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Art meets Design at Italian Institute of Culture

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Vico Magistretti: The Functional Beauty


Italy’s Consul General Giuseppe Perrone welcomed leaders from the design community and the media to the consular residence above Sunset Boulevard June 9 to experience the beauty and functionality of leading edge Italian design in an actual residence. The setting in a classic Los Angeles neighborhood also showed how similar many California communities are to parts of Italy so that Italian design often looks made to order for local homes. The featured designer, Vico Magistretti, was a leader of the style Americans like to call “Mid-Century Modern” and an icon of the Milan design community. The special exhibition is called “Vico Magistretti: The Functional Beauty.

One of the featured objects is used daily in the library and meeting rooms of the Italian Institute of Culture in Westwood. Called the “Selene Chair,” it was the first furnishing fabricated entirely in plastic with no metal parts. This design made them stackable and popular for clubs hosting special events with many extra guests. The composition of a single piece helps show how similar these are to works of sculpture. Also emulating sculpture, as well as the landmark Corridor of Lights by Chris Burden at LACMA, is the “Lyndon Floor Lamp,” pictured here.

This special exhibition will fascinate art students and admirers of illustration art. Many of the furniture and lighting objects on display are accompanied by original drawings of the designs by Magistretti that spotlight the artistry in designing furniture and lighting for homes and offices. His drawings demonstrate a masterful ability to depict three dimensional curves and globes on two dimensional surfaces. Magistretti was trained as an architect and later received some of the most important awards in the field of design, including the Compasso d’Oro and the First Prize of the Triennale of Milan.

Special exhibitions assembling designs for living by Vico Magistretti show how intriguing household objects can complement one another and change the character of a space to make every day living anything but ordinary. In addition to the exhibition which opens to the public this Friday at the Italian Cultural Institute in Westwood, there is a virtual exhibition from the Vico Magistretti Foundation in Milan which you can view online. The Magistretti program at the Italian Cultural Institute in Westwood will be open Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.