“The distance between the natural world and the artificial world no longer exists today, because the latter has become second nature. So when I gather together nature, techniques, industry, arts and crafts, high technology and archetypes, everything seems much clearer.”
For Friedman Benda’s fifth annual solo exhibition at Design Miami/Basel, the gallery will present a survey of the seminal Italian architect, designer and theoretician Andrea Branzi.
Throughout his influential career spanning more than six decades, Branzi has held a lifelong fascination with how humans interact with their objects, and has sought to reconcile design and architecture with the evolving challenges of contemporary society. As a prominent theorist, Branzi has offered an analytical and academic approach to the discipline. His radical poetic interpretation of the domestic space challenged the necessity of practicality and rationality, and moved the field of design away from function and towards individuality and expression. This past year Branzi was awarded the Rolf Schock Prize in the Visual Arts in recognition for his significant contribution to criticism and research in the field.
Genetic Metropolis showcases the gallery’s collaboration with Branzi for the past ten years, and marks the first time Planks, Stones, and Trees will be brought together into one installation. Examples from these ambitious projects were inaugurated in an honorary setting in 2017 at the Centre Pompidou in Paris and several were previously exhibited at his retrospective at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Bordeaux in 2014.
Highlighting fundamental anchor points from his oeuvre, the installation includes representations from his groundbreaking Animali Domestici series and key works from Alchimia’s bau. haus II collection. Through examples rarely shown outside of a museum context, such as Madri, an early painting from 1965, this exhibition shows the development of a methodology and visual language that defined his career. An innovative new body of work will be unveiled, demonstrating the evolution of his practice.
The exhibition will be accompanied by a catalogue with critical texts by Branzi and an essay by design historian Glenn Adamson.
About Andrea Branzi
Andrea Branzi was born in Florence in 1938 and graduated from the Florence School of Architecture in 1966. That same year, he became a founding member of the Archizoom Associati, a group of designers who embraced the fall of modernism to uncover the reality hiding behind an urban utopian dream. The group stipulated No-Stop City in 1969, which imagined a world taken to the extremes of modernism. The Superarchitettura movement grew out of the theoretical framework put forth by No-Stop City on superproduction and superconsumption. By the late 1970s, Branzi participated in the influential communal efforts at revolutionizing design with Alchimia and, a few years later, the Memphis Group.
Branzi is a co-founder of Domus Academy, the first international post-graduate school for design. He distinguished himself as a three-time recipient of the Compasso d’Oro, honored for individual or group effort in 1979, 1987 and 1995. His work has been featured in the Venice Biennale and at the Triennale Design Museum in Milan, where he has also curated several design exhibitions. His essays and monographs have been widely published.
In 2018, Branzi was the recipient of the prestigious Rolf Schock Prize in Visual Arts. Previously, Branzi was named an Honorary Royal Designer in the United Kingdom and he received an honorary degree from La Sapienza in Rome in 2008. That same year, his work was featured in an installation at the Fondation Cartier, Paris. His works are held in the permanent collections of the Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; the Victoria and Albert Museum, London; the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; the Israel Museum, Jerusalem; and the Museum of Modern Art, New York, among others. He currently lives and works in Milan, and until 2009, was a professor and chairman of the School of Interior Design at the Politecnico di Milano.