Let’s talk about Alessandro Mendini; a man of postmodernism, a shining beacon of the Radical Design movement and Italian avant-garde. Born in 1931 in Milan, Mendini’s career has been a highly influential one for the world of design, architecture and products. After graduating from Milan Polytechnic in 1959, he went on to become a master of many disciplines not contained to graphics, furniture, interiors, painting, architecture, objects and books. He was also a theorist, journalist and publisher of various influential magazines and a design manager. All of this, encompassed in a very successful artistic career. Did we happen to mention the word ‘influencer’?
Mendini’s work is characterised by his distinctive aesthetic; a clever, witty hybrid of art and design theory. He is sophisticatedly pop with his typically tribal motifs and patterned work which renovated the world of Italian design. Along with fellow design bad asses Andrea Branzi and Ettore Sottsass, Mendini’s presence in the Radical period and the experimental design program Global Tools pushed a shift within the 70’s Italian avant-garde. He went on to pioneer the postmodern period in the 80’s, bringing heart back to objects and design that had been eclipsed by over-commercialism and functionalism.
Mendini is still working today, within his own practice Atelier Mendini, which he runs with his brother Francesco Mendini. He also teaches at the University of Milan and continues to design products, the latest of which are a collaboration with Kartell. Combining the ancient shape of a Chinese stool and a Roy Lichtenstein-esque pattern, these vibrant injection-moulded stools demonstrate his ever-present extraordinary knack for mixing cultures and forms of expression.