Triennale Design Museum – La Triennale di Milano
Opened to the public in 2007 in the Palazzo dell’Arte in Milan, the Triennale Design Museum is the most important museum in Italy exclusively focused on Industrial design.
The Triennale di Milano
The Triennale di Milano’s roots trace back to the International Exhibition of Decorative Arts, whose first four editions took place in the Royal Palace of Monza in 1923,1925,1927 and 1930 with a view to promoting the relationship between art, applied art, industry, and society.
In 1933, the exhibition became a triennial event and moved to Milan in the new Palazzo dell’Arte venue, designed by architect Giovanni Muzio.
During the second half of the 20th century, the Triennale di Milano became a leading multi-disciplinary cultural center focused on new trends in the fields of industrial design and architecture, and, subsequently, also on those of fashion, graphic design, and visual communication.
Today, the Triennale di Milano organizes and hosts special exhibitions, conferences, film screenings, educational programs, seminars, workshops, and special events.
(for more information on the history of the Triennale di Milano see our article The Exhibitions of the Triennale di Milano)
The 22nd International Exhibition of the Triennale, entitled “Broken Nature: Design Takes on Human Survival” and curated by Paola Antonelli, will take place from March through September 2019.
The Palazzo dell’Arte was built between 1931 and 1933 after a design by architect Giovanni Muzio who conceived it as a flexible, multi-functional container. From an urban planning point of view, the new palace completed the ensemble of buildings located on the orthogonal axes crossing Parco Sempione: the Sforza Castle and the Arch of Peace at opposite ends of the longitudinal axis, and the neoclassical Arena and the Palazzo dell’Arte at those of the transverse axis.
The building is characterized by a classic and sober style which emphasizes its monumentality but also features large glazed openings and saw-tooth roofs as a reference to industrial architecture.
Internally, functional flexibility was obtained by designing large galleries which could be divided into smaller exhibition spaces, thus making the palace an early example of a “machine for exhibiting”.
In plan, the Palazzo is a long rectangle with a large apse at its south-east side. On the transverse axis. Muzio placed the monumental entrance portico, followed by a lobby, a restaurant, and a terrace opened onto the garden; from the lobby, a large stair leads to the first floor. The exhibition galleries flank the building’s longitudinal axis on both sides.
Triennale Design Museum
The Triennale Design Museum features semi-permanent exhibitions, named “editions”, whose theme and layout change periodically, aimed to present the best of Italian design under different points of view to emphasize its diversity.
Since 2007, the Design Museum Editions have been: The Seven Obsessions of Italian Design (First Edition 2007-2009); Series, Off Series (Second Edition, 2009/2010); The Things We Are (Third Edition, 2010/2011); Dream Factories (Fourth Edition, 2011/2012); TDM5 Grafica Italiana (Fifth Edition, 2011/2012); Design, The Syndrome of Influence (Sixth Edition, 2013/2014); Italian Design Beyond the Crisis. Autarky, Austerity, Autonomy (Seventh Edition, 2014/2015); Kitchens & Invaders (Eighth Edition, 2015/2016); W. Women in Italian Design (Ninth Edition, 2016/2017), and Giro Giro Tondo. Design for Children (Tenth Edition, 2017/2018).
Along with the Design Museum Editions, the diverse program of events and activities of the Triennale includes special exhibitions, conferences, seminars, film screenings, live performances, and special events.
Palazzo dell’Arte, north-east facade; foreground, the sculpture Florian and Kevin by Sarah Lucas; photo Inexhibit
Giovanni Muzio, drawing of the north-east facade of the Palazzo dell’Arte in Milan; source Lombardia Beni Culturali / Archivio Civico Milano
Giovanni Muzio, Palazzo dell’Arte, Milan, ground floor plan and longitudinal section; drawings by Lorenzo Lottaroli
La Triennale di Milano, the lobby of the Palazzo dell’Arte. Photo Inexhibit, 2014.
La Triennale di Milano, Triennale Design Museum, 7th edition, 2014, Italian Design Beyond the Crisis, photo Inexhibit.
La Triennale di Milano, the exhibition “Arts and Foods”, photos Inexhibit, 2015
La Triennale di Milano, Triennale Design Museum, 9th edition, 2016/17, ‘W. Women in Italian design’ photo Inexhibit.
La Triennale di Milano, Triennale Design Museum, 10th edition, 2017/18, ‘Giro Giro Tondo. design for children’; photo Inexhibit
Cover image: main entrance of the Palazzo dell’Arte / La Triennale di Milano on Viale Alemagna street; photo Inexhibit
Until January 2019, the ‘Triennale di Milano’ features the eleventh edition of its Design Museum exhibition entitled “Stories. Italian Design”
From October 6, 2018, the Triennale di Milano hosts a major exhibition to celebrate 100th years since the birth of Italian designer Achille Castiglioni