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Gae Aulenti: A Creative Universe  (© Vitra Design Museum - ph: Bettina Matthiessen) 

| Designbest editorial staff


projects that trace the career of Gaetana Aulenti, the versatile Italian architect and designer who made her mark on the 20th century. Gae Aulenti: A Creative Universe at the Vitra Design Museum pays homage to the Friulana designer’s creativity starting from her first works made for Poltronova, the Tuscan company that in the sixties worked with Design Radicale of which Gae was part: the Sgarsul armchair, the Stringa sofa and the tubular metal outdoor furniture Locus Solus.

Nearby, other innovative projects stand out like the Giova lamp designed for FotanaArte and the versatile and multiuse objects in the Rimorchiatore set. Gae Aulenti has always proposed designs that look outside the box. One of the first women to make her way by breaking the rules in an essentially masculine professional world, the designer created over 700 projects in architecture and designer objects, also working on interiors, scenography, costumes and exhibition outfittings.

Her creative universe and prolific work are still relatively unknown compared to what is deserved. The exhibition’s curator Tanja Cunz described it as “undeserved negligence which the Vitra Design Museum seeks to remedy with this exhibition.”

The exhibition does in fact want to open the doors to this world made up of iconic designer objects like the legendary Pipistrello lamp designed for Martinelli Luce, the glasses of Venini, the appliances of Trabo and her better known interior architectural projects: one only needs to consider the Olivetti showroom in Paris and Buenos Aires in 1966-68 or the Gare d’Orsay project in Paris (1980-1986), landing her international fame in one of the most famous art museums of the 20th century. And her work renovating Palazzo Grassi in Venice in 1985-86 and reconstructing Palau Nacional del Montujuic in Barcelona from 1985-1992 is not to be forgotten.

A design story complemented by photographs, sketches, drawings, documentaries and video interviews that recounts an eclectic figure who was not very interested in maintaining a homogenous style, but rather was pushed by the desire to “provide visionary solutions to problems”, as Cinz explained. The results are “creations that share a surprising formal language and emblematic silhouettes which remain unforgettable.” 


Where: Schaudepot, Vitra Design Museum, Charles Eames Strasse, Weil am Rhein, Germany
When: until October 11, 2020


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