Atelier Mendini

Milano | Since 1989

Atelier Mendini
Via Sannio, 24, 20137 Milano, Italy
Phone +39 02 55185185
Fax +39 02 59900974


Architects, Product designers
Atelier Mendini
Alessandro and Francesco Mendini, Architects

Architect Alessandro Mendini was born in Milan in 1931.He has been editor-in chief of the magazines Casabella, Modo and Domus.
Monographs on his individual work and his projects with the Alchimia group have been published in different languages.

He designs objects, furniture, concept interiors, paintings, installations and architecture. International collaborations include Alessi, Philips, Cartier, Swatch, Hermès and Venini. Alessandro Mendini is design and image consultant to different types of companies, from Italy to the Far East. He is an honorary member of the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design in Jerusalem. In 1979 and 1981 he was awarded the Compasso d’Oro of design; in France he carries the title of Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres; he is the recipient of an honorary title from the Architectural League of New York and was awarded an honorary doctorate degree from the Milan Polytechnic. At the Universität für angewandte Kunst in Vienna, Mendini has worked as professor of design. He is an honorary professor at the Academic Council of Gangzhou Academy of Fine Arts in China.
His work is featured in many museums and private collections.

With his brother Francesco Mendini, he opened Atelier Mendini in Milan in 1989. Projects include the Alessi factory in Omegna; the new Olympic pool in Trieste; a series of subway stops in Naples; the refurbishment of the Naples City Hall, the Byblos Art Hotel Villa Amistà in Verona, Italy; the new offices of Trend Group in Vicenza; the renewal of three industrial areas with buildings for commerce, offices, apartment hotels and homes in Milan Bovisa; a tower in Hiroshima, Japan; the Groninger Museum in Holland; a district of Lugano, Switzerland; the Madsack office building in Hanover, a commercial building in Lörrach, Germany and other buildings in Europe and the USA.

Mendini and the Atelier are currently coordinating a public project in Korea that entails a number of buildings: “Milan Design City”, which includes the new Incheon trade-show center and a branch of the Triennale di Milano.
All of Mendini’s different types of work - theoretic, written and design-oriented – are rooted in the crossroads between art, design and architecture.

Jaime Hayon, Artist-designer

Spanish artist-designer Jaime Hayon was born in Madrid in 1974. His vision was first fully exposed in the ‘Mediterranean Digital Baroque’ and ‘Mon Cirque’ installation. These collections put Jaime at the forefront a new wave that blurred the lines between art, decoration and design and a renaissance in finely-crafted, intricate objects within the context of contemporary design culture.

Jaime further defined his vision in subsequent solo exhibitions and shows at major galleries and design and art fairs all over the globe. His wide client base spans diverse functions and mediums, including domestic furniture for b.d. ediciones, ArtQuitect, Established and Sons, Moooi, Gaia and Gino, among others. He has designed lighting fixtures for Metalarte and Swarovski and sophisticated objects for Bisazza, Lladró and Baccarat. He has also executed complete interiors for leading hotels, restaurants and retail establishments.

Jaime currently resides in London, with offices in Barcelona and Treviso (Italy). His work has appeared in the most prestigious art and design publications worldwide. He has won numerous awards. Most recently, he was guest of honor at the 2008 Interieur Biennial in Belgium, the youngest person ever to receive the accolade.

Maarten Baas, Designer

Dutch designer Maarten Baas (19/02/1978) was born in Arnsberg, Germany but moved to The Netherlands in 1979 where he grew up. Upon graduating from high school in 1995 he began his studies at the prestigious Design Academy Eindhoven. Baas designed the candleholder Knuckle, which was taken into production by Pols’ Potten, while he was still studying. In 2000 he studied for several months at the Politecnico di Milano, in Milan.

In June 2002 he graduated from the Design Academy Eindhoven with two concepts. One of them being the now famous and generally known Smoke series, for which Baas charred furniture and treated the torched skeletons with a coating, turning them into useable pieces of furniture again.

Three of these Smoke pieces became part of the collection of Marcel Wanders’ international design label Moooi, who launched them during the Salone del Mobile in 2003, where they were welcomed with applause. This sensation was followed by a solo-show at Moss gallery in New York, one year later, where the Smoke series were expanded by design classics from the 20th century, including pieces by Rietveld, Eames, Gaudi and Sottsass. Soon the Smoke collection was considered by museums, critics, collectors and the design public as an iconic collection of modern design and Smoke has been taken into several permanent collections of influential museums around the world (a.o Victoria & Albert Museum, Groninger Museum, Montreal Museum of Fine Arts).

In 2005 Baas began collaborating with Bas den Herder, who is now responsible for the production and development of almost all of Maarten Baas’s designs. The founding of studio Baas & den Herder made it possible to further work out Maarten’s unique, handmade pieces and to produce them on a larger scale. This new collaboration also allows Baas to take on even more ambitious projects for hotels, restaurants, galleries, museums and private commissioners from all over the world.

Maarten approaches design without knowledge of, or care for, predisposed boundaries and finds his cause in undertaking new experiments. This method of approach was further strengthened for his exhibition at the Salone del Mobile 2005, where he unveiled his ‘Treasure Furniture’, ‘Hey, chair, be a bookshelf!’ and ‘Flatpack Furniture’ which where yet again received with great anticipation and critical acclaim, and meanwhile have been taking into several collections (a.o. Los Angeles Museum for Modern Art, FNAC, Indianapolis Museum of Art).
In the same year, Maarten collaborated with Ian Schrager’s design team on the new Gramercy Park Hotel. Baas supplied diverse, specialy made Smoke pieces for the rooms and the lobby of the hotel.

