17 May 2017

Neo-avant-garde and counterculture in Florence

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Where and when

17May 2017



Museo Novecento

Free admission subject to availability

Neo-avant-garde and counterculture in Florence.
The Radical movement and the protagonists of an international historical change

Alessandro Mendini e Valentina Gensini present the book by Patrizia Mello

Introduced by Cristina Giachi, Deputy Mayor and Councilor for Education, University and Research, Municipality of Florence

The author will be present

For about a decade, monographic studies on individual Florentine radical avant-garde groups have been drawn up in Italy according to a plan for the recovery of an experience that has marked the history of contemporary architecture and design and which has not been sufficiently detailed. With this new book, the author traces a line of research to frame the work of the Florentine Ra-dical architects – known for their utopian visions and public forays – within a more complex change that first of all affects other disciplinary fields. and that in Florence it would have above all a “situationist” matrix. The reasons for the birth of a neo-avant-garde movement in Florence, the historical city par excellence, are explained through the analysis of the relationships between the utopian visions developed by the radicals and the international and Florentine artistic and cultural context of those years.

The analysis concerns the individual groups (Archizoom, Superstudio, UFO, 9999) and characters such as Pet¬tena and Buti, who for the first time are analyzed together and compared for the different contributions. In a succession of events that involves prominent personalities from the artistic to the design, musical and literary fields, starting from the birth of the MIBI (International Movement for an Imaginist Bauhaus) in 1953, passing through some historic editions of the Triennale up to the exhibition of the 1972 MoMA, the book analyzes and evaluates an international historical change that reaches today and that has a moment of fertile decantation precisely in Florence in the 1960s with the birth, within the Faculty of Architecture of the first groups of radical architects who put many of the theories of the Modern Movement in check, anticipating the state of affairs in our cities by a few decades.

Patrizia Mello

Born in Lecce, she is interested in the history, theory and criticism of contemporary design topics on which she carries out teaching and research activities with the publication of numerous articles and essays, organization of conferences and study meetings. From 2013 to 2015, he held the seminar Florence and the Radical avant-gardes at the Department of Architecture in Florence. Projects, actions, super-visions, extra objects and he curated the exhibition of the same name at “Le Murate. PAC – Contemporary Art Projects ”in Florence. In 2015 the seminar was held at the Museo del Novecento. Among his publications we mention in particular Projects in movement. Philippe Starck, Festina Lente, 1997. The hospital redefined. Solutions and hypotheses compared. Aart International, Aalto, Colboc, CSPE, Fainsilber, Groupe 6, Ito, Koolhaas, Le Corbusier, Nouvel, Reichen & Robert, Sottsass, Petre-Souchet, Riboulet, Vasconi, Zublena, Alinea, 2000; Space metamorphosis. Notes on metropolitan becoming, Bollati Boringhieri, 2002; Ito digital. New media, new real, Edilstampa, 2008; Contemporary Design. Mutations, objects, environments, architectures, Mondadori Electa, 2008; Florence and the Radical avant-gardes. A research seminar, DIDAPRESS, Department of Architecture, 2017.

Alessandro Mendini

Architect, born in Milan in 1931. He directed the magazines “Casabella” (1970-1976), “Modo” (1977-1981) and “Domus” (1980-1985). He is especially interested in neo-modern and contemporary design. He creates objects, furniture, environments, paintings, installations, architecture. He collaborates with international companies such as Alessi, Bisazza, Philips, Swarovski, Swatch, Hermés, Venini and is a consultant to various industries, including in the Far East, for the setting of their image and design problems. He is an honorary member of the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design in Jerusalem, he has been awarded the Compasso d’Oro for design, the honor of the Architectural League of New York and is “Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres” in France. His works can be found in various museums and private collections. In 1989 he opened together with his architect brother Francesco, the Atelier Mendini in Milan, designing the Alessi factories and the Omegna Forum-Museum, some subway stations and the restoration of the Villa Comunale in Naples, a tower in Hiroshima in Japan, the Groningen Museum in the Netherlands, a district in Lugano in Switzerland, the Madsack office building in Hanover and a building in Lörrach in Germany and other buildings in Europe and the United States.

With the patronage of Fondazione e Ordine Architetti Firenze.

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