Born 1931 Milan Italy
Profession Architect, writer and painter
He was editor in chief of the Italian magazines of architecture and design "Casabella", "Mondo" and "Domus". Books in several languages have been published on his personal work as well as the projects he has done inside the Atelier Mendini.
Alessandro Mendini cultivates a particular interest in neo- modern and contemporary design. He designs objects, furniture, interiors and installations.
He collaborates with international companies such as Cappellini, Alessi, Philips, Swarovski and Swatch. He is the artistic consultant to various manufacturers â€“ providing direction for design and brand identity strategies.
Alessandro Mendini is an honorary member of the Bazalel Academy of Arts and Design of Jerusalem and has been awarded with the Italian prize for design and architecture Compasso d'Oro. He holds an honorary title from the Architectural League of New York as well as the title of "Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres" from the French republic. His work is represented in museums and private collection all over the world.
With his brother Francesco, he opened the Atelier Mendini in Milan, Italy in 1989. Within the Atelier, he proceeded to take on such projects as the Alessi residence in Omegna, Italy; the theater complex "Teatrino della Bicchieraia" in the Tuscan city of Arezzo; the Forum Museum in Omegna, Italy; a memorial tower for the seaport of Hiroshima, Japan; the Groningen Museum in the Neatherlands; the Arosa Casino in Switzerland and other buildings in Europe.
We say that the French have a certain "joie de vivre," but Italians have something else more difficult to label. Italian culture couples a love of beauty with an ability to laugh at itself. The designs of Milan-born architect Alessandro Mendini embrace this attitude with their color and humor -- though beneath the fun, they actually address a serious design consciousness.
After undertaking formal studies at Politecnico de Milano, Mendini gained a broad knowledge of contemporary design by editing at magazines like Casabella, Modo, and Domus. His works are often critiques of design in general: utilizing well-known designs of others, he makes jovial "re-creations" using new materials and embellishments. To make sure his good-natured pokes gets across, Mendini almost always gives his "re-creations" an overly decorative treatment.
Among others, Mendini has redesigned the "Wassily" originally by Marcel Breuer, "Superleggera" by Gio Ponti, and the "Universale" by Joe Colombo -- all famous chairs in their own right. In defense of such hubris, he has stated that "true innovation is not possible in respect of what has gone before." His whimsical, bright, topical treatments speak more to cartoons than to fine craftsmanship, as they attempt to strip away all pretensions of Modernism.
His "anti-design" theories marked the birth of symbolic language in design, and he considers each piece of furniture an architectural work in itself. Similarities to the Italian design group, Memphis, are readily apparent. In fact, Mendini often collaborates with other design groups, including Studio Alchymia.
Mendini's Neo-Modern philosophies gained fame in the 1980s, and no doubt led to his appointment as art director for Swatch Labs. He th artists-turned-superstars like Basquiat and Schnabel, Doonan cultivated refined designs that reflected the neighborhood's cool attitude.