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  Exhibitions

"I've travelled the world..."
Magistretti Voyages Projects
26.03.2015 / 13.02.2016

Expo 2015 brings the world to Milan.
The exhibition narrates Vico Magistretti as a traveller and architect in the world.

The show addresses two themes: Magistretti as a traveller and tourist from 1947 to 1960, through photographs never exhibited before from the family album; Magistretti as architect and designer, with three projects done from 1959 to 1986 in Argentina, France and Japan.

Magistretti traveller and tourist
“I have had to travel, and wanted to travel … in short, I’ve travelled quite extensively around the world. It was enormously useful, above all one trip I made when I was still young was enormously useful…” (Interview by 3D Produzioni, 2000). This is the beginning of the story of Magistretti the traveller, from Argentina to Chile to Peru and then New York: “This arrival in New York when I was 34 years old ... being amazed by this incredible city, where I was struck by the fact that women smoked on the street, for example...” (Interview by 3D Produzioni, 2000)
And then London, France, Spain. And Italy.
Magistretti records these experiences in a series of black and white photographs whose original prints have been conserved, and are shown in the exhibition. In these photographs one can sense the “amazed” gaze that then shifts to careful examination of details that would later be reworked in his projects of design and architecture. The gaze is often ironic, always penetrating.
From the albums containing the “proofs” of the pictures he took (over 700), about 200 images have been selected and assembled in a video: with these pictures, Vico narrates his travels with the family, his vacations, always with an eye on simple details (a floor with geometric motifs, a rural chair in wood…), almost as if to construct a sort of archive of possible creative stimuli for future use.

Magistretti architect and designer
“Some friends of mine thought I might be the right person to do a job in Argentina. So I went to Argentina. It took 36 hours to fly there, back then.” (Interview by 3D Produzioni, 2000)
In Campana, in the province of Buenos Aires, from 1959 to 1963 Magistretti built a residential complex for Techint (now renovated and reopened, in 2008, as the TenarisUniversity Residence). This was supposed to be the first building in a larger project (never implemented) for a civic centre.
“The characteristics of the climate suggested facades with protruding eaves, cornices and parapets to create restful zones of shade...” (project description, 1959)
The exhibition includes drawings and photographs of the first work done by Magistretti outside Italy.

“In this portico, faced by two large windows, the idea also arose of placing a flower vendor, for the splendid, classic flowers of the Madeleine market, sold year round next to the church, near Fauchon. We found one of the Madeleine florists who was happy to set up shop there, with his blue apron and a strong constitution to bear the cold, and his vases of flowers that overflow a bit onto Rue Royale and a bit towards the Madeleine. Another enticement, always lively.” (project description, 1967)
In Paris, at Place de la Madeleine, in 1967 Magistretti opened the showroom designed and furnished for Cerruti 1881: a place marked by equal attention to the design of the volumes and the furnishing details, a place that was to become the model for the stores of the Cerruti brand around the world.
The project is documented by a fine series of sketches and drawings never before published, as wall as original photographic prints.

“I did the house in Tokyo for this person in a moment when Tokyo wasn’t going through the present economic disaster, on this small lot in the city center, near the fashion zone. I firmly believe in what they call existing environmental features ("preesistenze ambientali"), the places where buildings are made, so obviously in Tokyo I would not make a house as I would in Genoa, in Turin… they have nothing to do with each other! I realized, in the end, precisely when I had designed it, that what came out was a Japanese house.” (interview “Maestria come Magistretti,” 1999)
For the Tanimoto house, built in 1985-86, Magistretti designed all the furnishings, with the exception of the tea room. The whole project reflects the goal of adapting a western conception of habitat and architecture to the suggestions of the Japanese context. Many sketches and drawings in the exhibition illustrate this house, together with photographs made by Yukio Futagawa.

The three projects are accompanied by in-depth information offered by tablets inserted in the installation, containing the project descriptions by Magistretti (unpublished), the sketches and designs not displayed, and articles on the works that appeared in the press.

Exhibition curated by Rosanna Pavoni
Exhibit design by Paolo Ulian
Video by Francesca Molteni
Archival research and relations with archives and research centres: Margherita Pellino
Project profiles by Manuela Leoni
Graphic design by Bunker
Translations by Steve Piccolo

With patronage of:
Consolato Generale e Centro di Promozione della Cultura della Repubblica Argentina
Consolato Generale di Francia
Consolato Generale del Giappone
Institut Français Milano

FaLang translation system by Faboba