‘The Art of Italian Design’

It begins with celebrated architect/designer Alessandro Mendini’s monumental Proust’s Chair, standing proud outside the Athens Concert Hall’s new wing. It then continues inside, where an exhibition of Italian design demonstrates the unique power of a country when it comes to a certain art of living. Organized under the auspices of the Ministry of Culture, «The Art of Italian Design» is part of the Megaron Plus series and runs at the Athens Concert Hall until November 15. The show’s concept and design was undertaken by Alessandro and Francesco Mendini, Sotirios Papadopoulos and the Atelier Mendini. Design as an applied art A pillar of contemporary Italian design, Alessandro Mendini considers design to be an applied art, given a serious style twist. Being a low-key man himself, he uses his work as a means of communicating with the rest of the world. From the Groningen Museum in the Netherlands to his collaboration with powerhouse Alessi, for instance, the architect/designer’s vision has played a significant part in the development of Italian design. At the Athens Concert Hall, the exhibition offers a plethora of objects, ideas and themes, combining the past with the present. Rather than providing a history of Italian design through some kind of chronological, or even period, order, the show demonstrates the design thread that unites Renaissance pottery with today’s love of plastic. By providing examples of contemporary Italian design’s five principal movements – Futurism, Bel Design, Radical Design, Alchimia and Memphis – the exhibition explores the history of Italian artisanship, the influence of art on design, the importance of interior design as well as the future prospects of the movement. Tribute is also rendered to great masters such as Achille Castiglioni, Vico Magistretti, Enzo Mari, Carlo Mollino, Gio Ponti and Ettore Sottsass. Creative spectrum Design covers the spectrum of creativity, ranging from the beautiful to the practical and the humorous to the kind of design that becomes a comment on our society. At the Athens Concert Hall, Piero Fornasetti’s timelessness goes hand in hand with the modernism of Marc Newson and Karim Rashid, while Massimiliano Adami’s furniture made of recycled materials points to the necessity of working in an increasingly eco-friendly way. By mixing and matching, what «The Art of Italian Design» does best is to demonstrate that design – and in this case Italian design – makes the world a better, more exciting place. Athens Concert Hall, 1 Kokkali & Vas. Sofias, tel 210.728.2333.

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