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DESIGN
Quali Cose Siamo?
Milan's Triennale tackles big design questions with a new exhibit on the meaning of objects
by Paolo Ferrarini
on 30 March 2010
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After taking a look at Italian design origins in one exhibit by designer Italo Rota and exploring production contradictions with curator Andrea Branzi's "Serie Fuori Serie," this time the Triennale Design Museum turns to another maestro, Alessandro Mendini, to conceive the latest installation "Quali Cose Siamo?"

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Asking "what things are we?," the exhibit journeys through collective and private memories, defined through over 800 objects on display. From gigantic to small and common to odd, the objects in the historic rooms of the Triennale offer both a sense of familiarity—like coffee machines and corkscrews—and surprise, such as with the Prada shoes or the Lenci ceramics.

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A memorable demonstration of childlike attitude and lucid wisdom, Mendini explained "While preparing the exhibition, I thought about my life's encounters with objects and people. I didn't want institutional items, very well shown during the previous editions. Of course some objects are not to be forgotten, like the Olivetti Lettera 22, but I have chosen the one used by Indro Montanelli. The shift is clear, from the things to their unique stories. That is to say, a fascinating jump from critics to anthropology."

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Silvana Annichiarico, director of the Triennale, also created an interesting "path inside a path" entirely dedicated to children, who will receive a complimentary illustrated book where the character Frisello guides them through a sort of treasure hunt with the objects. Will the kids be able to find answers? And will the visitors be able to discover what things we are?

"This is an interrogative pathway," concludes Mendini. "At the end, every guest will have some doubts cleared, but also some new legitimate questions."

Check out more images after the jump.

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