In the fall 2014 Triennale Design Museum presented the very first comprehensive monographic exhibition on Ugo La Pietra, from ‘60s to date, that examined the humanistic side of this eclectic designer.
An architect by training but also an artist, filmmaker (and actor), editor, musician, cartoonist and teacher, Ugo La Pietra has always been a critical observer of the real world.
He has sounded out, analysed, criticised, loved and redesigned reality with rare insight, revealing the contradictions inherent in culture and society. His entire activity, which is so varied and complex as to be difficult to pin down in theoretical terms of criticism and discipline, should be seen as a long militancy in anti-design.
His career has now spanned half a century, going through significant moments of contemporary history, with Brera as the capital of culture in the sixties, the years of protest in the seventies, and the advent of mass media and their effects on the psychological and domestic world of the eighties.
The most unexplored but also radical aspect was however his militancy towards the globalisation of the world, before the notion had gained ground, by moving towards the world of craftsmanship throughout the country. In those days the mainstream considered it to be more of a non value than a source of manual skills and culture, and the viable alternative for the design system that it has since turned out to be.
With more than 1.000 objects and archive material, the exhibition follows a route that, from the conceptual origins of his thought, manifests itself through a story – through research and experimentation, objects, device and environments – which from the individual, spreads out towards observation, reappropriation, the design of the living space, be it theoretical, inside or outside, urban or imaginary, by subscribing to the relationship between the individual and the environment as the only dialectical pole. The environment is never considered to be the strictly urban or ecological factor, but the phenomena of reality, amplifying not just the sense of the design context, but of the whole emotional, anthropological and existential baggage of our being in the world.
Accompanied by audio-visual materials, a huge number of works and documents help create a cosmology of design which emerges from a global vision of Ugo La Pietra’s work.
Ugo La Pietra. Progetto Disequilibrante
26 November 2014 – 15 February 2015, Triennale di Milano
Curator: Angela Rui
Exhibition Design: Ugo La Pietra
Visual Identity: POMO