Gian Carlo Ortelli was born in Milan in 1925, and graduated in Architecture at the Milan Polytechnic in 1950.
He and Carlo Pagani designed many projects, including the interior design of la Rinascente department stores in Catania, Genoa, Rome Piazza Fiume, besides the head office of the leading daily newspaper in Cairo.
Always with Pagani he designed the fittings for the first exhibition of the Compasso d’Oro Award organised at the Press Club in 1954. At the same time he taught Design at the Sforza Castle’s School in Milan.
In the 1950s, la Rinascente was inspired to develop the convergence of innovation, design and architecture. In the framework of this process, in 1956 Ortelli (with other famous young graphic designers and designers, such as Roberto Sambonet and Bruno Munari) was invited as consultant to design shop windows, promotional fittings and themed exhibitions in Japan, Mexico, the Indios, America and England.
Both during and after the partnership with la Rinascente, which drew to a close in 1967, the Ortelli and Sianesi Studio designed council houses, crèches, private residences in Lombardy and Tuscany, launched the first urban project in Porto Rotondo, Sardinia, and followed restoration works at the Lodi Art Gallery and the Vigevano Cathedral Museum.
Ortelli’s bond with art led to the implementation of projects for La Grande Brera and Brera 2, restoration works for Palazzo Citterio and fittings for numberless exhibitions, including the one dedicated to Caravaggio at Palazzo della Ragione, Bergamo, to Bernardino Luini in Luino and L’Anima e il Volto, curator Flavio Caroli, set in 1998 at the Palazzo Reale, Milan.
The partnership with Giorgio Armani was established in the late 1970s. It lasted over twenty years and was a happy combination of the two styles featuring rigour and minimalism. Gian Carlo Ortelli designed the store in via Durini for the young fashion line. Hence the creation of the first historical Emporio Armani in 1981, followed by several concept stores for all lines of the fashion house, and hundreds of boutiques worldwide, including Italy, Europe, America, Australia, the Persian Gulf, China and Japan. During this long and profitable partnership, Ortelli also followed renovation works for the building situated in via Borgonuovo, interiors designed by Armani for Alitalia aircrafts, the showroom project in via Bergognone and the stylist’s two boats.
The selection proposed here mainly includes photographic albums on the partnership between Ortelli and department stores, with special documented focus on the interior design project for la Rinascente branches in Genoa and Rome Piazza Fiume, the shop windows design, promotional fittings and themed exhibitions dedicated to Spain, Japan, the Indios and the USA at the head office in Piazza del Duomo, Milan.
The selection also includes six tracing papers (axonometric projections of interior fittings and shop windows) and a series of technical drawings of la Rinascente branch in Rome Piazza Fiume.