EXHIBIT | Sottsass Olivetti Synthesis
2017-03-28 - 2017-05-14
In the year of the centenary of the birth of the architect and designer Ettore Sottsass (1917-2007), a partnership between the Istituto Italiano di Cultura of São Paulo and the Museu da Casa Brasileira, institution of the Culture Secretariat of the State of São Paulo, brings to the country the exhibition ‘Sottsass Olivetti Synthesis’. This is the first exhibition dedicated to the line of furniture and office objects Synthesis 45, presented by the Olivetti factory in 1972 and designed by Ettore Sottsass (1917-2007), known worldwide for his work in front of the postmodern group Memphis (1981-1987). The opening will be on March 28th, with free admission, and the event will be on display at the Museu da Casa Brasileira until May 14th.
“It is with great pleasure that the Istituto Italiano di Cultura presents in São Paulo, a metropolis that has dictated, like few, the rhythm of modernity, ‘Sottsass Olivetti Synthesis’, an emblematic exhibition of the extraordinary and successful course of Italian design and, at the same time, a tribute to one of the most brilliant interpreters of the Italian style, who became familiar on the world stage”, says Renato Poma, director of IIC, the institution responsible for bringing the show to Brazil.
According to the general director of the MCB Miriam Lerner, "international partnerships guarantee greater diversity of exhibition programming, consolidating the institution in its areas of vocation, design, architecture and correlates. In this case, it is practically impossible to think of Brazilian design without considering the conceptual influences arising from Italian creation. "
The exhibition arrives in São Paulo after a first exhibition in May 2016, during the XV Biennial of Architecture in Venice, in the Olivetti showroom located in Piazza San Marco and designed by Carlo Scarpa in 1958. The exhibition presents a wide graphic setting from of the catalogs of the modular system, bringing in about 50 pieces, among which: work tables, chairs, files, typewriters, tables, as well as accessories such as hangers, umbrella holders, trash cans, ashtrays and all originals of the time produced at the Olivetti Synthesis headquarters of Massa Carrara, Tuscany, Italy.
In the synthesis of Synthesis 45, Sottsass and his collaborators – names such as Perry King, Albert Leclerc, Bruno Scagliola, Tiger Umeda and Jane Young – redesign the “landscape of work”, creating a model in which a modular system is associated with greater flexibility Of arrangements and respect for the freedom of the individual. An introduction to postmodernity in interior architecture is thus inaugurated, the result of a rationalistic rigor associated with the transgressive aesthetics of pop art. “It was a proposal, still for the times of work not digitized as today, that presented a new aesthetic for open offices, formally more relaxed and colorful than the existing systems until then,” says Giancarlo Latorraca, architect and technical director of MCB.
The name for the Synthesis 45 furniture series stems from a modular system standardized from the 45-centimeter unit. The development of this pattern and other details of the line are explored in the film “Olivetti Syntheses serie 45/80”, presented by Sottsass himself and shown on the show. The exhibition also features a series of office images made by photographer Gabriele Basilico (1944-2013), one of the world’s most celebrated professionals in the architectural record.
Sottsass Olivetti Synthesis curated by Marco Meneguzzo, art critic and professor of History of Contemporary Art at the Accademia di Belle Arti in Brera, Alberto Saibene, cultural historian, filmmaker and documentary filmmaker, and Enrico Morteo, architect, historian and critic of design and architecture. Morteo was also the curator of another important exhibition held through the partnership between MCB and IIC in 2008, “Roberto Sambonet – from Brazil to Design”, presenting the extensive and transversal work of the Italian postwar designer, who lived a period in the Brazil, having even collaborated with the first Masp of 1947.
The curators will be present at the opening of the exhibition, which is part of the Italian Design Day calendar, an initiative promoted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Italy to celebrate the excellence of Italian design worldwide. The Italian Design Day takes place parallel to the first day of the 56th edition of the Milan Motor Show, from 4 to 9 April.