Gitro Giro Tondo = Design for Children
The 10th edition of the Triennale Design Museum (1st April 2017- 18 February 2018), was opened a few days before the beginning of Salone del Mobile 2017, is dedicated to the world of design for kids.
Conceived and directed by Silvana Annicchiarico, “Giro Giro Tondo” is a journey into childhood through the means of toys, pieces of furniture, books, architecture and cartoons made for children in the course of the 20th century.
The real star of this new edition at the Triennale Design Museum–is Quadratino: a historic character from the early 1900s Corriere dei Piccoli (The Children’s Daily Newspaper, e. n.), whose funny, stylized face dominates the Triennale monumental staircase, further transforming Michele De Lucchi’s walkway to the Museum’s entrance into a very long Pinocchio-style nose.
A new history of Italian design, devoted to the world of children and to the design and architecture that has been created for them. It includes the games and images that have amused and informed them, the spaces within which they took their first steps, and the objects they used to discover the world.
The opening is an Ouverture, devoted to play design, curated by Stefano Giovannoni, with a powerful figurative component and a pop spirit.
Then, the exhibition path, winds through visual, auditory and perceptive suggestions that accompany and guide visitors through various thematic sections:
Furnishings, curated by Maria Paola Maino;
Toys, curated by Luca Fois with Renato Ocone;
Urban installations, curated by Fulvio Irace;
Graphic Design, curated by Pietro Corraini;
Animation, curated by Maurizio Nichetti, and
Writing and Drawing, curated by Francesca Balena Arista.
Among these sections there are focus areas devoted to leading figures in the history of design and education.
Bruno Munari, curated by Alberto Munari,
Riccardo Dalisi, curated by Francesca Picchi in collaboration with Studio Dalisi,
Education and Teachers, curated by Monica Guerra and Franca Zuccoli,
Imagery of storytelling, in Pinocchio, curated by Enrico Ercole.
Art direction and arrangement, on the other hand, have been entrusted to Stefano Giovannoni, a designer famous for his signature playful, brand-new Pop style.
The first room entitled “Ouverture” is an immersive installation, a dim-light space enclosed by mirrors and filled with over-scale objects, whose dreamlike atmosphere was inspired by that of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.
The Ouverture room is a real, fairy-tale like dimension which tempts us to become kids once more thanks to a sort of dimensional charm that has managed to transform classic, playful design icons such as little dwarf Attila by Philippe Starck and the Proust armchair by Alessandro Mendini, into big installations.
The rubber flooring – the same kind of flooring commonly used in playgrounds that makes our feet bounce just like in a kids’ recreation area – is a further incitement to happily run through this amazing, oversized world.
This introductory installation is largely successful in taking the visitor into a captivating atmosphere, while the rest of the exhibition is less engaging, from a communication point of view.
Indeed, going out the first room, the magic dissolves into an undefined space in which too many objects and possibly too many themes are presented, without enough room to disclose and present them properly.
School desks, mini carousels, children chairs, vintage strollers, and old blackboards on display are amassed on a central platform covered by a green rubber mat which runs across the whole exhibition and plunge all objects into a cold and dull atmosphere.
Despite the playful juxtaposition of play areas for little visitors, equipped with classic Quercetti pins and magnetized shapes, the exhibition continues with a more institutional character.
The itinerary opens with the History of Furnishing section, illustrating the temporary nature of children’s furniture, often wrapped up in cellophane sheets and directly stored in the basement after just a few years.
Then follows the history of Toy Design, a branch that has always tried to find a solution to reconcile the different needs of children (as users) and adults (as buyers).
The Pinocchio’s section was engrossing
The section about Architecture for kids, curated by Fulvio Irace, recounts children’s emancipation though the radical changes occurred in the structures of kindergartens and schools, starting with the work of Maria Montessori.
In a dedicated space, it presents the most significant steps in the evolution of architectural typologies aimed to children and youth (especially schools and summer camps) developed by architects and educators.
An evolution whose outcome has been the recognition of the importance of childhood in people’s life, and that of schools as privileged spaces to foster its positive development.
The Graphic Design section illustrates how the stylistic research of an essential graphics is often unconsciously very close to the children’s set of mind.
The exhibition ends with a historic itinerary about the great Masters.
Among them, one is focused on the seminal work of Bruno Munari – with games, graphic designs, books, and pieces of furniture, including his pioneering “Abitacolo” (1971) – and another, dedicated to Riccardo Dalisi, showcases the visionary “characters” developed together with street children from the Traiano neighborhood of Naples in the early Seventies
The exhibition ends with an interactive games room area where children ( ( of all ages ! ) can play with lego like pieces and have fun pinning them onto a wall board