“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.”
– Andrea Branzi
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 presented in an honorary setting in 2017 at the Centre Pompidou in Paris and several were previously exhibited at his retrospective at the Musee des Arts decoratifs et du Design de 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
Seminal Italian architect, designer and educator Andrea Branzi has held a lifelong fascination with how humans interact with objects, and has sought to reconcile design and architecture with the evolving challenges of contemporary society. As a leading theorist, Branzi has contributed an analytical and academic approach to the discipline.
Born in Florence in 1938, Branzi studied architecture at the Florence School of Architecture, receiving his degree in 1966. From 1964 to 1974, he was a founding member of the experimental group Archizoom, which envisioned the groundbreaking No-Stop-City among other projects. Branzi was a key member of Studio Alchimia, founded in 1976, and went on to associate with the Memphis Group in the early 1980s.
In the mid-eighties, Branzi turned away from the highly-stylized aesthetic of postmodern design to embrace a style he called “neoprimitivism.” The key expression of his new direction was his seminal Animali Domestici (1985-1986) series, which feature rectilinear modern forms intersected by unfinished logs, sticks, and wood offcuts, upholstered with loose pelts—bringing the artificial and natural into equilibrium.
He distinguished himself as a co-founder of Domus Academy, the first international post-graduate school for design, and was a professor and chairman of the School of Interior Design at the Politecnico di Milano until 2009. Branzi is a three-time recipient of the Compasso d’Oro, honored for individual or group effort in 1979, 1987, and 1995. In 2008, Branzi was named an Honorary Royal Designer in the United Kingdom and he received an honorary degree from La Sapienza in Rome. That same year, his work was featured in an installation at the Fondation Cartier, Paris. In 2018, Branzi was the recipient of the prestigious Rolf Schock Prize in Visual Arts by the Swedish Royal Academy of Fine Arts.
Branzi’s works are held in the permanent collections of the Centre Pompidou, Paris; Israel Museum, Jerusalem; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, TX; Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY, and Victoria & Albert Museum, London among others.
He lives and works in Milan, Italy.