Armando Milani (Milan, 1940) is a leading figure on the international graphic design scene. A member of the Alliance Graphique Internationale since 1983, he has designed logos, corporate identities, books, packaging and posters for prestigious clients such as Ciga Hotels, De Padova, Montecatini Edison, Touring Club d’Italia and the United Nations. Today, he is making his debut in the world of interior design thanks to a collaboration with the prestigious carpet manufacturer Atelier Tapis Rouge.
Tapis Rouge aims to pay homage to the aesthetics and spirit of a crucial period in Milani’s career: the 1970s, a decade of fervent experimentation, revolution and expressive freedom, a period in which the designer realised some of his most important projects. Today, four of these, like the images – created with the photographer Mario Carrieri using folded strips of paper – are reinterpreted on a grand scale in the Emozioni, Groviglio, Illusione and Connessioni rugs (a project curated by Natalia Enze, creative director of Tapis Rouge), which will make their official debut during Milano Design Week.
Milani explains how his work in the 1970s was influenced by various sources, including Bauhaus and Swiss graphic design, great Italian graphic designers such as Franco Grignani and A.G. Fronzoni, and artists he greatly admired such as Lucio Fontana and Enrico Castellani.
After studying at the Umanitaria with Albe Steiner, from whom, as Milani says, “I learnt how to draw, but above all I learnt ethics”, the designer opened his studio in Milan and worked with masters such as Giulio Confalonieri and Antonio Boggeri. In ’78, another turning point: Milani moved to New York on the advice of Massimo Vignelli, another milestone of Italian graphic design in the world.
“Thanks to Vignelli, I went to New York and it was a revolution in my life,” says the designer, “with him I completely changed the way I worked. When you do corporate identity, you have to be pragmatic and less of a dreamer. I became less of a dreamer and more of a professional.”
In the whirlwind of hectic New York life, in a more recent chapter of his extraordinary career, Milani returned to his beginnings and his mentors, embracing Steiner’s ethics and rediscovering the power of translating his emotions into images. A story that is now enriched by a new chapter.