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\ Architects and Designers

Gae Aulenti

Tlinkit, natural rattan armchair, marked the beginning of the cooperation between the Milan's architect Gae Aulenti and Tecno, then followed by the design of the executive collection Kum, with meeting tables, desks and tailor-made products.

She graduated in 1953 from the Politecnico di Milano and from 1955 to 1965 worked on the editorial team of Casabella-Continuità, under Ernesto Rogers.  Since 1956 she has had her own practice in Milan; her work includes architectural design, interior and industrial design, and stage design (House with stable in San Siro, Milan, 1956; Italian Section for the 13th Triennale di Milano, 1964;

“Pipistrello” lamp for Martinelli Luce, 1965; Olivetti showrooms in Paris and Buenos Aires, 1967-1968; garden in Granaiolo, 1970; FIAT showrooms in Brussels and Zurich, 1969-1970; exhibition.

“Italy: The New Domestic Landscape” at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, 1972; furniture series for Knoll, 1976; Theatre Design Workshop in Prato with Luca Ronconi, 1976-1978; solo exhibition at the Padiglione d'Arte Contemporanea in Milan, 1979).

After designing the Museé d’Orsay in Paris (1980-1986) and the refurbishment of the Musée National d’Art Moderne at the Centre Pompidou (1982-85), she directed the renovation project of Palazzo Grassi in Venice (1985-86) and subsequently designed numerous temporary exhibitions in the gallery, from “Futurismo & Futurismi”  (1986) to “Da Puvis de Chavannes a Matisse e Picasso.Verso l’Arte Moderna” (2002).

Her most recent projects include the new entrance to the Santa Maria Novella train station in Florence (1990); Palazzo Italia at EXPO ’92 in Seville; the new temporary exhibitions gallery at the Triennale di Milano (1994); the exhibition “The Italian Metamorphosis 1943-1968” at the Guggenheim Museum in New York and the Kunstmuseum in Wolfsburg (1994-1995); stage design for “Elektra” by Richard Struass at the Teatro La Scala in Milan (1994) and for William Shakespeare’s “King Lear” at the Teatro Argentina in Rome and the Teatro Lirico in Milan (1995), directed by Luca Ronconi; the renovation of the  Palazzo del Governo in the Republic of San Marino (1991-1996); the competition/tender for the reconstruction of the Teatro La Fenice in Venice, awarded with Impregilo S.p.A. in June 1997, then cancelled in 1998; “Spazio Oberdan” in Milan, the new headquarters of the Fondazione Cineteca Italiana with an exhibition space and offices (1999); the renovation of the former Papal Stables at the Quirinale in Rome, as a new temporary exhibition space which opened with the exhibition “I Cento Capolavori dell’Ermitage. Impressionisti e Avanguardie” (1999); the redevelopment of Piazzale Cadorna in Milan (2000); the exhibition “1951-2001 Made in Italy? Memoria” at the Triennale di Milano (2001); the international competition by invitation to expand the Museo dell’Opera at the Duomo in Florence (2002).


The new Asian Art Museum in San Francisco (appointed through international competition won in 1996 in association with the joint venture  HOK/LDA/RWA in San Francisco) was opened to the public on 20th March 2003.

The National Museum of Catalan Art in Barcelona (the first part of which was inaugurated on the occasion of the 1992 Olympic Games, while the Catalan Gothic art section was inaugurated in July 1997) was completed in December 2004 with the opening of the part dedicated to 20th century art.

“Città degli Studi”  in Biella, with a separate premises of the Politecnico di Torino; the Istituto Italiano di Cultura and the Chancellery of the Italian Embassy in Tokyo (1998-2005); the “Museo”and “Dante” metro stations and the redesign of Piazza Cavour and Piazza Dante in Naples (1999-in progress); the architectural design of the new lakeside in Meina (Novara); a new managerial headquarters and the expansion of a station for the thermo-utilization of solid urban waste in the province of Rimini; the renovation of the Palavela in Turin and the design of the rink for artistic ice skating and short-track for the 2006 Winter Olympic Games, opened in January 1995; the new winemaking unit at the Tenuta Campo di Sasso, owned by the Antinori family in Bibbona (Livorno), which is currently underway.

Exhibition design projects include the exhibitions “1950-2000: Theater of Italian Creativity” (New York, October 2003); “Bilbao a Genova” (Palazzo Ducale, Genoa, October 2003); “Giorgio De Chirico. Gladiatori 1927-1929” (Villa Menafoglio Litta Panza in Biumo-Varese, October 2003).

The new exhibition design for the Castello Estense in Ferrara, which is conceived as a story that tells the history of the castle, and was opened to the public in March 2004 with the two exhibitions“Una corte nel Rinascimento. Gli Este a Ferrara” and “Il Camerino di alabastro. Antonio Lombardo e la scultura all’antica”. More recently, the exhibition “Arti & Architettura 1900-2000” at the Palazzo Ducale in Genoa.

Awards and honours

“Chevalier de la Legion d’Honneur” (Paris, 1987); Honorary Member of the American Institute of Architects - Hon. FAIA (1990); Praemium Imperiale for Architecture (Tokyo, 1991); “Cavaliere di Gran Croce” of the order of merit of the Italian Republic (Rome, 1995); honorary degree in Fine Arts from the Rhode Island School of Design (Providence, USA 2001).

In 2002 she was invited to be part of the jury for the international design competitions “TAV- Nuova Stazione Alta Velocità di Firenze” and “The Grand Egyptian Museum, Giza-Cairo”.


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