Rome | 50 years of “Superstudio” at MAXXI Museum


From 21 April through 4 September 2016 the MAXXI museum in Rome presents “Superstudio 50”, a major retrospective on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the foundation of one of the most influential groups in radical Italian architecture.

cover image: Superstudio, Bazaar, (prod. by Giovannetti)1969, sofa (ph C.Toraldo di Francia)

Superstudio was founded in 1966 by Adolfo Natalini and Cristiano Toraldo di Francia, who were later joined by Gian Piero Frassinelli, Roberto and Alessandro Magris, and Alessandro Poli.

Fifty years on from its foundations, MAXXI is devoting a major retrospective to the group: SUPERSTUDIO 50 an exhibition conceived by Adolfo Natalini, Cristiano Toraldo di Francia and Gian Piero Frassinelli, together with the curator Gabriele Mastrigli.


Roberto Magris, Adolfo Natalini, Cristiano Toraldo di Francia, self-portrait in Poltronova, 1968 (ph. C. Toraldo di Francia) 

This exhibition pays homage to an extraordinary group of creative talents, celebrated by international critics – just a few days ago The New York Times devoted a beautiful article to them- who have contributed to the history of architecture, influencing the collective imagination and anticipating themes that are topical today, in such an impressive and almost prophetic way”- says Giovanna Melandri, President of Fondazione MAXXI.


Superstudio, Atti Fondamentali. Education. Progetto 1,1971,lithography, courtesy Fondazione MAXXI

Known for the strength of its images and for the extreme variety of its output, the work of Superstudio has always evaded clear, identifiable labels; this exhibition brings together and presents over 200 pieces, ranging from installations to objects, from graphic works to photographs, and through to publications covering the entire career and development of the group, materials largely drawn from its own archives, some never previously displayed and many of which will progressively enter MAXXI’s architecture collection.



above: Superstudio, Sofo, (prod. by Poltronova) 1968, modular seat, (ph C. Toraldo di Francia).
below: Superstudio, Gherpe, (produced by Poltronova), 1967, lamp (ph. C.Toraldo di Francia). 

An exhibition on Superstudio by Superstudio – which for the occasion is producing a special exhibition design project – a kind of scientific autobiography that reviews fundamental chapters in its history, from the exhibition Superarchitettura (1966), in which together with Archizoom, the group proposed for the first time a radical rethinking of architecture and design, replacing the traditional domestic images with a world of alienating objects and visions. SUPERSTUDIO 50 is an exploration of the universe of one of the most influential groups in 20th century architecture, at the dawn of the image of what today we call contemporaneity.


Superstudio, The Twelve Ideal Cities (Città delle Semisfere),1971,photomontage, courtesy Fondazione MAXXI  

SUPERSTUDIO 50 presents, among other works, the most important drawings, photo-montages and installations from The Continuous Monument series (1969), the Architectural Histograms (1969-70) and The Twelve Ideal Cities (1971), projects through which the group demonstrated the possibilities and the limits of architecture intended as instrument of a critique of society.
Alongside this material, there are installations – such as The Wife of Lot, presented at the Venice Biennale in 1978, and the entrance to the Superarchitettura exhibition from 1966 – and design objects, such as the Bazaar and Sofo settees, both 1968, produced by Giovanetti and Poltronova respectively, the Gherpe (1967) and Passiflora lamps (1968), both produced by Poltronova, and the well-known Quaderna series of tables (Zanotta, 1970).


Adolfo Natalini at the exhibition “Superarchitettura“, Jolly 2 gallery, Pistoia, 1966 (ph. C. Toraldo di Francia). 

Superstudio 50
(temporary exhibition)
MAXXI – Museo Nazionale della Arti del XXI secolo
Rome, via Guido Reni, 4
From 21 April through 4 September, 2016

maxxi-superstudio-quaderna-Zanotta- salone-Milano-2016-Inexhibit

Zanotta space at the “Salone del Mobile”, Milano 2016. On the right a Quaderna table by Superstudio, 1966

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