The exhibition featured a wide range of contemporary design works by international artists, tucked into the home’s existing Renaissance-era furnishings.
The exhibition was an incredible and emotional path between glorious past and contemporary design. The language of contemporary artists and designers involved is inserted gently into historical context.
The concept for the exhibition – is the idea that traditional knowledge and new techniques are not in conflict, but rather determine novelty and progress.
A unique opportunity to see not only the works of many contemporary artists doc but also one of the finest historic houses in Milan. And to understand that , to furnish a good home , we must first of all love objects and their history.
Design pieces from the collection, she selected and in some cases commissioned for the occasion, were placed in the rooms of the house – museum , like visitors from another world.
Displaying contemporary pieces in the historic 19th-century house allowed Orlandi to “show how modern pieces are perfect and can have a fabulous dialogue with an old palace,” she says.
Orlandi, who was once a fashion designer and loathes the “trendsetter” label often tacked onto her globally-recognized name, is now famous for championing the careers of designers on the rise.
“When I find a designer, first of all I want to be sure that this designer — he will grow up,” she explains.
In addition to creating several chairs and massive chandeliers shown in the dining room, designer Jacopo Foggini concocted a large installation especially for Vionnet.
With its blue-violet tinted methacrylate polychrome bases — one hanging from the ceiling and one placed on the floor, each composed of multiple fine stems — the artwork was intended as a reference to Vionnet’s famous pleating in fashion and their signature colour.
Foggini……. “My wish is to make objects that are a bit timeless, that can work both in a historic abode such as this and in a very modern home”
The main piece of the exhibition is a light installation created by Jacopo Foggini.
Jacopo Foggini presented his striking methacrylate Brilli chandeliers
Jacopo Foggini’s translucent gold ‘Gina’ chairs for Edra,
The study leads to the English Jamesplumb Bagatti Valsecchi Museum Cupboards step , an old medieval oak staircase topped by a Georgian cabinet.
Monica & Marcus Temonto
For the exhibition , Baas showed two clocks = Grand Father and Grand Mother Clocks
Korean designer Wonmin Park’s subtly coloured “HAZE” resin furniture shone out from amongst suits of armour in the dramatic medieval weaponry gallery
The Korean designer contributed four pieces to the exhibition, reworking colours in designs originally shown at the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Seoul last year.
Park’s ‘Miami’ library bookshelf is the first piece you see at the top of the entrance stairs.
Cumulus represents the thoughts that materialize and emerge from the desk when you sit down to work. It is the work of Nacho Carbonell the Spanish designer, one of the leading artists represented by Rossana Orlandi
Enrico Marone Cinzano
Marcel Wanders “Delft Blue Tattooed Hands” were hauntingly accompanied by his film Fragile Fingers on a Grand Piano
They are evidence of a tattoo Marcel Wanders designed for a friend as seen in the video playing the piano.
The collection designed by Formafantasma for the legendary Viennese company J&L Lobmeyr presents a captivating attention to detail in its making and an experimental approach that adapts well to tradition.
Studio Formasfantasma created a beautifully delicate tableware concept in crystal, copper and charcoal based on the principles of purifying water
Conceived for serving at its best the most essential of drinks, tap water, “Still” is a range of engraved crystal that, combined with copper and active carbon, filters and improves the taste of tap water.
The pieces are the continuation of the research into the purification of water begun by the designers in 2012 with “Charcoal”.
The skilled craftsmanship of the pieces and the proportions of the copper filters invite the user to handle them with care, transforming these everyday gestures into a ritual of water purification.
The crystal has been engraved with two different motifs: the first is the reproduction of a microscopic bacteria that lives in rivers, the other is the representation of organisms that live in the oceans and have a skeleton made from silicon, the principal component of glass.
A copper ladle, inspired by pieces by Oswald Haerdtl is used as a container to activate carbon, and a collection of copper beakers play homage to the “Alpha” service no. 267 by Hans Herald Rath.
