Iconic – Gae Aulenti
Every month, Goodmoods investigates an iconic vintage piece, the history of its creation and the background to its manufacture.
« At a time when it is being announced loud and clear that red is in fashion, I want to dress in green, » Gae Aulenti once said. From her birth in 1927 to her death in Milan in 2012, « La Gae » has always been a woman against the grain. At a time when few women were making a career in architecture and design in Italy, Gae Aulenti found her way into the collections of the greatest publishers: Potronova, Zanotta, Knoll, Artemide, Martinelli Luce…
From 1980 onwards, she transformed historical monuments into exceptional galleries, creating pieces with a very cinematic curved design that instantly became iconic… All this while following her own precepts and emancipating herself from the modern style that dominated the post-war period, which she judged to be increasingly rigid, repetitive and predictable. A look back at the work of a design genius.
Locus Solus: a movie star
The Locus Solus outdoor lounge is one of Gae Aulenti's first successful designs. Designed for the Centro Studi Poltronova in 1964, it stands out for its tubular curves of a different kind, in bold tones that demonstrate Aulenti's penchant for both form and colour. Mythical, the collection glimpsed in Jacques Deray's 1969 film "The Pool" disrupted the outdoor by imposing a pop aesthetic on the outdoors. Since 2016, the set has been relaunched in full by Italian label Exteta.
the Pipistrello's flight
At the end of the 1960s, Gae Aulenti's career took a new turn when she was asked to take over the artistic direction of two shops for the typewriter manufacturer Olivetti. One in Buenos Aires (1968) and the other in Paris (1969). Killing two birds with one stone, for this project she imagines a lamp that unfolds like the wings of a bat (pipistrello in Italian) with an opalescent methacrylate lampshade. It will be published by the Italian publisher Martinelli Luce.
Design without limits
For ten years, a long list of essential and timeless pieces will follow. Notably the Jumbo coffee table published by Knoll from 1972 and its three marble finishes; the Quadrifoglio lighting fixtures in polished chrome and moulded white acrylic designed for Harvey Guzzini in 1974; the series of leather sofas Lounge Seating and the set of laminated steel dining table and chairs designed in 1976 also for Knoll... Pieces that illustrate his innovative and architectural experimentation with forms and materials, and above all, his taste for classic design with always a touch of modernity.