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ANTHROPOMETRICS - Is the science of measuring the human stature, lenght of limbs and boby weith. The application of the results of anthropometric studies to the design of everyday objects is now standard practice for many manufacturers and designers.

ANTI-DESIGN - A movement that emerged in Italy during the later 1960s, following Ettore Sottsass's 1966 exhibition of furniture in Milan. The group rejected the formalist values of the neo-modern design movement in Italy and sought to renew the cultural and political role of design, believing that the original aims of Modernism had become no more than a marketing tool. In contrast to Modernism, the movement was founded on a belief in the importance of object's social and cultural value as well as its aesthetic function. Employing all the design values rejected by modernism, it embraced ephemerality, irony, kitsch, strong colors and distortions of scale to undermine the purely functional value of an object, and question concepts of taste, and "good design" . Sottsass spearheaded the activities which were carried out in individual groups; these were to consolidate as the Memphis group in the 1980s.

ANTI-MODERNISM - A movement originating in Italy through the activities of the Italian "Anti-Design" movement. By the end of the 1960s it had become an international concept as increasing numbers of designers rejected the formalist values of the Modern Movement.

ARCHIZOOM - Was an architectural studio founded in 1966 in Florence, Italy. Archizoom's designers included Andrea Branzi, Gilberto Corretti, Paolo Deganello, Dario & Lucia Bartolini and Massimo Morozzi. Its objects acted as ironic, post-Functionalist commentaries on the Modern Movement. Its Mies Chair of 1969, with its elastic seat, commented on the inadequacies of the Modernist aesthetic. In addition, the group made references to Pop, Kitsch and stylistic revivalism. Its 1970 no-stop city extended the idea of the city into infinity.

ART DECO - This luxurious style of furnishings and decoration it emanated from France in the ’20s but appeared in increasingly hybrid forms in Britain and the USA in the ‘30s. Stylistically, its furniture, products and architecture show a heavy, distorted and markedly rectilinear classicism and are “egyptianized” with little ornament.

ASPEN INTERNATIONAL DESIGN CONFERENCE - It was inaugurated in 1951. Is a week-long event held in Aspen, CO, and is famous among designers. It brings together international designers and architects for discussion on a different theme each year.

BANAL DESIGN - Refers to non-designed everyday objects. the term was coined in the 70's by Alessandro Mendini who believed that banal forms could give impulses to design.

BAUHAUS (1919-1933) - Founded in Germany by Walter Gropius, the Bauhaus design become the center of modernism and functionalism. Among many other things, the Bauhaus has been acclaimed for providing the methodological basis for design education in the 20th c.; exemplifying the Modern Movement; originating modern typography; and developing a design style which incorporated "new" materials, such as concrete, glass and steel, and which avoided ornaments.


BOLIDISMO - Design and architectural movement formed in 1986 by 15 young architects in Bologna. The "bolidistas" were interested in a flexible and "fast" lifestyle. They took their formal cues from Futurism, American streamline-style and 1950's aesthetics to create a boldly dynamic look.

COMPASSO D' ORO - The "golden compass", is the oldest and most prestigious design award in Italy. It was founded in Milan (1954) to promote new production based on a closer relation with postwar social developments. Originated by the major department store La Rinascente, it was taken over by the ADI (Association of Industrial Design) in 1957. Once a year producers submit products, which are judged by a jury and which subsequently form the basis of an exhibition.

CONSTRUCTIVISM - Was an artistic movement that emerged in Russia immediately after the revolution in 1917 and lasted until approx. 1922. It was the product of work, in particular by Vladimir Tatlin, Kasimir Malevich, Wassily Kandinsky, in the line with many contemporary international currents in painting and sculpture dating back to c. 1911. It was also influenced by such modern European practices as Cubism and Italian Futurism.

GLOBAL TOOLS - (1973-75)Design project and design school. Founders included Ettore Sottsass, Ugo La Pietra, Alessandro Mendini, Gaetano Pesce, Archizoom, Gruppo 9999 and Superstudio. Planned as design laboratories for free experimentation, Global Tools spawned Alchimia and Memphis.

