features
#092 / 2009-2016
Uncovering Contemporary Furniture Collections

Museo del Design Industriale: Calenzano, Italy

Updated May 2016

In spring 2016 furniturelink revisited the Museo del Design Industriale, about 12 kilometres northwest of central Firenze (Florence) and four kilometres northeast of the giant I Gigli mall, via the nerve-wracking A1 autostrada. Since furniturelink's first visit in 2009, the museum relocated in 2013 to the new Design Campus of the Università Degli Studi Firenze, complete with cafe and shopping outlets, still in the bustling burb of Calenzano. Museo del Design Industriale continues to exhibit an exemplary collection of contemporary Italian furniture in one large, airy gallery.

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Museo del Design Industriale gallery
UP 5 Donna chair, Gaetano Pesce, 1969

The museum came together in 2005 when the Fondazione Anna Querci per il Design, the Industrial Design department of the Università Degli Studi Firenze and the city of Calenzano collaborated to present "Italian Beauty: 100 esemplari al top," an exhibition of Italian industrial design from 1960 to the present. The exhibition represented 55 manufacturers, many who donated furniture to the Fondazione, including Alias, Artemide, B&B Italia, Bonacina Pierantonio, Busnelli, Campeggi, Castelli, Driade, Emu, Fiam Italia, Giovannetti, Heron Parigi, Lago, Lapalma, Magis, Techno and Zonatta.

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(left) Dezza armchair, Giò Ponti, 1965
(right) Blow chair, De Pas, D'Urbino, Lomazzi, Scolari, 1967

In May 2006, with the establishment of the Museo del Design Industrial at the Centro Arte Design in Calenzano (the original location of the museum), approximately 100 pieces from this temporary exhibit found a permanent home. The new location now holds about half the original collection of furniture, with the balance a wide range of other examples of Italian industrial design, including light fixtures, glassware, ceramics, electronics, etc.

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(left) Ghost armchair, Cini Boeri and Tomu Katalangi, 1987
(right) Kenia chair, Vico Magistretti, 1995

The Museo del Design Industrial continues to expand its collection, recently adding Giò Ponti's Leggera dining chair (1956) and a table and chair set by Luciano Grassi and Sergio Conti (1959) to the original exhibition's legacy of about 50 items of furniture.

With too many designers and manufacturers to list from the original exhibition, a representative sample from the 1960s includes Gaetano Pesce (B&B Italia), Giò Ponti (Poltrona Frau), Vico Magistretti (Artemide); from the 1970s Joe Columbo (Flexform), Paolo Paragi (Heron Paragi), Guido M. Rosati (Giovannetti); from the 1980s Alessandro Mendini (Driade); from the 1990s Franco Bizzozzero (Bonacina Pierantonio), Antonia Astori (Driade); from this century Alberto Meda (Alias), Denis Santachiara (Campeggi), Fabio Bortolani (Lapalma), Konstantin Cric (Magis), Roberto Monsani (Acerbis).

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(left) Air chair, Jasper Morrison, 2000
(right) Poppy Star chair, Bartoli Design, 2000

The museum also displays temporary exhibitions and mounted the work of Italian architect and designer Giò Ponti in 2007. In 2009 it presented a 40-year retrospective of the Tuscany-based furniture manufacturer Giovannetti.

A visit to the new location of Calenzano's Museo del Design Industriale should be on the list of all aficionados of Italian design.

Website: www.fondazioneannaquerci.it

Where: Via Sandro Pertini, 89, Calenzano, Italy (about 12 km NW of central Florence near the Sesto Fiorentino/Calenzano exit from A1 autostrada)
Open Tuesday and Wednesday 9.00-13.30 and 14.00-17.00

Phone 39 055 2757056

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© furniturelink 2009/2016 except Florence image © Peter Fletcher.