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Carlo Mollino
Carlo Mollino
* Turin [Torino], Italy, 6 May 1905
+ Turin [Torino], Italy, 27 August 1973
nationality: italian
An architect, photographer, urban planner and interior designer but also a skier, motorist, and aeroplane pilot, Carlo Mollino (Turin, 1905-1973) was a leading light in the lively cultural environment of Turin in the inter-war years. He played a key role in twentieth century design, architecture and culture, and his works blend modernity and tradition, art and craftsmanship, extreme discipline and creative freedom. His work is remarkable for its modernity while also promoting a return to craftsmanship and to a genuine relationship with the work of art.
1951 - 1956
Italy [Italia] » Valtournenche
1947 - 1954
Italy [Italia] » Valtournenche
1953 - 1954
Italy [Italia] » Agra
Carlo Mollino, Architettura di parole. Scritti 1933-1965, Bollati Boringhieri, 2007
Carlo Mollino, "La stazione della funivia del Fürggen/The Station of the Fürggen cableway", Prospettive 1, dicembre/december 1951
Marco Sammicheli (ed.), Carlo Mollino. Allusioni iperformali, Electa, Milano 2021Marco Sammicheli, Carlo Mollino, Allusioni iperformali, Electa
Napoleone Ferrari, Lucas Gehrmann, Gerald Matt, (ed.), Carlo Mollino. Un Messaggio dalla Camera Oscura, Verlag fur Moderne Kunst, Nurnberg 2012
Maurizio Ternavasio, Carlo Mollino. La biografia, Lindau, "Le Comete", 2008
Cecilia Bolognesi, Francesca Picchi, Matteo Poli (ed.), ""Soluzione di Architettura in altissima montagna"/"Architectural solution for extremely high altitudes"", Domus 889 febbraio/february 2006, pp. 16-27
"La Cervinia visionaria di Carlo Mollino", Domus 889 febbraio/february 2006, p. 22 (16-27)
Gianluigi Ricuperati, "Il sottile duca bianco", Domus 889 febbraio/february 2006, pp. 26-27 (16-27)
Carlo Mollino, Arabeschi, Electa, Cataloghi GAM Torino AA.VV., Carlo Mollino. Arabeschi, Electa, "Cataloghi GAM Torino ", Milano 2006
Giovanni Brino, Carlo Mollino. Architettura come autobiografia, Architecture as autobiographyGiovanni Brino, Carlo Mollino. Architettura come autobiografia / Architecture as autobiography, Idearte, Viareggio 2005
Elena Tamagno, "Mollino in piano-sequenza", Il giornale dell'architettura 23, novembre 2004, "Il Giornale del Design" p. 31
Fulvio Ferrari, Napoleone Ferrari, Carlo Mollino. Polaroids, Arena Editions, 2002
Giovanni Brino, "Carlo Mollino. Turinese Baroque", Lotus international 16, settembre/september 1977, pp. 122-128
Carlo Mollino. Allusioni Iperformali / Carlo Mollino, Allusioni Iperformali, Triennale Milano, Hyperformal Allusions, Milano (Italy), Triennale Milano, 4 september / 7 november 2021

Carlo Mollino, Allusioni Iperformali, Triennale Milano, Hyperformal AllusionsBased on an analysis of these furnishings for the Casa Albonico, a reinterpretation of the work of Mollino, a key figure in the world of twentieth-century design and architecture, highlights a series of aspects that have not yet been sufficiently examined. These range from his obsession with form and his links with the second wave of Futurism, through to his interest in craftsmanship, interior design, engineering, physics and aerodynamics. Two fundamental aspects of Carlo Mollino’s work, which the furnishings for the Casa Albonico allow us to explore, are the artisanal manufacture of his furniture and his cooperation with other artists.

