21st Century – Design After Design: notes from XXI Triennale di Milano

Inspirational  /  September 27, 2016

The XXI International exhibition Triennale di Milano closed last 12 September with great success.

Founded in Monza, later moved to Milan in 1933, year in which Palazzo dell’Arte was built, this international kermesse came back after a twenty-year break, thanks to the joint effort of Bureau International des Expositions, Italian Government, Municipality of Milan, Lombardia Region and Milan, Monza and Brianza Chambers of Commerce.

21st Century. Design after Design – This is the title of this year. The Triennale touched on important issues like the new “dramaturgy” project, proposed as a direct discussion on themes generally kept out by the classical modernity:

  • death, sacred, Eros, fate, tradition, history;
  • the gender perspective in the designer project;
  • the impact of globalisation on design;
  • general changes after the 2008 crisis and the coming XXI century;
  • relations between city and design;
  • relations between design and technological new information;
  • Relations between design and handicraft.

The programme proposed to the public exhibitions, installations, talk, shows, concerts, festivals and conferences in the Triennale areas and in other 20 sites provided by the Municipality of Milan. Fabbrica del Vapore (“Steam Factory”), Hangar Bicocca, MUDEC, “Leonardo da Vinci” Museum of Science and Technology, Academy of Fine Arts of Brera are just a few locations that hosted the event.

Design project: a continuously evolving model

A Triennale which looks at the future, with a careful eye on present and past projects. The purpose was analysing the recent changes and the changes that the project aims to achieve, focusing on some issues: the impact of globalisation on design, the transformations as a consequence of the 2008 crisis and the coming twenty-first century, the relations between city and design, the gender perspective in design, the relations between new technological information and design, and the relations between design and handicraft.

The event proposed twenty exhibitions on the calendar,  a part curated by the scientific committee of XX1T, a part organised in collaboration with other institutions and museums. Exhibitions were located in many areas and different themes were addressed.

Here are some examples:

  • the “New Prehistoric time– 100 Verbs” exhibition retraced the long period that led ancient historical instruments become experimental nano-technologies;
  • the ninth edition of Triennale Design Museum “W – Women in Italian Design, which told the history of Italian female designers;
  • “The multi-ethnic Metropolis” focused on market globalisation and the increasing standardization, enemy of memories, traditions and popular cultures;
  • the group of exhibitions “City after the City” focused on possible ways of overcoming conventional city.

An initiative involving 40 Countries

The XXI International Exhibition of Triennale di Milano involved almost everyone. In view of the coincidence in time with Salone del Mobile (the Furniture Fair) and the Design Week, the first part of the exhibition organised many initiatives in terms of integration.

The event was a precursor to the edition of  Festival dei Diritti Umani (which took place on -3-8 May 2016) and home to events already in place such as  the IT Independent Theatre Festival (13-15 May), the Milano Game Festival at IULM (8-12 September) and many other film festivals.

The substantial program of XX1T was enriched with the installations and exhibition projects of the international participants: a number of projects proposed by the 40 Countries that joined at the event. These projects were held in many urban spaces. From Afghanistan to the Republic of Korea with “Making Thinking is Making”, from “Home as a right” in Haiti to “Meditation Spaces” in Switzerland.



# art # design # events # inspiration # triennale