one-of-a-kind collector’s item, this vinyl album is undoubtedly a treasure for music as well as design enthusiasts. Architettura Sussurrante is a unique and largely unheard-of musical experiment that Alessandro Mendini conducted in 1983 with the collaboration of the Matia Bazar (an Italian electro-pop band popular in the eighties) and the theatrical company Magazzini Criminali. So, to commemorate this iconic architect, passed away February last year, the record company Industrie Discografiche Lacerba (distributed by Audioglobelo) has brought back, in a limited edition, 300 LPs in clear vinyl, CDs and a digital download, all with a cover designed by the New York studio Anti-B Design.
Throughout his extensive career Alessandro Mendini, one of the most important architects and designers of the twentieth century, has designed a vast range of products, from furniture to entire schemes, from paintings to books and from installations to architecture. Few people however, are aware that his many accomplishments include this disk (released in 2000 copies and one is indeed found at the MoMA in New York), influenced by a multidisciplinary method popularised by Alchimia, an Italian design movement co-founded by Mendini himself.
According to Alchimia, you are able to create a new language by blending together industry, information technology, manufacturing techniques and materials, current as well as dated. The tracts included in Architettura Sussurrante are a striking example as in fact they detach “musical design” from its original contents, reproducing it with the help of conceptual references and unprecedented visions.
"When we close our eyes and try to perceive architecture in a comprehensive way, more anthropological than geometric, here is the smell, the touch, the warmth, the darkness of architecture. (...) If we then place our ears close to the walls of a room, they speak to us, they tell us their message, their whispering architecture, the lullaby accumulated by the generations that within those walls have had life and death, joy and pain" Alessandro Mendini stated. In fact, experimental sounds, noise, diction and sensations are entwined from the first track, Casa Mia, in which the notes of the pop band accompany an excerpt of an editorial article written by Mendini for the magazine Modo in 1979.
Architettura sussurrante pays tribute to the band’s electro-pop sound that the ex Matia Bazar member Mauro Sabbione was especially keen to bring back in an effort to remember the iconic architect though his words. In fact, Mendini’s words and nursery rhymes bring architecture to life, similarly to the song “La casa è la casa è la casa è”.
Additionally to the old disk, the band’s keyboard player has proposed an unprecedented digital version, available in streaming too (Youtube and Spotify), of the brand Casa Mia. Here, he reports Mendini’s entire editorial that he is subsequently going to perform live in clubs and theatres during the world tour NOE.
"The house has a floor as viscous as honey, the feet stick to it and you can no longer get out / The house is a backpack so huge and swollen above our shoulders, that every movement becomes impossible / The house is the hypocritical refuge for those who fear the misfortunes of life" Mendini wrote.
In fact, this extract captures the essence of the entire disk and similarly to Alessandro Mendini’s design, is pure poetry.
Watch the Lacerba promotional video "Architettura Sussurrante di Alessandro Mendini"