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Alessandro Mendini

Global Tools Founder

Alessandro Mendini is an architect, designer and artist, born in Milan in 1931.

He graduated in Architecture in 1959, and his first place of employment was Studio Nizzoli Associati. In 1970 he abandoned architectural design to focus on journalism, specializing, naturally, in architecture and design. He was editor of Casabella from 1970 to 1976, and the following year he founded Modo, which he led until 1979. That same year, Giò Ponti made him editor of Domus, and he held this position until 1985. 25 years later, in March 2010, he resumed his editorship of the magazine for a short period.

In the seventies, Mendini participated in many of the radical design experiences arising at the time. In 1973 he was one of the founding members of Global Tools, a group that was part of the anti-design movement, strongly opposed to tradition. In 1979 he joined Studio Alchimia, which aimed to create objects with references to popular culture and kitsch, outside the bounds of industrial production, and of their own functionality.

Together with his brother Francesco, in 1989 he opened Atelier Mendini in Milan, creating objects, furniture, spaces, paintings, installations and architecture. He works with international companies including Magis, Alessi, Philips, Cartier, Bisazza, Swatch, Hermès and Venini, and is a consultant for various industrial companies, as far away as eastern Asia, helping them solve their image and design difficulties.

With Atelier Mendini, he worked in various countries, designing such edifices as the Alessi factories in a Omegna, the new olympic swimming pool in Trieste, a tower in Hiroshima, Japan, the museum in Groningen, Netherlands, and many other buildings in Europe and the United States. In Korea, Atelier Mendini designed the premises of the Milan Triennale in Incheon, and also developed various architectural, interior and design works in Seoul.

In 2014 he was awarded his third Compasso d’Oro for his lifetime achievements, the European Prize for Architecture 2014 in Chicago, and an honorary degree from the Academy of Fine Arts in Wroclaw, Poland.

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