The Vitra Design Museum pays homage to an important Italian architect and designer in the exhibition “Gae Aulenti: A Creative Universe”, inaugurated on 28 February 2020 at Vitra Schaudepot, the exhibition centre for objects from the museum’s permanent collection designed by Herzog & De Meuron.
“Gae Aulenti: A Creative Universe” explores the buildings and objects designed by one of Italy’s most influential post-war architects and designers with the aim of adding to the architect’s international fame. Gae Aulenti’s iconic designs, such as the "Locus Solus" series (1964), "Pipistrello" lamps (1965) and "Re Sole" (1967), have contributed to the rise of Italian design to world fame since the 1960s.
The exhibition at the Vitra Schaudepot explores all Gae Aulenti’s work, not only her architectural projects and product designs but her interiors, stage sets, exhibitions and costumes, including 35 objects Aulenti designed over the course of her career, complete with photographs, sketches and designs for interiors and architectural projects, and screenings of documentary films and interviews.
The items selected are only a few of the furnishings and accessories Gae Aulenti designed in the course of her career and used to furnish her own house or the ones she designed. The exhibition opens with items she designed for Poltronova, such as her piece item of furniture, "Sgarsul" (1962), the "Stringa" sofa (1963) and the "Locus Solus" series of garden furniture (1964). It continues with products developed for Zanotta, such as a tubular steel version of "Locus Solus" (1964), the "Aprilina" folding chair (1964) and subsequent versions produced from the seventies on. The lamps she designed concurrently for FontanaArte demonstrate the architect’s use of diverse materials and her innovative approach to her work, such as the "Giova" glass lamp and vase (1964) and the "Rimorchiatore" hybrid lamp (1967). Gae Aulenti’s professional career began with interior design projects for famous Italian industrialist Olivetti’s showrooms in Paris (1966/67) and Buenos Aires (1968), and continued with the architectural projects that brought her world fame. These include her plans for Gare d'Orsay in Paris, converted from a railway station into a museum (1980-1986), the interiors of MNAM - Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris (1982-85), the renovation of Palazzo Grassi in Venice (1985 – 86), and the reconstruction of Palau Nacional in Montjuïc, Barcelona (1985 – 1992), which then became the Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya. The exhibition also includes a selection of lesser-known works such as designs for make-up packaging, vases and other objects demonstrating the Italian architect and designer’s great versatility and her unusual sensibility and ability to respond to specific needs with objects that have become icons of Italian style and design.
Images courtesy of Archivio Gae Aulenti and Vitra Design Museum
photos by Aldo Ballo (04, 07), Santi Caleca (05), Erich Hartmann (06), Andreas Jung, RM (01, 03), Andreas Sütterlin, Hans Visser (02).
Exhibition title: Gae Aulenti: A Creative Universe
Curator: Tanja Cunz
Duration: 29.02. – 11.10.2020
Opening: 28 February 2020, 6.30 pm
Location: Vitra Schaudepot, Charles-Eames-Str. 2 - 79576 Weil am Rhein, Germany
Opening hours: Daily 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Hashtag: #VitraSchaudepot #GaeAulenti