on march 4 opened the vico magistretti office-museum, directed by the vico magistretti foundation and located in the rooms, where master architect and designer vico magistretti (06.10.1920 – 19.09.2006) worked since 1946. magistretti was a prolific designer and the iconographic material, collected by the foundation is very diverse. every three month a different exhibition will be hosted in the space, illustrating one of magistretti’s masterpieces. the first exhibition centers around the world’s first monobloc plastic chair.

in 1967 vico magistretti patented the principle for his ‘selene’ chair, made from just a single piece of 3 mm thick reglar (fiberglass-reinforced polyester). magistretti resolved the technical difficulties associated with the strenght of the legs by configuring them in an ‘S’ shape.

an interactive screen displays a timeline of projects, photos, sketches …

vico magistretti office museum original sketches by vico magistretti image courtesy the vico magistretti foundation

vico magistretti office museum original sketches by vico magistretti image courtesy the vico magistretti foundation

vico magistretti office museum select a sketch through touching the screen image © designboom

vico magistretti office museum all sketches by vico magistretti can be viewed (and zoomed) on the multimedia screens. a project by demade studio. image © designboom

vico magistretti office museum original sketches by vico magistretti image courtesy the vico magistretti foundation

vico magistretti office museum patent of invention, issued in 1967 image © designboom

vico magistretti developed the innovative S-shaped cross section leg to give the sheet material stability – there would have been more solutions to withstand maximum tensile stress but none in such a graceful way.

vico magistretti office museum ‘selene’ prototype model in compression-moulded fiberglass image © designboom

vico magistretti office museum ‘selene’ image from the 1969 artemide catalogue

‘selene’ was originally produced by artemide in 1969 in reinforced polyester. the shape of the elastic back rest is very comfortable. thanks to this innovative industrial production method, suggested by magistretti, ‘selene’ was one of the most affordable industrial products of its time. ‘selene’ is included in the MOMA permanent design collection and the vitra design museum

vico magistretti office museum on the table the miniature version of ‘selene’, produced by vitra (P.S. the real-size ‘selene’ stacks more compact and 6 high) image © designboom

vico magistretti office museum this was the meeting room of magistretti’s office, on the wall a few architecture models are displayed. image courtesy the vico magistretti foundation

vico magistretti office museum ‘selene’ on display – taken out of the mould, before refinement, produced by heller image © designboom

in 2002, heller reissued vico magistretti’s stackable classic in white, black, red nylon, and transparent polycarbonate

vico magistretti office museum detail of heller’s ‘selene’ taken out of the mould, before refinement. image © designboom

vico magistretti office museum detail of S-structure leg image © designboom

vico magistretti office museum display of original sketches image © designboom

vico magistretti office museum a view of magistretti’s room, this and the meeting room are the only spaces of the museum which remind of the original magistretti office image © designboom

designboom’s editor-in-chief birgit lohmann collaborated with vico magistretti, right after her industrial design studies from 1988 and continued to assist him in developing many products and furniture pieces for over 15 years. for short periods she had her drawing desk inside this office. the office-museum is of course very different from the architecture office at that time. to make it suitable for long-time storage of materials and a for functional display of information for visitors, a renovation of magistretti’s original office was necessary. the architectural project has been realized by paolo imperatori, magistretti’s collaborator in the more recent years.

vico magistretti office museum

vico magistretti’s daughter susanna and son stefano magistretti are heading the foundation.

other founders are silvana annicchiarico of the milan triennale design museum, and following

CEO’s of companies which have collaborated with vico magistretti:

ernesto gismondi of artemide,

gianluca armento of cassina,

luca de padova, of the de padova,

manuela messina of flou,

antonio verderi of oluce,

and enrico schiffini of schiffini.

exhibition curator is simona romano, the archivist is vico magistretti’s niece, margherita pellino.

the vico magistretti office-museum is in via conservatorio 20 in the city center of milan. the museum is open to the public from tuesday to friday 2pm to 6pm.

(website currently in construction) for more information [email protected]