The Museum of Modern Art, New York, 1972, English
Nonfiction, Architecture; Nonfiction, Product/Industrial Design; Nonfiction, Interior Design
ISBN: 9780870703942

Accompanied a 1972 exhibition of new Italian design at The Museum of Modern Art, New York. From The Museum commissioned 12 environments especially for the exhibition, covering two modes of contemporary living; permanent home and the mobile home, using 180 objects produced in Italy during the decade by more than 100 designers, including examples of product design, furniture, lighting, appliances, flatware and china. These are accompanied by more than a dozen essays by major design critics and historians. The book’s glassine dust jacket featured color cardboard cutouts of an Asteroide by Sottsass, the famous “pill lamps,” the Heller plastic plates by Vignelli, and the Gufram “blades of grass” chair.

On 4 book lists
James Biber

MoMA has produced a huge number of significant books (Complexity and Contradiction in Architecture, 1966, was not unique) but this one appeared at precisely the right time for me. The corresponding exhibition put Italy at the very forefront of design at a time of relative architectural poverty in the United States. The vellum cover, filled with colorful cutouts of iconic pieces, was designed by Ambasz and remains a brittle, yellowed jacket on my copy.

R. Craig Miller

Perhaps the last epochal design show and catalogue to be produced by MoMA. The exhibition not only anointed Italy as the leader in design in the second half of the 20th century, but it also christened a pantheon of Italian designers and manufacturers who would ultimately lead contemporary design in a multitude of new directions.

Marco Romanelli

The exhibition “Italy: The New Domestic Landscape,” held at MoMA in 1972—for which this book is the catalogue—marked the beginning of prominence for Italian design worldwide, but it also signaled the beginning of a very deep unconscious change in the minds of Italian designers. In some sense the period of “il bel disegno italiano” ended then: addressing Italy’s growing social and political problems could no longer be put off. Another lesson from this exhibition is that furniture design must retain a direct relationship with interior architecture, and not become specialized and separate. It is only in this way that furniture design can be humanized (and tested) as it originates.

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