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At Palazzo Strozzi “Radical Utopias Beyond Architecture: Florence 1966 -1976”

By FEDERICA LUSIARDI - January 15, 2018

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Palazzo Strozzi in Florence features a major exhibition entitled “Radical Utopias Beyond Architecture: Florence 1966–1976”.

cover: The image of the exhibition is a quotation from the cover of the number 367 of the Casabella magazine of July 1972, created by then director Alessandro Mendini and dedicated to the Italy exhibition “The New Domestic Landscape” by Emilio Ambasz at MoMA in New York who had celebrated internationally the work of radical designers involved in the Palazzo Strozzi exhibition.

Opened until January 21, 2018 the event celebrates the outstanding creative season enjoyed by the Radical Movement in Florence in the 1960s and ’70s.

In a kaledoscopic dialogue involving objects of design, videos, installations, performances and narratives, the exhibition brings together for the very first time in a single venue the visionary work of groups and figures as Archizoom, Remo Buti, 9999, Superstudio, Gianni Pettena, UFO and Zziggurat; groups and individuals who succeeded in turning Florence into the hub of a creative revolution that was to have a profound impact on the development of art at the global level. The exhibition comprises 320 objects ranging from clothing, jewels, fabrics, porcelain, lamps, furniture, photographs, photomontages and collages to models and architectural designs.

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Gianni Pettena, Rumble Sofa, 1966. Private Collection

Radical Utopias brings together all the Florentine Radical architects for the first time, half a century after the origin and spread of their movement between 1966 and 1976. This generation of artists – who started out as students gravitating primarily around Florence University’s Faculty of Architecture – was the first in Italy to adopt an original approach to the sweeping renewal of the discipline of architecture as part of a search for a new way of conjugating architectural utopia with research based on the most advanced forms of technology, a process that was already taking place on the international level thanks to such groups and individuals as Hollein and Pichler in Vienna, the Archigram in London, the Metabolists in Japan, Yona Friedman in France, Buckminster Fuller in the United States, Frei Otto in Germany, or Costant and Debord’s Situationist Movement in France and the Netherlands.

Safari bed 1968 Archizoom Associati Italian Radical Design Sixties Inexhibit

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Archizoom Associati, Safari, 1968. Firenze, Centro Studi Poltronova; installation view © Inexhibit, and original advertising courtesy of Palazzo Strozzi

“RadicalUtopias” sets out to reveal the complexity that underpinned the cultural scene of the time with its intense interplay between art, design and architecture but also with music discotheques and clubs.
Iconic interior design and furniture such as Archizoom’s Superonda, Safari projects, Superstudio’s Bazar and Gianni Pettena’s Rumble Sofa are displayed alongside utopian interpretations of the world embodied in drawings, photomontages and pictures . An important section of the exhibition is devoted to Radical publications and advertisements, which played a crucial role at the time because it was precisely through such media that the various players at both the national and international levels familiarised with each others’ work.

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UFO, Urboeffimero 6 – Piazza del Duomo,1968. Florence, UFO Archive – Lapo Binazz

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UFO, Bamba Issa 2 (Discoteque in Forte dei Marmi) 1970. Florence, UFO archive – Lapo Binazzi.

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9999, Space Electronic. School of expanded conceptual architecture: Jam Session n. 1, 1970. San Casciano Val di Pesa (Florence), 9999 archive.

The exhibition features eight sections entitled Radical Pop, The Disco Club, From the Lunar Module, Utopian Cities, Green Architecture, Teaching Architecture, Early Prints and Final Acts, and The Human Scale. 

Radical Utopias Beyond Architecture: Florence 1966–1976
Florence, Palazzo Strozzi / Strozzina

20 October, 2017 / 21 January, 2018

The exhibition is promoted and organised by the Fondazione Palazzo Strozzi, the Fondazione CR Firenze and the Osservatorio per le Arti Contemporanee

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Ettore Sottsass jr. Ultrafragola, 1970. Centro Studi Poltronova , Florence.

Images courtesy of Palazzo Strozzi


Installation views

Superstudio, Bazaar sofa, 1968, Italian Radical Design 1960s Inexhibit

Superstudio, Bazaar sofa, 1968, Radical Pop section; photo © Inexhibit

Archizoom letto di rose serie Inexhibit

Archizoom Associati, Four Beds, 1967; photo © Inexhibit

Italian Radical Design exhibition Florence installation view Inexhibit l 03

Radical Utopias Beyond Architecture: Florence 1966 -1976, The Disco Club, installation view © Inexhibit

Gianni Pettena Salt Lake Trilogy Tumbleweeds Cutcher Inexhibit

Gianni Pettena, Salt Lake Trilogy: Tumbleweeds Cutcher, 1972, model; Green Architecture section; photo © Inexhibit

Superstudio Scatola Simulatrice per Supersuperficie 1972 Inexhibit

Superstudio, Scatola Simulatrice per Supersuperficie, 1972, Utopian Cities section; photo © Inexhibit

Alessandro Poli Superstudio autostrada Terra Luna 1970 Inexhibit

Alessandro Poli (Superstudio) Earth-Moon highway, 1970-1971, From the Lunar Module section; photo © Inexhibit

Superstudio Istogrammi Histograms Italian Radical DesignInexhibit

Superstudio, Istogrammi (Histograms), 1968-1970, From the Lunar Module section; photo © Inexhibit

Lucia Barlolini Archizoom Giacca casentino jacket Italian radical fashion Inexhibit l

Lucia Bartolini (Archizoom Associati), Casentino jacket, 1978, The Human Scale section; photo © Inexhibit

Lucia Barlolini Archizoom borsa grembiule apron bag cloth Inexhibit

Lucia Bartolini (Archizoom Associati), apron-bag, 1973, The Human Scale section; photo © Inexhibit

Archizoom Tute No-stop City jumpsuits Italian radical fashion Inexhibit l

Archizoom Associati, No-stop City jumpsuits, 1973, The Human Scale section; photo © Inexhibit

Lucia Bartolini Archizoom Giacca jacket Italian radical fashion Inexhibit l

Lucia Bartolini (Archizoom Associati), jacket, 1973, The Human Scale section; photo © Inexhibit

Italian Radical Design exhibition Florence installation view Inexhibit 01

Magazines and books on view in the section “Early Prints and Final Acts”; photo © Inexhibit


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