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“Stories: Italian Design” opens this month at the Triennale Design Museum in Milan. On view through early 2019, it includes 180 works made from 1902 to 1998. Themes around politics, geography, technology, and communication are explored chronologically, thanks to curators Chiara Alessi, Maddalena Dalla Mura, Manolo De Giorgi, Vanni Pasca, and Raimonda Riccini. We caught up with the museum’s director, Silvana Annicchiarico, to learn more about the exhibition, which tells the history of Italian design.
WHITEWALLER: “Stories: Italian Design” is the eleventh edition of the Triennale Design Museum. Can you tell us about the show?
SILVANA ANNICCHIARICO: It will be devoted to the history of Italian design from 1902 to 1998, with a selection of the most representative projects and, alongside these, with in-depth analyses of particular themes: technology, communication, politics, geography, and economy.
WW: In 2016, the museum presented “W. Women in Italian Design,” looking at gender in the design world. Are you hopeful that there will be greater inclusion in the design world? Are you seeing examples of that?
SA: I hope so. With “W. Women in Italian Design” I presented a lot of examples: It was an overview of more than 600 works by more than 400 female designers. Women create, design, experiment, risk, and challenge. They are protagonists right from the education stage, with universities increasingly registering a majority of women enrolled and attending lectures, as well as a high degree of excellence among women in the learning process.
The show traced a new history of Italian design in the feminine, reconstructing the figures, theories, and approaches to design that were sown in the 20th century and that have taken hold, transformed, and evolved in the 21st century. In this way, Triennale Design Museum celebrated women as the new creative force behind a form of design that is less high-handed, less authoritarian, more spontaneous, and more dynamic. I’m very happy that after the exhibition I curated, a lot of international museums, institutions, and publishers focused their exhibitions and books on this issue.
WW: The 2017 annual show was devoted to design for children. What aspects of designing for play did you find particularly inspirational?
SA: That edition of the museum intended to weave together the history of Italian design and that of the child in Italy, considering children not just as users of the consumerism and of the processes chosen by adults, but also as autonomous beings, with stories, visions, and decisions of their own. I hope I offered the visitor a show and an experience that gave an idea of the wealth of analogies, interactions, combinations, and exchanges that together form the relationship between childhood and design.
WW: What do you look forward to most each year during Milan Design Week?
SA: I look forward to seeing real news and being amazed by the vitality of design and by its ability to create, to project concrete solutions to the many, and sometimes contradictory, needs of men and communities. I hope that also from the design come solicitations, intuitions, ideas, proposals to feel better, to live better in our homes, in the workplace, in everyday life, in our cities. I am sure that on the occasion of his great, huge event, the city of Milan will live up to its ambitions, will be efficient in its services, capable of enhancing what is done in everyday life, working for the affirmation of Italian design worldwide.