Milan 2012: Paolo Lomazzi, Donato D’Urbino and Jonathan De Pas
We’re almost at the end of our Milan 2012 coverage.
Not because we’ve run out of themes; but have run out of time.
In the coming weeks we’ve got the opening of the Gerrit Rietveld exhibition at the Vitra Design Museum, the opening of the Marcel Breuer Exhibition at Bauhaus Dessau, Belgrade Design Week, DMY Berlin, Design Miami Basel, and all in addition to a couple of further interviews in connection with “British Design” at the V&A London and “Bauhaus: Art as Life” at the Barbican Art Gallery.
It’s simply time to move on.
However, before we leave the Lombardy metropolis for another, and as ever hopefully final, year there is one story we wanted to share.
During Milan Design Week the Triennale Design Museum traditionally open numerous exhibitions, and the 2012 selection includes “Il gioco e le regole”; a tribute to Paolo Lomazzi, Donato D’Urbino and Jonathan De Pas, three important members of that community of Milanese “furniture architects” who were responsible for establishing the Italian design myth that perpetuates until today.
And of course who also made Milan Design Week and Furniture Fair what it is. For lest we forget the whole shebang kicked off in 1961 as nothing more ostentatious than a sales platform for Milanese manufactures like Cassina, Kartell or Artemide.
Following their graduation from the Politecnico di Milano in 1966 Paolo Lomazzi, Donato D’Urbino and Jonathan De Pas established their own studio and in 1968 released one of their most famous works, the Blow inflatable chair for Zanotta. Not only one of the true icons of Pop Art but also a product that established the trios reputation for playful, modern objects that helped move Italian furniture away from its classical, conservative form language.
In the following years came a series of further design classics including the sofa Joe for Poltronova, the clothes rack Sciangai for Zanotta or the genial Chica demountable kid’s chair for BBB Bonacina.
Jonathan De Pas sadly passed away in 1991, but Paolo Lomazzi and Donato D’urbino are still active and one of their most recent projects, the table Saturno for De Padova, was released in 2008.
In addition to furniture Paolo Lomazzi, Donato D’Urbino and Jonathan De Pas have also completed numerous architecture, film and exhibition design projects.
Including the design for “Il gioco e le regole”.
Sadly as with the majority of designers from the golden era of Italian design Paolo Lomazzi and Donato D’Urbino speak next to no English. And our Italian famously doesn’t extend much beyond Woody Boyd’s “Sono stato orribilmente mutilato in un incidente ferroviario. Si prega di spararmi”. Consequently a proper conversation with Paolo Lomazzi and Donato D’Urbino was not possible.
However the limited communication was enough to organise a couple of quick photos. And during the organising of the photos it was clear just how much life, fun and creativity remains in the pair. Which was wonderful to experience. And for us much more valuable than seeing any new project.
Designer’s aren’t just machines who create new products for the market. They’re people. And from the designer’s character, experiences and understanding of the world comes the work.
Something that in our modern, image driven digital world is often forgotten or willfully ignored. In the presence of Paolo Lomazzi and Donato D’Urbino you couldn’t ignore even if you wanted to.
And that was the perfect tonic before the Milan madness started.
And the exhibition?
Although wonderful to see such an excellent collection of furniture, in addition to numerous prototypes and pre-production models, in one space, we couldn’t escape the feeling that the exhibition was simply tagged on to the rest of the programme so that the Triennale Design Museum could tick the “Italian Legends” box on their “Milan 2012: To Do” list.
For us it simply didn’t go deep enough and didn’t properly explain and analyse the role played by Paolo Lomazzi, Donato D’Urbino and Jonathan De Pas in the story of Italian design. For that is was simply too small. Too abridged. As we say, too apologetic.
Which we found a bit of a shame.
That said, if your in Milan a visit to the Triennale Design Museum can always be recommended: And if your there you shouldn’t miss “Il gioco e le regole”.
“De Pas, D’Urbino e Lomazzi. Il gioco e le regole” can be viewed at the Triennale Design Museum Milan until June 17th 2012.