The LR100 – Rinascente Stories of Innovation exhibition at the Milan Palazzo Reale opened this week and will be on until September 24th . This exhibition celebrates the 100th anniversary of the name of the great Milanese company which was conceived by Gabriele D’Annunzio at the behest of Senator Borletti who bought the Bocconi department stores in 1917. Through an exceptional variety and quantity of works of art, graphics, design objects, historical images and previously unpublished contributions, the public will have the chance to discover how la Rinascente wrote several important chapters in the history of our customs and habits, communication, and large-scale retail stores.
A special section has been reserved for one of the most significant chapters in the company’s history: the Compasso d’Oro Award. Created in 1954, it was subsequently managed – first in partnership, then independently – by ADI, the Association for Industrial Design. This association was the result of an idea by Gio Ponti together with la Rinascente’s desire to promote Italian design as a factor in the development of the economy and the spreading of Italian culture throughout the rest of the world.
In the Appartamento dei Principi in the Palazzo Reale, 16 Compasso d’Oro winning objects are on display which cover the time period from 1954 to 1964, the period in which la Rinascente and ADI collaborated most closely on the management of the Award.
Among the objects on display are Bruno Munari’s little Zizi monkeys (Pigomma, 1954) which represent the ironic application of a new material through the turning of an important industrial object into a toy; Marcello Nizzoli’s famous portable Lettera 22 typewriter (Olivetti, 1954), the first announcement of the period regarding writing on the move that is still with us today; Achille and Pier Giacomo Castiglioni’s Luminator Lamp (Gilardi & Barzaghi, 1955), a domestic compendium of rationalist Italian language and Marco Zanuso and Richard Sapper’s Doney TV (Brion Vega, 1962), a new star on the domestic scene.
The selection on display at the Palazzo Reale is an anthology of the decade in which Italian design began to establish itself worldwide thanks to designers and businesses and is part of a much wider heritage, the Compasso d’Oro Historical Collection which is managed by the ADI Foundation and which will soon be housed in a permanent venue in Milan and open to the public.
Today this heritage can count on a renewed partnership between ADI and la Rinascente: the latter has in fact become part of the ADI Compasso d’Oro Collection Foundation as a participating member and will therefore actively contribute to the conservation and restoration of objects in the collection.