including the Maralunga sofa (1973, Golden Compass award in 1979), Sindbad sofa (1981) and Veranda armchair (1983).

He also designed a set of lamps for Artemide, including Mania (1963), Dalù (1965), Chimera (1966), the extremely famous Eclisse (1967, Golden Compass award 1967), Teti (1970) and Impiccato (1970).

After the Demetrio coffee tables (1966), other pieces of furniture designed by Magistretti include Selene chair (1966), which, with the Panton Chair and Joe Colombo’s Universale, vied to become the world’s first plastic chair.

For many years Magistretti was also the art director and main designer for Oluce, giving the company’s production range its own unmistakable style. His masterpieces, icons recognised all over the world, include the following lamps: Snow (1974), Sonora (1976), most notably Atollo (1977, Golden Compass Award 1979), Pascal (1979) and Kuta (1980).

Over subsequent years he completed lots of other highly significant architectural projects, including the towers in piazzale Aquileia (1961-64)

This was also the period when he built Cusano Milanino Town Hall (1966-69), the Milano San Felice neighbourhood in Segrate (1966-69, in partnership with Luigi Caccia Dominioni), and the house in Piazza San Marco (1969-71)

This was the period of the Cusano Milanino Town Hall (1966-1969) Milano-San Felice neighbourhood (1966-69, working with Luigi Caccia Dominioni), the house in piazza San Marco (1970-73);

He was awarded a Golden Compass for the Eclisse lamp (1966), Atollo lamp (1977, prize awarded in1979) and Maralunga sofa (1973, prize awarded in 1979).

vico eclipse

Magistretti’s teaching career began back in the late 1970s at the Royal College of Art in London as a visiting professor, where he was also made an honorary member in 1983.

“Today’s real great enemy is vulgarity. I love Anglo-Saxon culture because it is free from it”. Vico Magistretti’s love of Great Britain was reciprocated and in 1986 he received a prestigious British prize: the gold medal awarded by SIAD, Society of Industrial Artists and Designers.

It was indeed here at the Royal College of Art that the minimalist school first took shape, whose most refined exponents, Morrison and Grcic, were not just Magistretti’s own students, they also acknowledged him as being an absolute benchmark for developing what may be considered as one of the most interesting contemporary movements in the field of design.

At the same time as he was teaching abroad, he continued working as an architect in Italy.

His architectural works from that period include the headquarters of the Biology Department in Milan (1978-81, in partnership with Franco Soro), Tanimoto house in Tokyo (1985-86), and the Cavagnari Centre of the Cassa di Risparmio in Parma (1983-85).

He also created lots of interiors, whose designs were free from any pretentions in terms of decoration and merely confined to creating structures suitable for their inhabitants, capable of withstanding the “natural insults of life.

vico magistretti

Because anybody living in a house I designed has their own culture, background and taste”, so Magistretti claimed as, once again, he proclaimed his adherence to the Modern Movement and distanced himself from any decorative intentions and hence Postmodernism.

At the end of the 1980s he also began a partnership with a leading publisher: Maddalena De Padova, who was awarded the Gold Medal for lifetime achievement at the 20th edition of the prize.

The panel of judges referred to: “Maddalena De Padova’s great commitment to producing and spreading design as a common culture interacting in various international realms, unique in Italy for the way she has maintained certain standards in terms of consistency and quality”.

After giving up the ICF trademark in the late 1970s including the licence to manufacture Herman Miller products, Maddalena created a range of furniture and objects bearing the De Padova trademark, later named “è De Padova”, whose business partners included such great designers as Achille Castiglioni and Dieter Rams, but above all Vico Magistretti.

silver chair depadova


The “è De Padova” collection designed by Magistretti includes such classics as: the Marocca chair (1987), Vidun table (1987), Silver chair (1988), Uragano wicker chair (1992), Incisa swivel chair (1992), and the more recent Blossom table (2002).

Vico Magistretti for depadova

Whereas the architecture he designed in the 1990s was confined to just the Milanese Underground Railway depot in Famagosta (1989-2002) and Esselunga supermarket in Pantigliate (1997-2001, lots of the architect’s design objects were brought into production.

Vico Magistretti’s work in this field became increasingly diverse in relation to the different companies with which he set up business partnerships, designing more than just one object for them.

Many of his pieces are renowned icons of design, included in the collection of the greatest museums eg MoMA’s permanent collection in New York and in lots of other museums in America and Europe


Magistretti was the last one to embody the figure of a humanist and polythecnic architect; a complete figure, in opposition to the excessive specialization of today.

He was an intellectual designer.

His objects originate from ideas, not from the form.

He developed sober and elegant projects, thought for a human dimension: they are conceived to be useful to anyone, in everyday life, perpetuating the idea of social design for everyone.

He won one Gold Medal, two Grand Prix and four Compasso d’Oro (one for the lifetime achievement) by the Triennale di Milano, two G-Marks, two Red Dot Awards, and many others.

He was appointed Honorary Professor by the London Royal College of Arts, 1990, Honorary Royal Designer for Industry by the Royal Society of Arts, 1992.

In 2002 he was awarded an honorary degree in industrial design by the Politecnico di Milano.

After he passed away in September 2006, his studio, where the Vico Magistretti Foundation is located, was converted into a museum devoted to the study of his work and to promoting it.


vico at home


invitation 2




About Foundation Vico Magistretti

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Following Magistretti’s death in September 2006, his office and home of the Fondazione Vico Magistretti was converted to a museum dedicated to the study and propagation of his work.

Since it was founded in 2010, the museum Vico Magistretti Foundation study identified teacher in the archives of a strategic plan for the provision of international heritage whose value is based, paradoxically, on a feeling deeply connected to the moods and history of his city, Milan.

For some time now an archive is not only the material legacy of documents, a concentration camp in memory : no longer just a place of storage, aspires to speak with them.

Offers subject to constant reinterpretation and revitalization of the questions that arise from his presence and his attendance is therefore called upon to “show off ” in public to reveal their “cards” rethinking the traditional protocols of cataloging.

Conservation is a premise and an obligation, but not the only goal: remembering their own materials , in fact, the store wants to become ” animated “, opening up new spaces for reflection and action on this .

This increases its heritage, enriched by new experiences , places it at the center of collective action that keeps him alive with the addition of new branches on an old tree trunk .

That is why the birth certificate of the Foundation coincided with the first program of digitization of the archive by Vico Magistretti and simultaneously with the construction of a series of exhibitions with which to interact this with the permanence of the past.

After Words illustrated ( which placed in the center of the architect ‘s reflections on his own work ) , projects to the phone (2011) investigated the relationship between idea and realization through an unpublished short circuit between the drawings of the archive.

In 2012, then , think with your hands has brought to light the ” model ” study carried out at home during the processing of objects which are then entered into production , enriching the history of Italian design.

If My Magistretti (2012 ) wanted to expand the archive to the stresses of the community of those who use the objects architect and designer , creating a vital experiment archive of open source , this year’s exhibition Architectures posing proposes a ‘ foray into the workshop of the architect , offering a selection of artistic photographs that accompanied the construction of his works in Milan and their critical success in the communication of books and magazines.

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