An early Sunday afternoon walking in the streets of Milan covered with snow.
Today I began to look again at the facades of the buildings.  So many buildings where Liberty can be read in the stones, and the decorations are the signature of great ideas.  When modernism put its strong imprint on Milan, not just as another style,
but as a new powerful way of thinking.

 This innovation in ideas motivated the art and design of the times, and  has given us some of the most enduring and challenging designs in fashion, architecture and lifestyle.  One still gratefully admires their beauty and intelligence.

 

Here, a picture puzzle by famed photographer Steven Meisel .  A limited edition of 1,000 signed and numbered pieces, this is the only “book” he has done to date.  Also made of many small fragments that unite to create art greater than the sum of the pieces.

 

 

Arthur Lasenby Liberty ,the merchant who founded Liberty London, also opened a bazaar in the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele in 1904 and his style would become the bridge between Aestheticism and Modernism. Sometimes called Art Nouveau, in Italy it became known as Liberty. Architects like Guiseppe Sommaruga, Alfredo Campanini and Giovanni Battista Bossi built remarkable buildings in this style, filling the area around Porta Venezia, especially via Malphighi with façade mosaics and tiles that are astonishing. Mosaics as an art is not fashionable right now.  A pity as the works of Klimt or Gaudi and the tiles of these buildings are still daring and brilliant. Be careful you do not forget to watch how you walk as you are looking up!

 

 Isolated on the island of Capri, Casa Malaparte is the crown jewel showing all the ideas that nurtured and sustained Italian modernism.  Built in 1942, Curzio Malaparte fired his architect Adalberto Libera, and built his own vision with the assistance of a local stonemason.It is best seen by sea or in Godard’s movie, “Contempt”, made in 1963, another time of radical ideas expressing through architecture.

Here, some of the wonderful mosaics done for the Milano Central Station in 1931  by the Venetian artist Padoan.  Impossible to see for many years, but now with the new renovation almost complete they are available and well worth the visit to see this Neoclassical revival kissed with functional Modernism.  Bring your binoculars for serious students of tile, many are extremely high up the walls.

 

The Alessi family is famous for bringing the post-modern revolution to everyday cookware.This carafe designed by Michael Graves is from their “Euclid” series.
An expression of miniature architecture in an affordable household piece, the “pillars” supporting the carafe suggest the supports in both modern and classical architecture and of course the geometry of Euclid.

The Medusa lamp, another masterpiece of lighting, was designed by Austrian designer  Olaf von Bohr  for Valenti Luce in 1968 in Italy. 
It is a beautiful example of 1960’s Space Age Design, but I think that the most intriguing part is the pleated movement that seems to float as light as fabric, in reality vented steel foils forming this soft sculptural piece.  Design and fashion always cross and interconnect at a variety of points and here on the right, a bright red dress of soft pleats by Yohji Yamamoto from his winter collection…. A beauty.

The Boa – snake – and the Lum – ilLUMination – light is one of the highlights
of Italian design.Created by Gianfranco Frattini and Livio Castiglioni in 1970, the industrial design projects  balanced the introduction of the newest in materials with an ever astute eye on design and function. In this case being able
to shape the snake to wherever you wished.

In the new gallery shop we have bunches of freshly made flowers, all painted individually in vivid colors to welcome Winter and Christmas week.

 

Posted on: Sunday, December 16th, 2012

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