The Vico Magistretti Foundation not only preserves the archives of one of Italy's great designers, it is also spreading awareness about his built works – public and private – around the city of Milan. One of Italy's great Modernist designers, Vico Magistretti's projects and interests included industrial design, furniture design, architecture and urban planning. He became well known in Italy, and beyond, for his furniture for manufacturers including Kartell and Serralunga. Today his legacy lives on through the work of the Vico Magistretti Foundation, one of a growing collection of privately owned museums that are preserving the works of local architects and designers.
Opened to the public in 2010, the equity foundation run by Susanna Magistretti, the architect’s daughter, was officially founded by the Triennale Design Museum of Milan. Divided into the 'Studio Museum' and the 'Outdoor Museum', the foundation holds a large and important portfolio of around 30,000 sketches and drawings, 7,000 photographs, 3,000 documents and a collection of models and prototypes at Magistretti's Milan studio on via Conservatorio 20.
Like so many cities around the world where modern buildings are not protected, the Vico Magistretti Foundation developed the 'Outdoor Museum' in Milan not only as a city guide to Magistretti's built works but also to spread awareness and appreciation for modern architecture amongst the public at large. Dotted in and around the urban fabric of Milan the architecture selection was curated around the accessibility of each building to public transport – three underground railway lines: "the only modern thing in Milan", as Magistretti would say – with all of the buildings located within a radius of just a few hundred metres from an underground station.
Some significant works, such as the S. Felice neighbourhood of Milan (1966-1969) in the eastern suburbs of the city, the La Viridiana neighbourhood along via Forze Armate (1969), Siloe Residence in via Cesari (1970-73) have been left out but with so many good examples included it's certainly not lacking in content. Highlights of the tour are the Santa Maria Nascente Church, the Modena film theatre and housing on via San Gregorio and the office and apartment building he designed on via Leopardi.
For information on the tour and a map, visit the Vico Magistretti Foundation here.