Milan | Piero Fornasetti exhibition

Place: Milan, Country: Italy
Triennale Design Museum
supervision: Silvana Annicchiarico
curated by Barnaba Fornasetti
exhibition layout concept :Barnaba Fornasetti
exhibition design: Giulio Albertazzi , Raffaele Arcone
graphic design: Nuclearlab
Fornasetti Archive: Corrado Guerreschi
Text and images courtesy of Raffaele Arcone - Milano / Italy
Photos by Toni Meneguzzo


PIERO FORNASETTI – One hundred years of practical madness
Design report by Raffaele Arcone, English translation by Inexhibit

At the Triennale Design Museum, the great exhibition held for the centenary of the birth of Piero Fornasetti has ended the 9 February 2014.
Over one thousand pieces, mostly coming from the archive curated by Piero’s son, Barnaba Fornasetti, were exposed.
The exhibition was arranged in sections, from the early paintings to the artist’s books, the collaboration with Gio Ponti in the 1950s /1960s and the more troubled 1970s, when the ruling rationalist dogma of functionality in architecture and design confined Fornasetti to a marginal role, but still could not stifle his volcanic creativity until the artist’s death in 1988.

The most arduous challenge when designing this exhibition was how to find technical solutions capable to give a rational and coherent order to the enormous number of objects on display, which were frequently small or even tiny, as well as how to provide such objects with an interpretation, so that an ashtray could be placed side by side with a book by Pablo Neruda.


We opted for an almost “hand-crafted” approach to this design, developing custom solutions and hardly ever using products available in the market, by a constant and fruitful collaboration and confrontation with all workmen involved. Also for the materials we rejected the “high tech” temptation as well as to easily pursue a catchy appearance, we preferred instead to adopt simple, plain, traditional materials, so to reveal the “artisanal” nature of the exhibition outfit.


After all, an exhibition on Pietro Fornasetti couldn’t be conceived differently, because, besides a painter, engraver, designer, decorator and stylist, he was also a refined craftsman. In his works, tradition and techniques perfectly join. He has never been prone to the trends of the moment, insofar as paying a high fee to his being heretical to the rationalist orthodoxy then so diffused.
Therefore, his personality inevitably had influenced our design decisions. His modus operandi, inherited yet reworked by his son Barnaba, which also was the exhibition curator, necessarily guided the hand of us all.



Text and images courtesy of Raffaele Arcone – Milano / Italy
Photos by Toni Meneguzzo

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