The Museum of Decorative Arts and Design in Bordeaux is presenting the first retrospective show devoted to the work of the Italian designer, architect and theoretician Andrea Branzi, to be held from 10 October 2014 to 25 January 2015. More than 140 pieces hailing from the United States and Europe are being brought together to offer an overall look at the essential work of this artist, whose oeuvre is emblematic of the history of design from the postwar years to the present day.
Andrea Branzi was involved in the radical Italian movement, a member of Alchimia and then of Memphis, working to free design from its modern straitjacket. He helped to turn this discipline, hitherto oriented towards production and rationality, into a field with a total freedom of expression, thus opening up the way towards the host of forms which hallmark design today.
Throughout his career, he has expressed in his work a sensitive reading of the world’s evolution. Reflected in it is his very anticipatory vision of present-day society, with all its changes and new codes.
Encompassing the thinking of his designer friends, and Ettore Sottsass in particular, he has introduced a theoretical history of design in which this discipline is finally studied for itself, in an autonomous way, no longer regarded as a tool at the service of the industrialization of our daily lives, but as a discipline concerned above all with things human.
This exhibition offers a reading of Andrea Branzi’s work. Over and above the perspective of a powerful and unusual oeuvre, it also helps towards an understanding of the development of design since the second half of the 20th century.
Oddly enough, there has been no retrospective devoted to him, undoubtedly because of his activity and still very lively presence in contemporary goings-on. We were keen to organize this event with the designer’s participation, and asked him to produce the sets for the show. The exhibition is too large to be installed within the Museum of Decorative Arts and Design, so it will be organized at an outside venue, in that magnificent place, the church of Saint-Rémi, built between the 11th and 15th centuries, and today deconsecrated.
The nobility and the volume of this space immediately interested the designer, architect and scenographer all lurking in Andrea Branzi.
In order to make Andrea Branzi’s presence be fully felt in the city of Bordeaux, the museum has invited arc en rêve centre d’architecture to take part in this project. Arc en rêve will accommodate a part of the exhibition, thus creating a focus around the urban development project No-Stop City. The museum is also cooperating with the School of Higher Education Art of Bordeaux, whose design students are working around the mediation of Andrea Branzi’s theoretical oeuvre.