With the current international focus on Radical Design, or Contro Design, the Centro Studi Poltronova is presenting, as part of September Design 2018, a historical exhibition at the Italian Cultural Institute in Brussels. The exhibition brings together, for the first time, a series of iconic objects designed and produced by Poltronova between the late 1960s and early 1970s, when Ettore Sottsass was the company’s art director. The exhibition includes the Superonda sofa, the Sanremo lamp and Archizoom Associati’s Mies armchair; the Sofo armchair/sofa, the T01 coffee table, and Superstudio’s Gherpe and Passiflora lamps; Ettore Sottsass’s Ultrafragola mirror/lamp and De Pas, D’Urbino and Lomazzi iconic armchair Joe.
The goal of the exhibition is to communicate the extraordinary vitality and irreverence that distinguished these design projects at the time of their conception – a vitality and irreverence that live on even today. These almost over-sized toys, then and now, are objects that challenge the automatisms of consumer society through their hybrid use, which guarantees a total freedom of approach.
The exhibition, also thanks to the way it is arranged, which, like the exhibition’s subtitle, aesthetically echoes the series of paintings in Alberto Savinio’s “transparent cities”, communicates the colourful, explosive vitality of those years, suggesting that it is still possible to be in sync with those designs even today.