Forever B is a bed – box limited edition made for the Green Room of the Museum Baghatti Valsecchi
Works throughout the museum include Spanish wunderkind Jaime Hayon’s ‘Green Chicken’, displayed at the foot of the bed in Giuseppe’s master bedroom
Audemars Piguet was also a partner in the exhibition, and showcased a selection of its watches in one of the museum’s rooms, where an artisan watchmaker was at work creating a Royal Oak Offshore model.
Outside Courtyard sculptures
About Museo Bagatti Valsecchi
Museo Bagatti Valsecchi is a historic house museum which showcases the collection of the brothers Bagatti Valsecchi who decorated their house (at the end of the 19th century) mainly in a Neo-Renaissance style, including their collection of paintings and decorative arts of the 15th and 16th centuries.
The Bagatti Valsecchi Museum is a historic house museum that exquisitely expresses an extraordinary adventure of collecting at the end of the 19th century. The protagonists were two brothers: the Barons Fausto (Milan, 1843-1914) and Giuseppe (Milano, 1845-1934) Bagatti Valsecchi.
Beginning in the 1880s, these two undertook the refurbishment of their family home in the heart of Milan between via Gesù and via Santo Spirito.
For political as well as stylistic reasons, their approach was strictly in the Neo-Renaissance style of the then popular trend of historicism. At the same time, they began to collect paintings and decorative arts of the 15th and 16th centuries in order to decorate their house and to create an ambiance inspired by princely Lombard homes of the 16th century.
Even though they had graduated with law degrees, they never exercised law, professionally. At the center of their interests were the restructuring of the family home, its decoration and the collection of art works destined to embellish it.
In these surroundings, they matured expertise that they put to use even as much appreciated dilettante architects, often at the service of other noble families with which they shared goals and life style. The rest of their time was passed between activities imposed on gentlemen of their rank of the day.
The administration of their possessions was flanked by involvement in numerous charitable institutions, participation in the lively everyday life of Milan, trips in Italy and abroad and the practice of equitation and other imaginative sporty passions, such as going up in air balloons and riding velocipedes, the early form of the bicycle so difficult to control because of its gigantic front wheel.
United and close, the two brothers had, in fact, very different personalities: Fausto, brilliant and worldly, and Giuseppe, more reserved and inclined to quiet domestic life.
It is to Giuseppe that the family continuity is owed thanks to his five children born of his 1882 marriage with Carolina of one of Milan’s most ancient, important and powerful noble families: the Borromeo.
After the death of Fausto and Giuseppe, the Bagatti Valsecchi family home continued to be inhabited by their descendents until 1974. In that year, Pasino, one of Giuseppe’s children who was by then in his seventies, decided to create the Bagatti Valsecchi Foundation to which he donated the patrimony of art his ancestors had collected.
At the same time, the mansion was sold to the region of Lombardy with the clause that the historic displays on the first floor were to be preserved “as is” in order to preserve the unbreakable tie between the “container” (the spaces) and the “contained” (the furnishings and art collections), one of the distinctive traits of the Bagatti Valsecchi brothers’ collecting efforts.
The idea to create a historic house museum out of the Bagatti Valsecchi mansion and its furnishings was born at the beginning of the 1970s when the family realized that a division of property among the subsequent generation of heirs would have destroyed the existing extra-ordinary unity between “container” (the house and its rooms) and “contained” (the precious collections).
The spirit was and is to preserve, promote and highlight the importance of the things of artistic and historic interest–according to the Italian Law of the 1st of June, 1939 —in a collection that can never be dismantled.
This was achieved through the creation of a non-profit foundation in 1975.
The art collections were donated to it during the subsequent year giving life to a museum that would bear the family name, express local history, preserve the art collections, and display them to the public with a special twist.
Twenty years later, in 1994, the Bagatti Valsecchi Museum was opened to the public.
The Bagatti Valsecchi Museum is like a genuine time capsule. The art and furnishings collected by the brothers Fausto and Giuseppe Bagatti Valsecchi for their chic Milanese mansion are preserved in the original places where the brothers meant them to be.
The close ties between the house, the rooms of the house and the collections displayed therein are the guiding light of the rigorous collecting and living project that the noble brothers, Fausto and Giuseppe Bagatti Valsecchi, pursued at the end of the 19th century.