MEMPHIS - Was founded in 1981 as a cultural operation started by architect Ettore Sottsass and a group of young Milanese architects and designers. Tired of the uniform, "bon goute" "bon genre" panorama projected by contemporary production, they wanted to promote and to make possible more up-to-date styles of living at home and of designing the environment. Examination of the designs that reached Memphis from all over the world, led to the conclusion that the Memphis idea, thought popular and immediately inviting, is hard to imitate. Some designers thought that a crooked leg or a range of pastel shades is enough to "make" Memphis. The immediately catching effect of Memphis springs not from its striking and colored figures, but from its intensity, which is the drawing of a complex cultural idea reached by the designers involved after years of research, debate, trials and alterations. Memphis is an attempt to restore to the furniture objects a functional and symbolic autonomy, a reassuring and consoling presence, a communicative impact. (from Memphis press release - 1982)



NEO-LIBERTY - An Italian style of design that emerged in the late 1950s with the aim of reviving Italian Art Nouveau. Through designing furnishings, lighting and interior design, exponents of the style such as Carlo Mollino sought to apply Art Nouveau to mass-produced objects and at the same time reintroduce a craft tradition to undercut the machine aesthetic of the Modern Movement.

NEO-MODERNISM - An Italian design movement that emerged in the 1950s. Inspired by 1930s rationalism, it is characterized by minimal forms, but, unlike its predecessor, it was also characterized by the new alliance with the world of contemporary fine art, organic sculpture in particular.

NOVECENTO MOVEMENT - A movement founded in Italy in the late 1920s which is characterized by a simplified neoclassical style of design. Although it was influenced by the decorative arts of France and Austria, it produced designs that were more overtly nationalistic than those of its contemporary architectural movement rationalism. The movement superseded Rationalism as the architectural style favored by the Italian Fascists.

POLITECNICO DI MILANO - Architecture school of Milan University. Almost all famous Italian designers studied here, (including Castiglioni, Bellini, Zanuso, Citterio, Colombo, Magistretti, Mendini, Ponti, Rossi...) many of them have also taught at the school.

RADICAL DESIGN - Emerged in the late 1960s and, like Anti-Design, aimed to break the tenets of "good design". It differed from anti-design, however, in that its political will to attack the ideological structures of the mainstream was stronger. Thus its exponents produced utopian proposal and manifestos which incorporated architecture, planning and design destined to change people's attitude to the shaping of the environment. Often the emphasis would be on user-intervention, altering the object to serve the consumer's particular needs. In addition, the subversion of dominant visual languages of design was seen as necessary, in order to undermine the visual codes used by mainstream capitalism. These proposals lost their vigor in the 1970s, due to mostly to the West's economic depression, as it became evident that they would never be carried out. They did , however, form an important background to the new design of the 1980s.

RE-DESIGN - Term used in Italy to describe reinterpretations of exhisting products. Raymond Loewy was an early, prominent representative of the concept with his restyling work on cars and other objects. it was picked by A. Mendini in the 70's as partof Alchimia's design project. Claiming that inventio of new forms was not possible anymore, Mendini ironically reinterpreted classic Bauhaus and Thonet chairs by covering pieces like Breuer's wassily chair with patterns or adding little flags.

STUDIO ALCHYMIA - Founded in Milan as a gallery by the architect Alessandro Guerriero. Guerriero offered designers space to exhibit their prototypes, thus freeing themfrom the constrains of industry. This allowed for a second wave of Anti-Design in Milan in the second half of the 1970s, though by now that movement had become more international. Thus the designers he approached in 1978 included Ettore Sottsass, Alessandro Mendini, Andrea Branzi, the UFO Group. Michele De Lucchi. Its first two collections, shown in 1979 and 1980, were ironically called "Bauhaus l" and "Bauhaus 2". Its forms included kitsch references and motifs recalling imagery from the 1950s - an obvious source in the collection' aims to amalgamate design and everyday life and culture. Mendini became the studio's key spokesman in the 1980s and he remained preoccupied with the ultimate inability of design to change society. He wrote, " the avant-garde is fated to play an isolated, aristocratic, restricted and brief role: a kind of enervating program of self-immolation consumes it and destroys it before it becomes widely acceptable". Thus Studio Alchymia described itself as "post avant-garde". In many respects, Alchymia was a forerunner of the more commercial Memphis.

SUPERSTUDIO - Founded in the 1966. Was a design and architecture group that worked in anti-design or radical design and was formed in Florence along with Archizoom. Its members were C. Toraldo Di Francia, A. and M. Magris, P. Fassinelli and A. Natalini. They worked on real and utopian architectural designs and film projects. The group's increasing disillusionment with mainstream design was reflected in its catalogues and exhibitions up until 1973. It envisaged an environment in which everyone had a basic, neutral space to inhabit without the need for objects, and therefore production and consumption. Its "quaderna" table of 1971, imposed a plastic laminate grid pattern on the carcass, reflecting Superstudio's visionary architecture projects, so that rows of such tables appeared to stretch into infinity.

TRIENNALE - Influential International exhibition of architecture and design. Since 1933, held in three-year intervals at Palazzo dell' Arte in Milan.One of the most important institutions for the promotion of design for many years, its significance has gradually been diminishing since the late 60's.

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