Everyone knows that Vico Magistretti was one of the protagonists of the exhibition “Italy: the New Domestic Landscape” organized at MoMA New York in 1972 as a tribute to Italian design. In that show, Magistretti had seven products in the Objects section. But what no one knew, until a short time ago, was that he had also proposed a concept on the theme of future dwelling, intended for the other section of the show, Environments, which presented installations by 12 Italian architects and designers. The project was not selected and remained on paper. Today it has been rediscovered in the archives of Fondazione Magistretti, and it becomes the focus of the exhibition “The conquest of space.”
The event that opens today at the Foundation on Via Bellini in Milan will remain on view until 29 February 2024. Curated by Matilde Cassani, Gabriele Neri and Luca Poncellini of the board of experts of Fondazione Vico Magistretti, the exhibition contains drawings and notes regarding the architect’s reflections on the optimization of spaces in our homes, and on the pursuit of better quality of life even in small dwellings. Hence the title’s “conquest of space.”
Magistretti summed up the project as follows: “From analysis of the use of volume in the home we can observe that in comparison with a very suffocating utilization of floorspace, there is only very limited or completely non-existent use of the volume available in the upper part of rooms. In particular, we can say that most of the furniture we require (above all the most bulky items) could be positioned elsewhere with respect to the floor. I am thinking about all the storage furniture, such as wardrobes, bookcases and so on. I would like to experiment with the possibility of ‘parking’ these items in the upper portion of the volume, creating a load-bearing ceiling from which to hang this furniture.”
The theme of habitation, transformation and flexibility continues in the show through other projects: from the accessorized lodgings developed with the producer of prefabricated components MBM, to the temporary housing of the Residence Siloe in the north of Milan; from the Piccy folding chair in 1946 to the design of an umbrella, which was one of Magistretti’s favorite objects, a perfect synthesis of functionality and simplicity.