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The rational furniture design in Italy 1928-1949

17 February 2022

The rational furniture design in Italy 1928-1949

After the exhibition “Il '900 Ritrovato” in 2019, the Ca' Pisani Design Hotel is renewing its collaboration with the dealer, antiquarian and expert connoisseur of the twentieth century, the Bolognese Maurizio Marzadori (already known for his private collection of children's furniture and vintage toys) and presenting for the first time to the public a significant corpus of furnishings and accessories: the result of over thirty years of work and research on Italian Rationalist furniture. Today this material is at the centre of the exhibition curated by Valerio Borgonuovo and by Marzadori himself.

Italian Rationalism originated in 1928 with the founding of the Italian Movement for Rational Architecture (MIAR) by a new generation of architects from the Milan Polytechnic and in the span of twenty years it expressed all the conflicting views towards new Modernist Architecture which resulted in a questioning of the absolute value of those models, while at the same time by adapting them to a local and national style.

On this premise, the movement operated a lot on a theoretical level, also and above all through the numerous sector magazines born in those years: Rassegna Italiana, La Casa Bella (later renamed Casabella with Giuseppe Pagano as director), Domus founded in 1928 by Giò Ponti, Quadrante and Edilizia Moderna; as well as on an operative level with works in architecture and furniture.

The movement’s relationship with Fascism is ambivalent, controversial and at last irreconcilable (but for all that, undeniably productive) and thus with the architectural representation of a new society founded on that ideology.
The entry into an autarchic regime around 1936, not only made inevitable but rather accelerated the process of participation of new designers in the identification of new techniques, materials (and respective applications) such as reinforced concrete, linoleum, stratified, solid and curved wood, steel pipes and profiles, light alloys, straw, rope, etc.

A process that generated extraordinary combinations between designer and producer thanks also to the contribution of enlightened companies such as A. L. Colombo - Mobili Razionali Columbus, Cova, Maggioni, Olivetti, Palini, Antonio Parma and Figli (Pas), Pino, Rima, Valabrega, and others again, whose contribution in those years in defining the figure of the architect-interior designer will be fundamental.

Figini and Pollini, Mucchi, Nizzoli, Pagano, Palanti, Ponti, Rambaldi, and Terragni are only some of the authors of the over sixty works selected among the main protagonists of that experience, alternating with authors of works of equal quality but still in the identification phase, within that suggestive vertical transatlantic of the early twentieth century that is precisely today the Hotel Ca' Pisani, a real Art Deco gem enclosed within the late fourteenth-century walls of its historic building.

To those works a selection of office objects, knick-knacks, and toys (already part of the private collection of children's furniture and vintage toys of Maurizio Marzadori) added, which, in decreeing their rank of their true style, make this rare retrospective on Italian Rationalism an even more unique opportunity to get to know an extraordinary collection like this with the firm Freak Andò by Maurizio Marzadori in Bologna, now for the first time on display.

At the same time, this exhibition also gives the opportunity to deepen a page in the history of Italian furniture which, more than a century after its writing, proves capable of still offering ample scope for research and surprise.

Press contacts:
Maurizio Marzadori / Freak Andò email | mobile +39 3356569151
Valerio Borgonuovo email | +39 3403467731
Marianna e Gianni Serandrei email

The rational furniture design in Italy 1928-1949
Furniture and accessories from the rationalist collection of Freak Andò by Maurizio Marzadori
Curated by Valerio Borgonuovo and Maurizio Marzadori
Staging by Gianni Serandrei
3 March - 19 May 2022
Every day from 9am to 7pm
Free entry - Super Green Pass required

Photographic images © Andrea Melloni

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