The Triennale di Milano

The XXI Triennale di Milano International Exhibition opened on the 2nd April, with 40 countries involved, from the UK to Afghanistan and in 20 venues across the city, it’ll once again turn Milan into a city brimming with creativity and questions. After a twenty year hiatus it’s back with the title ‘21st Century. Design After Design’ and it hopes to be the design event of the year. Although, lets not forget the inaugural London Design Biennale this September, which has the no less provocative title of ‘Utopia by Design’.

La Triennale

Rooms – La Triennale

While at the press launch I had the overarching feeling that the Triennale wants to prove that Italy can be at the forefront of the technological world and the debate that surrounds it, even it’s logo is reminiscent of a computer cable. It describes itself as ‘not aiming to create visions of the future but rather to decipher the new millennium and identify the changes involved in the concept of planning the future.’ Such statements are always welcome in a world where we are routinely told that the planet and our future is looking bleak. Industrial design can of course shoulder some of the blame for this, so the fact that the subject is given such a huge event, with so many inventive minds, from so many different cultures, gives hope.

LOGO computer cable reference

Exhibitions such as ‘New Craft’ promise to ‘give visible form to the virtuous encounter between technological innovation and excellence in manufacturing’. With the very real threat of more than five million jobs being lost over the next five years to machines, I’ll be very interested to see these new digital manufacturing tools at work, and how they integrate and supplement the work and skills of people. The debate about how craft heritage and technology can work together has been discussed a lot recently, so the fact that the Triennale not only asks questions but also proposes answers, is very heartening to see.

La Triennale - Craft

La Triennale – Craft

Women in Italian Design_allestimento mostra 3_-® Gianluca Di Ioia - La Triennale-39

Women in Italian Design_allestimento mostra 3_-® Gianluca Di Ioia – La Triennale

One of the exhibitions that I got most excited about was ‘W. Women in Italian Design’; all you have to do is Google ‘Italian design Maestri’ to find that out of the 21 listed, only 3 are women. Curated by Silvana Annicchiarico it’ll ‘trace a new history of Italian design in the feminine, reconstructing the figures, theories, and approaches to design that were sown in the twentieth century.’ This is on at the Triennale Design Museum and runs from 2nd April 2016-19th February 2017.

Women in Italian Design_allestimento mostra 2_-® Gianluca Di Ioia - La Triennale-40

The Triennale di Milano has a huge wealth of exhibitions and events on offer. It’s use of design as a tool to critique and ask questions on subjects ranging from gender to multiculturalism, means it should definitely be in the diary of every creative thinker. Also, seeing as its running from the 2nd of April to the 12th of September you’ll have no excuse not to visit this already incredible city.

Words: Josh Plough


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