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Gae Aulenti

Gae Aulenti

Gae Aulenti diseñadora italiana

Biography

Gaetana Aulenti was born in 1927 in Udine, Italy. She is a woman who has left a deep, sometimes controversial, mark on international architecture, scenography and industrial design. She graduated in architecture from the Politecnico di Milano in 1954 and began writing for the magazine Casabella.

Gae Aulenti was a design icon who - often against the tide and always asserting herself in a man's world - created everything from lamps, to museums, to theatrical scenographies.

During the 1970s, for example, he created numerous sets for operas at La Scala in Milan under the orders of director Luca Ronconi.

In a career spanning 60 years, Aulenti is one of the few women to have left her mark (not always by consensus) on international architecture, as well as on industrial and interior design.

Her parents raised her to be a respectable and idle daughter of a good family, but Gaetana never did what was expected of her. Personally, she was divorced twice and had only one daughter, the costume designer Giovanna Buzzi.

At the end of the war, unlike many of her contemporaries, she did not join the Modern Movement, which was predominant at the time, but took an active part in the so-called Neoliberty movement, which reacted against the coldness and monotony of the Bauhaus precepts, from the pages of the magazine Casabella.
Gae Aulenti was a design icon who - often against the tide and always asserting himself in a man's world - created everything from lamps, to museums, to theatrical stage sets.

During the 1970s, for example, he created numerous sets for operas at La Scala in Milan under the orders of director Luca Ronconi.

In a career spanning 60 years, Aulenti is one of the few women to have left her mark (not always by consensus) on international architecture, as well as on industrial and interior design.

Her parents raised her to be a respectable and idle daughter of a good family, but Gaetana never did what was expected of her. Personally, she was divorced twice and had only one daughter, the costume designer Giovanna Buzzi.

At the end of the war, unlike many of her contemporaries, she did not join the Modern Movement, which was predominant at the time, but took an active part in the so-called Neoliberty movement, which reacted against the coldness and monotony of the Bauhaus precepts, from the pages of the magazine Casabella.

Thanks to this stance, she was one of the architects of the image of post-war Italy and its booming industry, advocating the prevalence of individualism and the building traditions of each country.

Gae Aulenti began working as a freelance architect in Milan in 1956.
Over a career spanning almost 60 years, Aulenti worked independently on numerous projects.

Like many of his contemporaries, Aulenti designed several furniture series throughout the 1960s and 1970s for brands such as Kartell, Artemide, Stilnovo, FontanaArte, Martinelli Luce or for the La Rinascente shop.

She later designed furniture for Zanotta, where she created two of her best-known pieces, the folding chair "Abril", made of stainless steel, and her steel garden table "Sanmarco 2571".

She also served as vice-president of the Italian Association of Industrial Design (ADI).

In the early 1980s she was artistic director of FontanaArte, for which she designed legendary lamps and decorative objects that are still present in its catalogue, such as the "Giova" lamp (1964) and the "Tour" table (1993).

Together with Piero Castiglioni he designed the "Parola" family of lamps (1980), the "Diamante" wall lamps (1986), "Calle" (1988) and the "Diastema" spotlight (1994), all for FontanaArte.

His interior design work developed through a wide variety of styles and influences, as he always wanted the focus in the room to be on the occupants: "because people make the room a room".
In 1972 he participated in the exhibition Italy at MoMA in New York along with numerous other emerging designers and architects, including Marco Zanuso and Richard Sapper, Joe Colombo, Ettore Sottsass, Gaetano Pesce, Archizoom, Superstudio, Gruppo Strum and 9999.

Her architectural projects are many and very prestigious, including the Musée d'Orsay, Asian Art Museum (2003) in San Francisco; the National Art Museum of Catalonia (2004) in Barcelona, and others.

She understood that in order to design domestic environments effectively, it became necessary to establish a dialogue or harmony with the elements and qualities of the urban environment. In this way, architectural forms could be generated in which the private and public spheres shared their formal and stylistic complexity.

In 2012, days before her death, Gae Aulenti was awarded the Gold Medal of the Triennale di Milano for her artistic career in recognition of her position as one of the masters of Italian design.

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