For their mansion, they looked to numerous fonts of inspiration, in particular princely homes in Lombardy of the 16th century.
They cited and re-elaborated excellent examples in order to re-create a kind of Renaissance filtered through a 19th century sensibility, and in which continues to reoccur the Bagatti Valsecchi style.
Their preference for that period was also in line with the cultural program promoted by the new Savoy monarchy right after the Unification of Italy. The monarchy saw in the Renaissance that single moment that could become the indispensable ingredient for the reinforcement of an admittedly still weak single identity that needed to be forged out of the many identities populating the Italian peninsula prior to the Unification.
Under the watchful direction of Fausto and Giuseppe, the Renaissance began to flower in the rooms of the Bagatti Valsecchi home, not just because of the display of 15th and 16th century objects, but also through a careful and highly detailed stylistic harmonization of even the tiniest details in every room.
In the fixed furnishings were inserted antique fragments, such as wall friezes, fireplaces, decorative elements and wooden ceilings, while unavoidable lacunae in the closely woven coordination were filled with then-modern replacements in-style.
In this way, the rooms of the Bagatti Valsecchi home became an arena of endeavor for a vast array of able Lombard craftsmen.
Theirs was the responsibility of finding solutions to inserting then-modern domestic comforts—electricity, a shower, water basins with a drain, hot and cold running water—into the rooms without disturbing their stylistic unity.
‘There is nothing, not even something secondary, that isn’t antique, or in imitation of the antique. For that reason, everything is harmonious and perfectly in style,’ noted the renowned architect Vespasiano Paravini in 1885, when he visited the rooms of the Bagatti Valsecchi home.
It was not intended to create a museum, or a collection, rather to reconstruct the dwelling of a princely inhabitation around the middle of the 16th century in which one found objects of the 15th and 16th centuries of the most varied kind: paintings, tapestries, rugs, furniture, arms, ceramics, bronzes, glass, jewels, iron and domestic objects of all kinds, all collected with studious care and returned to their original use.
With these words, Giuseppe Bagatti Valsecchi reviewed the rich typology of art works and objects collected together with his brother, Fausto, and gave the reason for its variety: the domestic nature of their shared collecting project.
In such a context, the same antique objects collected with passion by the two brothers became objects of daily use, employed in their domestic and everyday lives.
Arranged even now as they were at the end of the 19th century, the collections are revealed one room after the other.
In the engaging spaces of the historic house museum, important antique panel paintings by such painters as Giovanni Bellini, Bernardo Zenale and Giampietrino are placed next to little stucco and pastiglia coffers, wooden furnishings and objects in glass, or ceramics.
Beyond their intrinsic value, every object offers itself as an indispensable piece in the coherent Bagatti Valsecchi project, and contributes to defining the closely woven whole.
The preferences of the two brothers were coherently oriented towards objects of the 15th and 16th centuries, but exceptions to the rule are not lacking.
These exceptions were imposed, perhaps, by the limits of the antiques market, or perhaps—especially in the case of objects of special quality—by the brothers’ understandable desire not to deprive themselves of objects that, in any case, would insert well into the complex of the Bagatti Valsecchi family home.
The Circuit of Historic House Museums
Since October 2, 2008, the Bagatti Valsecchi Museum, the Boschi-Di Stefano House, the Necchi Campiglio Villa and the Poldi Pezzoli Museum have been united in the circuit of Milanese historic house museums.
The circuit was born in order to make known and promote the cultural and artistic patrimony of Milan over the course of almost two centuries through the presence of some of its protagonists: the nobles Gian Giacomo Poldi Pezzoli and the brothers Fausto and Giuseppe Bagatti Valsecchi in the 19th century and, in the 20th, Boschi and Di Stefano, husband and wife, and the industrialist families of Necchi and Campiglio, also joined in marriage.
The four historic house museums, all in the center of Milan, have in common the generosity of their founders, who made available to the public their homes and their art collections.
Today, they still are places of great allure. Through them, the visitors are able to get to know the personal stories of historic figures and their choices in matters of taste that also reflect the evolution and transformation of the city’s society.