Joe Colombo’s future at the GAM in Milan

“Designers will no longer just draw with a pencil, they will create in partnership with technicians, scientists, professors and doctors and, in the fairly near future, even electronic brains,” stated the visionary and forward-thinking designer Joe Colombo. Indeed, after the fact, we must admit “Dear Joe Colombo, you taught us the future”, as it is put by the title of the ongoing exhibition at the GAM Galleria d’Arte Moderna in Milan.

Curated by Ignazia Favata and organized by Suazes with the Joe Colombo archive and the GAM, the exhibition traces the thought and steps the designer took towards his experiments with technology and material. It starts from his first experiences in the Fifties (joining the Nuclear Art Movement and the introduction to the industrial world) and continues to the Future Habitats, like his home in via Argelati in Milan or the Total Furnishing Unit he designed for the MOMA.

The exhibition reveals Joe Colombo, the great maestro who had already foreseen the future in the Seventies, in his approach to design and his capacity to experiment and constantly change. Indeed, Joe Colombo’s world was constantly undergoing transformations because the designer always knew how to look ahead with optimism: a philosophy which gets reflected in each of his projects. This began from his own home, which was a manifesto of his thought and a “machine inhabited by small robotic pieces of furniture” that transformed as needed.

His philosophy was capable of shocking (it was he who told Gae Aulenti that one day we would have a wireless phone in our pockets) because it came from the deep and unstoppable curiosity he cultivated and directed towards anything: from architecture to music, the mountains and psychology.

With eyes set on the future, a push towards innovation and priority always given to functionality, Joe Colombo was capable of seeing the diverse and potential uses of every object. Immersed in sketches and drafts, he designed objects, environments and accessories by integrating functions, changing them, mixing up volumes and structures. He proposed new ways of conceiving of home design and was (and remains) a “prophet of design”, as Stefano Casciani and Anna Del Gatto defined him in 2000 in a RAI broadcast.

Where: GAM Galleria d’Arte Moderna via Palestro 16, Milan, Italy
When: until September 4, 2022



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