Italian Design Museum @ Salone Milan 2019

Italian Design Museum @ Salone Milan 2019


“ I like concept design, the kind which is so clear you do not need to draw it. I have passed on plenty of my projects over the phone.” ……… Vico Magistretti


This initial phase of the Museo del Design Italiano is an important starting point for the creation of a project that intends to strengthen and consolidate the role of Milan as the global capital of industrial design

The Museum of Italian Design will be taking over the ground floor of the Triennale’s existing building, the historic Palazzo dell’Arte designed by Giovanni Muzio.

The next phase project expansion will involve a call for applications for an international design competition in two stages, which will be launched by May 2019.

The extension will include new exhibition spaces where the entire collection can be put on display simultaneously, as well as areas for public services and for reorganising the archives, with a total area of 6,000 square meters.

The permanent collection of Italian Design, Museo del Design Italiano, directed by Joseph Grima, opened its doors on April 8, 2019 at Triennale Milano with a great party to celebrate this achievement

In addition to the President of the Council, Carlo Sangalli, President of the Milan Chamber of Commerce of Monza Brianza Lodi, attending the ceremony were ; Giuseppe Sala, Mayor of Milan; Attilio Fontana, President of the Lombardy Region; Alberto Bonisoli, Minister for Cultural Heritage and Activities; Stefano Boeri, President of Triennale Milano; Joseph Grima, Director of the Museum of Italian Design; Mario Bellini and Patricia Urquiola, members of the scientific committee of the Fondazione Museo del Design.

Triennale Museo del Design Italiano, in the evocative spaces of the Curva on the ground floor of the Triennale, presents a selection of the most iconic and representative pieces of Italian design, for the first time in a permanent exhibition.

To give visitors greater information about the context in which the works were created, a timeline runs along the walls of the curve, illustrating historic, political, cultural, and social events in Italy and around the world.

An initiative that finally addresses a long and heavy-felt absence. Italy and Milan are internationally recognised icons in the field of design.

The works of Italian masters are exhibited in leading museums around the world, and at the Museum of Modern Art among all, but inexplicably in Milan a  Museum of Italian design did not yet exist, despite the fact that the city hosts a significant number of initiatives and events related to the world of design, such as the recently concluded Milano Design Week.

The creation of the Museo del Design Italiano has been made possible by the support of the Italian Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities.

The aim of the Museo del Design Italiano is to engage and enliven the Triennale’s 1,600 piece permanent collection of Italian design, while working to make the institution an important international center for design.

Through their innovative technology and forms, their aesthetic qualities and experimental nature, these objects collectively create a narrative about Italian design—past, present and future.



The creation of this permanent display has been advocated by Stefano Boeri, President of Triennale Milano, and by Triennale Milano’s boards and is the result of the input from an advisory committee that brings together some of the top names in the world of Italian design and architecture:

Paola Antonelli, Mario Bellini, Andrea Branzi, Antonio Citterio, Michele De Lucchi, Piero Lissoni, Claudio Luti, Fabio Novembre, and Patricia Urquiola.

A dedicated special committee will oversee targeted acquisition policies that will add to the permanent collection in the coming years.

The Design Museum is housed in the striking space of the “Curva”, one of the areas of the historic building designed by architect Giovanni Muzio and built between 1931 – 1933, whose original appearance has been preserved over time.

The 200 objects currently on display, selected from the Triennale’s permanent collection of over 1,600 pieces, tell the story of thirty years of radical experimentation in which new materials, new techniques and new aesthetic codes revolutionised the established order within the domestic sphere and beyond.

The museum spans from 1946 to 1981, one of the periods of greatest influence of Italian designers, from the postwar boom years of the 1950s, through to the early ‘80s, when the arrival of fresh, exuberant currents such as Memphis spelled the beginning of a new era of heightened internationalism in design production, in Italy and elsewhere.

The objects are in chronological order, with corresponding information about the history of each one and the context in which it was designed, with many previously un-exhibited materials from the Triennale Archives, including photographs, advertising campaigns, and original packaging.

Recounted through the stories of objects, designers, and companies, the collection includes iconic pieces like the :

Superleggera chair by Gio Ponti for Cassina,

Mezzadro and Arco by the Castiglioni brothers for Zanotta and Flos,

Eclisse by Vico Magistretti,

Tizio by Sapper for Artemide,

Pipistrello by Gae Aulenti for Martinelli

Luce, Up by Gaetano Pesce for B&B, and

Bocca by Studio65 for Gufram.



About Joseph Grima

Joseph Grima, founder of the Italian architecture and research studio Space Caviar, will be in charge of directing the new dedicated space.

Curatorial work is nothing new for the architect, who helped open the inaugural Chicago Architecture Biennial to international success.

He is also Creative Director of the prestigious Design Academy Eindhoven, Artistic Director of Matera European Capital of Culture 2019, and now, Artistic Director of the Italian Museum of Design.

A true citizen of the world, his international origins are fused to a decidedly Italian attitude, which has made him the perfect fit for the position.

joseph grima speaking at the triennale press conference for the official opening of the italian design museum


Even more than a place where the historical memory of Italian design is preserved and protected,

The Museo del Design Italiano aspires to be a place of inspiration, in the most ancient sense of the word ‘museum.’ 

The most intense and influential forms of inspiration often do not come from inanimate objects but rather from the voices of those who created them, and from the stories behind apparently mundane details that led to decisions of fundamental importance for the history of design.

With this in mind, we have decided to include the voices of some of those who created the works on show.

They have been asked to explain, in a simple, direct manner, the cultural conditions to which each creation responded, and what it was that gave rise to their objects.” ………… Joseph Grima


joseph grim and stefano boeri at the official opening night of the Triennale Design Museum


The opening of the Museo del Design Italiano is the first stage of a broader long-term project. One aim is to expand the Triennale collection by means of targeted acquisition policies and to enter into new partnerships with archives, companies, schools, universities, and museums.

Another is to start thinking about expanding the spaces of Triennale in order to give adequate room to the great history of Italian design and to make the institution an important international center devoted to this discipline.”  ……. Stefano Boeri




Opening night guests



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