Mourning has filled the world of interior design. Italian architect and interior designer Alessandro Mendini, famed for designs including the Proust armchair and the Groninger Museum, has passed away aged 87. Being one of those who was at the front row of the radical design movement of the 1960’s, Mendini produced influential works of architecture, interior design, exclusive furniture and lighting through his 60-year career.
As a writer, Alessandro Mendini has collaborated with Italian design magazines Casabella, Modo and Domus as their editor.
Mendini died yesterday, 18 February. A lot of celebrities and professionals of the interior design world have paid tribute to Mendini, such as the designer and postmodernism expert Adam Nathaniel Furman, who described Mendini as “a figure of staggering importance, and a beautiful mind who helped open up horizons”. Also, Italian critic Francesca Oddo described Mendini as “the protagonist of a real revolution in design”.
Alessandro Mendini was born in Milan in 1931 and graduated in 1959. He is an architect, artist, interior designer and design manager, theorist and journalist and began his profession at the Nizzoli studio. In 1970 he gave up planning to concentrate on journalism relating to architecture and design: He has edited Casabella, Modo and Domus through which he has transmitted his ideas of renewing the world of design. In the late 70’s he went back to designing and various projects and in 1979 joined the Alchimia Studio.
With Alchima he created objects, furniture, environments, paintings, installations and architectural works. Among his most significant works during this period were the Groningen Museum and the reinvention of the Alessi image for whom he is meta-projectual consultant.
During this time he completed the Proust armchair, one of the most iconic and revolutionary chairs of the 20th century. It combined a baroque shape with a pointillist surface pattern, meaning its wooden frame and upholstery were covered in hundreds of tiny hand-painted dots.
In 1989 he opened the Atelier Mendini in Milan with his brother Francesco and continued his career as a sophisticated, pop designer. The key element is always a clever hybrid between art and design resulting in popular objects that achieve great commercial success. However he has made up most of his path into the interior design world, Alessandro Mendini has set up the lines for the modern architecture as we see it today.