I’m sure everyone who has been home furnishing shopping have seen these objects, but did you ever ask who was behind it or where did it come from? It was started by an Italian man called Alessandro Mendini who is a postmodernist making witty designs which are inspired by art.
Decades before the phrase ‘design-art’ become ubiquitous, Alessandro Mendini(1931) was doing his own version of the idea. In the late 1970s and early 80s, when Milan was emerging as the new design centre of the world, he put forward a postmodernist vision that borrowed from disparate sources, such as mass-produced pieces and historical styles.
He played an important part in the development of Italian design. He also worked, aside from his artistic career, for Casabella, Modo and Domus magazines.
His design has been characterized by his strong interest in mixing different cultures and different forms of expression; he creates graphics, furniture, interiors, paintings and architectures and wrote several articles and books; he is also renowned as an enthusiastic member of jury in architectural competition for young designers. Along with Branzi and Sottsass and with his presence in Global Tools and Radical design, he was the main force behind the renovation of Italian design in the 80’s. In the late 70’s he went back to designing and various projects and in 1979 joined the Alchimia Studio. This group of radical designers in the 80’s in Memphis had upset functionalist designers by designing objects for sheer artistic pleasure and by referring to popular culture and kitsch. This was well outside the norms of industrial production and practicality. 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. 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.