“A few days after graduating, Italo, Roberto Orefice and I heard about a possible job so we introduced ourselves to Augusto Morello, the already legendary director of la Rinascente Development Office. It was a place frequented by past and present young talents as well as established personalities in the cultural field. An office that was an extraordinary breeding ground for talent scouting and training, where you breathed the air – at that time full of enthusiasm and hope – of the new season of Italian design. A season that attracted the best creative energies from all over the world and was destined to become a great global phenomenon with its epicentre firmly located in Milan. Morello was looking for one person: there were three of us. We ended up with a “buy one, get three” agreement. And we have never regretted it. As if it were the most natural thing in the world, when put to the test we immediately became an architect-graphic designer (Italo) and architect-designer (Roberto and me).
After two years of an Alice in Wonderland experience in an unbelievable office facing the spires of the Duomo cathedral that looked so close we felt we could touch them, la Rinascente Development Office close: our destinies were sealed.” (Mario Bellini in Italo Lupi, Autobiografia grafica, Corraini Ed., Mantova 2014, page 16).
Internationally famous architect and designer Mario Bellini was born in Milan in 1935 and graduated in Architecture from Milan Polytechnic in 1959. His long and important career began at la Rinascente Development Office, where he worked from 1960 to 1962. That year, he became established on the Italian design scene by winning his first Compasso d’Oro Award at the age of 27; it was to be followed by 7 more. Immediately after the experience at la Rinascente, he began another important collaboration with Olivetti, designing for the new electronic typewriter sector. By the early Seventies, he was already a very well-known designer and continued to work with the most important Italian and international companies.
From 1980 he was dedicated mainly to architecture, designing and constructing buildings of international renown in Europe, Japan, United States, Australia, Arab Emirates.
Passionate about art, he often curated art exhibitions and his most important settings include the Giotto, l’Italia exhibition at Palazzo Reale in 2015. He was a member of the Executive Committee for the XVII Triennale di Milano and has taught and held conferences in the most prestigious international cultural establishments. From 1986 to 1991 he was editor of the magazine "Domus".
He received the Gold Medal awarded by the President of the Republic of Italy for spreading design and architecture culture throughout the world (2004), the Gold Medal for Civic Merit by Milan City Council (Ambrogino d’Oro, 2011) and other international awards. Moreover, solo exhibitions were also dedicated to him, including the important retrospective of 1987 at the MoMA, New York, where 25 of his works are part of the Museum’s Permanent Design Collection.
The selection presented here documents the collaboration between Mario Bellini and la Rinascente and includes advertisements and photographs of standard furniture designed by the architect.