Born in Milan in 1931, Alessandro Mendini continues until today to be a colorful and prolific furniture designer embracing neo-modern and contemporary design. His reach includes the design of modern furniture, objects, interiors and installations. Working with Philips, Swarovski, Alessi, and Swatch he develops design and brand identities.
Trained as an architect at the Milan Polytechnic until 1959, he was part of the Nizzoli Associate Practice until 1970. In 1973 he was a founding member of the “Global Tools” group and in 1979, he joined the Studio Alchimia eventually co-founding the Domus Academy.
As versatile as his abilities with modern furniture design, he was also the editor in chief for several Italian design and architecture magazines; Casabella, Modo and Domus. Stating that he usually reads between 15-20 books simultaneously he is an author of several design books as well as providing critique and essays on design.
Deciding he would play with current modern furniture designs he began to play with works of other modern furniture designers adding his own unique and colorful reinterpretation. One of his better known modern furniture pieces is the “Proust” armchair. First produced by Cappellini in 1978, it a colorful explosion of shapes and exuberant forms based on the classic Italian armchair. With a hand carved and hand painted frame, the colors of the fabric match the colors on the frame. This same chair design was to be redone several times over exploring alternative coverings and materials.
His intriguing style also produced modern kitchenware with a wry and amusing outcome. The Anna G. Corkscrew designed in 1994 utilizes the functional connection of the corkscrew to become head, hair, face, neck shoulders arms and the main body of a woman. This popular item was followed by a pepper mill, cream and sugar set, box and champagne cap capitalizing on the same motif. Similarly amusing and yet completely functional is the Parrot Sommelier Corkscrew designed in 2005 that easily fits inside a pocket.
His work continues to be a part of modern furniture design exploring and pushing the limits of material, form and the application of colorful. In a recent exhibit, he displayed the “Bench” that he designed in collaboration with Pierre Charpin. Playing with bright colors and geometric forms, it is modern furniture at its best with an almost coffin like form with rounded corners and surfaces.