Born in Buenos Aires in 1922, Maldonado was a painter, designer and philosopher.
He was one of the founders of the Argentinian avant-garde Arte Concreto-Invencion (Concrete-Invention Art) movement, which played an important role in the development of modern art in Latin American countries. An enthusiast of industrial design, he sought a more technical and scientific approach in this field, as far removed as possible from commercial demand. He later focused on the need to have political motivations driving all his work within our spaces.
In 1954, he moved to Germany to teach at the Hochschule für Gestaltung (Ulm School of Design), an institution that he headed between 1964 and 1966. He introduced important changes to the study programme, seeking scientific rigour in design and pursuing the idea of a union between art and industry.
Between 1964 and 1967, in partnership with his German colleague Gui Bonsiepe, he developed an innovative icon system in a design project for Olivetti, and managed the corporate image and design projects of Rinascente and UPIM.
In 1976, he moved to Italy, continuing to work as a teacher first in Bologna and then in Milan, where he taught at Politecnico from 1985, before becoming an Emeritus Professor.
Tomas Maldonado passed away on 26 November 2018.
His publications include: Avanguardia e razionalità (“The Avant-garde and Rationality”, 1974); Disegno industriale: un riesame (“Industrial Design Reconsidered”, 1976); Tecnica e cultura (“Technique and Culture”, 1978); Cultura, democrazia, ambiente (“Culture, Democracy, Environment”, 1990); Reale e virtuale (“The Real and Virtual”, 1992); Memoria e conoscenza. Sulle sorti del sapere nella prospettiva digitale (“Memory and Knowledge. The fate of knowledge in the digital era”, 2005). He was editor of Casabella (1979-83).
The selection of material displayed here includes photographs of interior design projects and window displays of major UPIM stores, as well as various advertising materials – posters, newspaper advertisements, and fashion photo shoots for women, men and children’s fashion.