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The English Magistretti Show all photos
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The English Magistretti

From 11 April to 27 February 2025

Accepted the Artsupp Card

Vico Magistretti Foundation

Vico Magistretti Foundation

Via Vincenzo Bellini, 1, Milan

Temporarily closed

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«I am linked, for various reasons, to the English tradition. (…) The English have understood a secret of design: “To look at usual things with unusual eyes”. English culture is able to suggest reversals of meaning, surprise juxtapositions. In the British tradition, the sense of necessity and the love of reality are intertwined. And sometimes it is enough to alter a small element of reality to create an object of good formal quality.»Vico Magistretti in Abitare, n. 314, January 1993

The English Magistretti explores and deepens the relationship between Vico and the United Kingdom: the projects, correspondence, collaborations, conferences and awards, but also the works and memories of his students at the Royal College of Art in London.

The exhibition tells - through letters, drawings, photographs and notes from the Studio Magistretti Archive and beyond - of a design and cultural affinity, almost a "love story", which goes well beyond the well-known role of visiting professor assumed by Vico in 1979 at the Royal College of Art.


A love story that began in the 1950s with Magistretti's participation in the Italian Contemporary Architecture exhibition of the Royal Institute of British Architects in London and which is expressed in the many projects inspired by English shapes and materials, from the Caori coffee table of 1969 to the armchair Raffles from 1988.

Without forgetting the trip to the XII Triennale to visit the English prefabricated Model Schools, and the traces of the conferences held in London, Glasgow and Belfast, passing through unknown architectural projects in Leeds or West Yorkshire.

The English Vico can also be found on display - together with his favorite Sindbad sofa (the English blankets, the English stables, the Ascott derby...) - in the extract from the program Omnibus: Milan, broadcast in October 1982 on the BBC 1 and entirely dedicated to Milan, the world capital in the eyes of the British of fashion and design.

Completing the narrative are the final works and memories of twenty of Magistretti's students at the Royal College of Art, to provide a glimpse into the impact that Vico had on that generation of designers. As Marco Romanelli wrote: «What is Vico doing in London? Talk about dignity, show dignity. That is, he shows his projects: he has done so for twenty years. (…) Vico's words become a wave and the wave becomes a movement that reaches us, in Italy, who welcome it as fresh regenerating energy (…). However, we were too busy at the time, too seduced by these very young "masters" from across the Channel to understand that, behind the lines of Anglo-Saxon minimalism, Vico was hiding. Nor would he ever have said it (maybe he didn't even think it)."

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