An “experiential” museum, a “narrative” museum. It has been called by different names, but will regardless be the first ADI Compasso d’Oro Design Museum. The project for this institution, which will become one of the biggest museums in Europe, was presented yesterday at Palazzo Lombardia, in the heart of Milan, the birthplace of the Compasso d’Oro in 1954 (an initiative by Gio Ponti) as well as ADI itself, established two years later and which, since 1958, has overseen the organisation.
Since then there have been 25 editions of this prestigious award, the oldest and most influential of its kind worldwide for design, now with a collection that numbers approximately 2300 pieces. This patrimony of ‘Made in Italy’ objects will thus find a permanent home in a dedicated museum space which intends to, in the words of Luciano Galimberti, ADI president, “surpass the traditional commemorative form in order to open itself up to the general public, for a captivating learning experience modelled after European museums of science and technology.”
The new cultural centre that the city of Milan will be able to count among its attractions as of next year will be located in the former industrial area between Via Ceresio and Via Bramante, near the Monumentale cemetary: a building measuring 5,135 square meters, of which 3,000 reserved for displaying the historic Compasso d’Oro collection (more than 2,000 pieces with new ones acquired at each subsequent edition of the award), a permanent exhibit with the objects that have been awarded since 1954, and thematic exhibits.
But the area will also be home to the ADI and ADI Foundation offices, meeting rooms, libraries, and ADI’s historic archives (which preserve over sixty years of historic documents from the world of Italian design), a bookshop, and a refreshment/catering area modelled after ADI’s experience in EXPO 2015.
A milestone in a journey that began in 2011, and that has synergistically involved Milan’s municipal administration (which invested approximately €6 million in the renovation), the Lombardy Region, and the ADI Foundation Compasso d’Oro Collection, which will allocate an additional €2 million for the initiative.
Meanwhile, the staging of the museum will be entrusted to trio Ico Migliore, Mara Servetto (Migliore+Servetto Architects), and Italo Lupi – whose design won the national competition held by ADI.
The idea is that of a ‘narrative museum’, “because the space must convey a story, capable of turning visitors into active protagonists,” explain the architects. “The designer, therefore, is no longer called upon to create an exhibition space, but rather to establish relationships: between space and objects, between objects and man, and between man and history.”
The Compasso d’Oro Design Museum will work alongside the Triennale Design Museum, which will be inaugurated this year on 8 April. Thus the city of Milan will have two new institutions, “ready to collaborate without overstepping each other,” as established in the agreement signed on 22 January and reiterated on occasion of yesterday’s press conference between the initiative’s leaders: Stefano Boeri, president of the Triennale; Luciano Galimberti, president of ADI; and Attilio Fontana for the Region.