Triennale Milano has opened a new installation dedicated to the Italian designer, including the reconstruction of a 1967 apartment designed for a friend
Triennale Milano, the art and design institution housed within the Palazzo dell’Arte in central Milan, has opened a major new installation dedicated to iconic Italian architect and designer Ettore Sottsass (1917-2007), best known for founding the Memphis Group in 1980. Titled Sala Sottsass, the museum’s installation includes the reconstruction and permanent display of a Milan apartment interior Sottsass designed in 1967 for a friend.
The apartment, known as Casa Lana, centres around a wooden structure with integrated shelving and decorative mashrabiya-like screens which let light permeate. Within this, three sleek sofas are arranged to create a protected place to sit and socialise. As Sottsass himself described in a 1967 article on the project in Domus magazine: ‘A little piazza is created, where one can move and meet.’ The whole ensemble is set on a deep maroon-pink carpet, and complemented by various artworks.
Photograph from the 1967 Domus article on Casa Lana, by Toni Nicolini
Apart from the Domus article, this is the first time the interior project has been unveiled to the public. The apartment was dismantled and reassembled exactly as it was, in collaboration with Iskra Grisogono of Studio Sottsass and the family of the original owner. ‘Milan is now home to an authentic time machine, created by one of the international geniuses of the twentieth century,’ says Stefano Boeri, president of Triennale Milano.
Alongside this permanent interior installation, Sala Sottsass hosts a series of exhibitions and events in adjacent spaces, curated by Marco Sammicheli and highlighting different aspects of the designer’s works and ideas. The first exhibition, Ettore Sottsass: Structure and colour, includes paintings, drawings, photographs and objects that reveal Sottsass’s focus on the relation between people, rituals, space and colour.
Opening in May 2022, the second exhibition – Ettore Sottsass: The calculation – examines how the designer worked with numbers and technology, including his collaboration with Italian brand Olivetti. The third show, Ettore Sottsass: The word (opening December 2022), will explore the narrative and literary power of Sottsass’ work.
Installation photography by Gianluca Di Ioia