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Vico Magistretti at the Milan Triennale

The Triennale di Milano dedicates an important retrospective exhibition to the work and poetics of Vico Magistretti, one of the great masters of Italian design.

On 11 May, the first major exhibition dedicated to Vico Magistretti (1920-2006), a leading figure in Italian design and internationally recognised, opened at the Triennale in Milan.
“The exhibition”, said Lorenza Baroncelli , Art Director of the Triennale, during the presentation of the show, “will be an absolute novelty because for the first time it will stage not only the design objects but also the architectural projects of Vico Magistretti”.

Article summary

  • Exhibition: the colour red
  • Iconic pieces of Made in Italy design
  • The first retrospective dedicated to Vico Magistretti
  • Vico Magistretti: relationship with Milan and international relevance
  • The great retrospectives on Italian designers
© Triennale Milano Photo by Gianluca Di Ioia

Exhibition: the colour red

The exhibition is curated by Gabriele Neri, while the installations are by Lorenzo Bini of studio Binocle. The leitmotif of the exhibition is the colour redVico Magistretti’s favourite colour. This love is evident in various aspects of the artist’s personal life, as he used to wear only red socks. This preference is also evident in his designs/products. Many are imagined in this colour and then declined in others. His inspiration also overflows into various architectural projects. The tower in Parco Sempione, for example, was to be entirely red.

“Red is capable of narrating in a sentimental way, but at the same time is precise, Magistretti’s disruptive, creative and charismatic personality and his extraordinary artistic sensitivity!” stressed Lorenzo Baroncelli about his almost propitiatory link with this colour.”


© Triennale Milano photo Gianluca Di Ioia

Icons of Made in Italy design



Vico Magistretti



Dalu Artemide, ©Archive Studio Magistretti – Vico Magistretti Foundation


Vico Magistretti: relationship with Milan
and international relevance

Vico Magistretti began working in 1945, at the end of his studies at the Milan Polytechnic. He began his professional career in his father’s studio in Via Conservatorio, which he never left. In the sixties he began collaborating with important Italian companies, Artemide, Cassina, Oluce, De Padova, Schiffini Mobili Cucine, Flou, Fritz Hansen, Kartell and Campeggi.

The exhibition was scheduled to open in 2020, on the occasion of the centenary of the birth of the architect-designer, who was born in 1920 and died in 2006. Due to restrictions caused by the spread of Covid, the opening was postponed to 2021, and in the end coincided with the long-awaited reopening of museums throughout Italy.

The city of Milan wanted to pay homage to Vico Magistretti with an exhibition celebrating his value and greatness as a designer and as an architect, as Stefano Boeri, President of Triennale Milano, stated: “Simplicity, elegance and genius are the three great components of Vico Magistretti’s design DNA, one of the main architects of that extraordinary story which, after World War II, thanks to the fruitful dialogue between designers and enlightened entrepreneurs, projected Italian design from Milan to the entire world”.

The relationship with the city of Milan, essential to all his work, is highlighted. His internationality is underlined. His authority abroad is conveyed through the numerous collaborations in England, Japan and the Nordic countries from which he drew new inspiration and for which he was a source.
The exhibition also includes true testimonials, called “tributes to Vico”, by some important designers of international renown. Among the many, Konstantin Grcic and Jasper Morrison, his students during the period in which he taught at the Royal Collage of Art in London, whose approach to design is strongly inspired by that of their master.

Major retrospectives on Italian designers

With the great retrospective dedicated to Vico Magistretti, the Triennale continues its path dedicated to the icons of Design icons. The culture of design is one of Milan’s strong points, a force so stimulating that it has transformed the city into one of the major reference points for designers and design enthusiasts from all over the world. As in the past, Milan continues to offer stimuli and challenges to promising young designers who find their source of inspiration in these artists

Jessica Loddo