rtist, architect, designer, painter, writer, critic … Mendini is all of the above and in no particular order. To put it simply, he might be described as a “great master” and yet he defies rhetoric and probably wouldn’t be comfortable with neither of these terms. What is certain is that behind his calm voice lies a lively and active player in architecture and design fields; his witty and yet wistful look stands for one of the most creative and provocative personalities; and his delicate appearance reveals one the greatest designers of the 20th century. Alessandro Mendini has been a key player throughout contemporary design history. He has been a versatile director and founder of several important magazines – Domus, Casabella, Modo – which were central to a conversation on design. What’s more, he has been catalyst for many new ideas and creator of memorable pieces which have gained iconic status over time. Mendini has often resisted being labeled. However, we would like to describe him as a tireless visionary explorer, a story-teller, who uses words, pictures and colours to build whimsical imaginary maps and objects with a story to tell. His art is poetic and has been able to re-establish emotional relationships and give human feelings their rightful place.
What does the word beauty mean for you?
Beauty is the quality I strive for.
What is the first item, room or place you remember?
The armchair I was put on next to my twin sister when I was born.
Is there an object you cannot live without?
The “tratto clip” pen and A4 size papers.
What is your secret corner or hiding place?
A sofa and some books next to it.
Which room in your home do you identify with the most?
The study room
Do you allow ugly objects in your home?
What does “design” mean for you?
It’s a poetic form of expression.
If you could be an item of design, what would you like to be and what object you wish you had invented?
I would like to be and I wish I had invented the Benvenuto Cellini salt cellar.
What bores you and what amuses you?
I’m bored by know-it-all, grumpy people. I’m amused by Western films.
If you weren’t Alessandro Mendini,who would you like to be?
A train ticket inspector.