The items on display were the object of an extraordinary operation to preserve the public heritage: in the summer of 2020 the export office of the Soprintendenza Archeologia Belle Arti e Paesaggio per la Città Metropolitana di Milano received a request to take some furnishings from the Casa Albonico abroad. The items were to end up in a famous European design museum. However, the dossier contained an error that was by no means secondary: the furnishings were shown as dating from between 1954 and 1956. This dating, which meant the items were less than 70 years old, would have allowed for a simplified export procedure. The Superintendency noticed the error and investigated, with advice from Triennale, which led to the application being rejected. In October 2020, the export office asked Triennale and Manolo De Giorgi, an expert on Mollino, for an opinion in order to assess the level of cultural interest of the collection. Thanks to these two opinions, which illustrated the general level of cultural importance, the export permits were denied, paving the way for a compulsory purchase by the Direzione Generale Archeologia Belle Arti e Paesaggio of the Ministry (directed by the architect Federica Galloni) in favour of the Direzione Regionale Musei Lombardia, and deposit on loan at the Triennale’s Museo del Design Italiano. The process thus came to a successful conclusion thanks to the cooperation between the institutions and to the desire of the Albonico family not to break up the collection.

Carlo Mollino, Allusioni Iperformali, Triennale Milano, Hyperformal AllusionsWhat might have been the loss for Italy of a rare example of the work of Carlo Mollino was thus transformed into an opportunity to study and promote the works of an artist who – judging by the astronomical prices that some of his pieces have fetched – is increasingly appreciated by the international market. The pieces of furniture designed for the Casa Albonico, which were mostly made in 1944 by the crafts firm Apelli, Varesio & C. for the home in Turin of Mollino’s friend, the engineer Paolo Albonico, are a table, six seats, some service chairs, sideboards in different variants (all with a trestle structure and diagonal upright), a sofa, two armchairs, a cupboard-desk and a table with a folding top. In thesecond part of his career, Carlo Mollino used biomorphic motifs as signs of a renewed relationship with nature. He drew inspiration for his works from nature as he saw it, though he never passively accepted it in the classical form of mimesis. Instead, he worked on his impressions and turned them into objects, keeping them distant from himself and letting them flow freely.

Carlo Mollino, Allusioni Iperformali, Triennale Milano, Hyperformal AllusionsOne of the artists who had the closest interactions with Mollino’s design and life was the sculptor Umberto Mastroianni (Fontana Liri 1910-1998 Marino Laziale). The architect designed a studio house in Acitrezza for him in 1944 and they worked together again on other occasions. One of these occasions was on the Casa Albonico, with a small bronze bust of a woman, which acted as a support joint on one of the pieces of furniture designed for the house. The influence of Boccioni is clear in Mastroianni’s work and it is particularly evident here in the dynamism of the forms, in which the parts of the body are represented by concave and convex spaces. This use of form reveals a Futurist approach that interprets art as a revolutionary practice.

The exhibition, the installation project of which has been entrusted to bunker arc / Carlo Gandolfi - Roberto Molteni, also includes some previously unpublished correspondence, preserved in the Triennale Milano archive. In the letters, Carlo Mollino criticises the direction taken by the institution, distancing himself from industrial design in favour of craft production. There are also original drawings from the archives of the Politecnico University of Turin and documents from private archives. Special focus displays examine the relationships between Mollino and key figures in the world of Italian design, such as Gio Ponti and Franco Albini.

The exhibition has been given added content with a site-specific installation by the artist Corrado Levi, one of Mollino’s students at the Faculty of Architecture in Turin, and with soundscapes by Painé Cuadrelli, a composer of electronic music and teacher of sound design at the IED.

Credits: photos by Gianluca Di Ioia, © Triennale Milano, text edit by Triennale Milano
L’occhio magico di Carlo Mollino. Fotografie 1934-1973, Torino (Italy), Camera, Centro Italiano per la Fotografia, 18 january / 13 may 2018
Carlo Mollino. Maniera Moderna, München, Haus der Kunst, 16 september 2011 / 8 january 2012
Carlo Mollino. Un Messaggio dalla Camera Oscura, Vienna, Kunsthalle, 31 august / 25 september 2011
Carlo Mollino a occhio nudo, Firenze, Museo Nazionale Alinari della Fotografia, 19 february/14 may 2009
Carlo Mollino architetto, Torino, Archivio di stato, 12 october 2006/7 january 2007
Carlo Mollino, Rivoli (TO), Castello - Torino, GAM, 19 september 2006/7 january 2007
Mollino Fragments, Roma, Maxxi, 23 february/25 april 2006
review: "Roma. Carlo Mollino. Sintesi per frammenti/Summed up in fragments", Domus 889, febbraio/february 2006, "Almanac" p. 9
Carlo Mollino baut in den Bergen, Basel, Architekturmuseum, 2 march/5 may 1991
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