During the Salone del Mobile in 2006 Maarten presented Clay Furniture, which was immediately recognized as the natural successor to Smoke and was ultimately one of the most surprising projects unveiled at the festival. In that same year the Design Museum in London displayed 18 pieces from the Clay collection. Besides the Design Museum, several other museums showed interest in Clay and the piece was taken into the collections of a.o. the Röhsska Museet Göteborg, the Groninger Museum en the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts.

Baas continued his work by launching other, bespoken collections in the following years, during the Salone del Mobile, such as Sculpt in 2007.
One year later, in 2008, his rough and authentic presentation with a selection of both old and new work, was the most talked about exhibition in Milan. Here, he showed, a.o. the Plastic Chair in Wood (which is now included in the permanent collection of Die Neue Sammlung - The International Design Museum Munich, Germany), that was part of the solo-exhibition The Shanghai Riddle with Contrasts Gallery, Shanghai, later that year. At the same time, in Milan, prototypes of the controversial, Limited Edition series The Chankley Bore where shown with the international label Established & Sons. In October, the series was presented in London during the Frieze Art Fair.

In 2009 Baas designed, for the first time since his collaboration with Moooi in 2003, unlimited pieces for other labels. For the new, Italian label Skitsch, he developed the cartooneskly shaped, porcelain tableware The Haphazard Harmony. And for the British Established & Sons the dining chair Standard Unique, a chair that is constructed in such a way that each produced part brings in a unique chair.

The revolutionary concept Real Time (2009), brought a new dimension to Baas’s work. By filming actors that, indicate the time by hand every minute during 12 hours, these films can function as a clock. The work was purchased immediately by the Rijksmuseum and still in the same year by a.o. the Philip Johnson Glass House and the Zuiderzeemuseum, with whom a close collaboration came into existence.

Real Time is a distinctive example of Maarten Baas’s work, which cannot be categorised easily. While many debate about, if this work is art or design, Baas does not bother himself with this question, but only with his work, with which he obtained a unique position in a very short amount of time. With private commissions for a.o. Adam Lindemann, Brad Pitt, Fabio Novembre, Ian Schrager, Li Edelkoort, Michael Ovitz and John McEnroe, collaborations with companies such as Morgane Hotel Group and Dom Ruinart, galleries such as Galleria Rossana Orlandi (Milan), Cibone (Tokyo), Moss (NY) and many museums.
At the end of 2009, Baas will, as by far the youngest designer ever, during Design Miami/ be awarded as Designer of the Year.

Maarten Baas lives and works on a farm in the countryside near ‘s Hertogenbosch.

Talk about the 'Groninger Museum'

So today, the Groninger Museum begins its second life. I am happy about this second inauguration of the Groninger Museum, fifteen years after the first one. For us – my brother Francesco, my team and myself – this beautiful adventure began in 1990, when Frans Haks, director, proposed that we design the Museum. Bringing the Museum to its final completion was not easy, and we often found ourselves in the middle of tough civic debates. Frans Haks invented the cultural formula of the Museum, and we owe the pleasure of this exceptional experience to him. From the start, the museum was to be composed of separate pavilions, some of them designed together with guest architects: Michele De Lucchi, Philippe Starck, Coop-Himmelblau and Frank Stella. The assistence of Team 4 and all Dutch friends was significant. The project was based on the idea of an “island of culture”, a kind of utopian acropolis.

Today, the arts, architecture, cities and the world itself are one big patchwork. Also this Museum is a patchwork. It is the back stage of works of art, its image reflected in the water of the canal as if it were a mirage. The shapes and contents of this building mix images, volumes, colors, materials, creators, eras and methods. Over the past fifteen years, the program of activities of the museum has been a flow of continuous variety in new approaches and new artists. We see this today in the work for the Museum by Maarten Baas, Jaime Hayon and Studio Job. These sophisticated projects, inaugurated today, are a continuation of the idea of a labyrinth that leads visitors to a different dimension - one of the original design ideas. The interiors were meant to be as varied as possible, in order to display the artwork in active, not neutral, architectural spaces that would generate surprise, curiosity and attention. On the exteriors each pavilion had his own identity, corresponding to the different cultural sections: history, design and crafts, classical art and contemporary art. The whole was to be a self-representation of different architectures.

Fortunately, the Museum has attracted a much larger number of visitors than expected, and in turn, this led over the years to the necessity of replacing worn-out materials and integrating new functions and technical equipments in accordance with the real life at the Museum.

The improvements and new net of cultural activities set up by director Kees van Twist have led to the decision to renew the architectural complex. We were asked to supervise this project. This means that we, as original designers of the Museum have studied, redesigned and restored our own building, and changed its skin, like they do in Japan to the ancient wooden temples. We have introduced new looks and new materials, such as the big silk-screened ceramics tiles, for the Proust façade, manufactured by the historical factory Royal Tichelaar Makkum.

We are very flattered by the Museum leaders’ interest in our original project, which was respected in all its aesthetic aspects as if it were a historical monument. Thanks to Mark Wilson and Caspar Martens. And this is how visitors will discover an unusual situation: a Museum that they have known for quite some years has been renewed in a subliminal way.

Alessandro Mendini
December 2010