fulvio ferrari AWARDED THE GOLDEN MADONNINA OF THE DESIGN PRIZE 2021
fulvio ferrari receives the golden madonnina trophy of milan’s THE DESIGN PRIZE 2021 in the category ‘best curator’ for ‘museo casa mollino’, the turin apartment-turn-museum of italian architect, designer, and photographer carlo mollino (1905-1973). the riverside apartment, which mollino designed for himself on the first floor of the 1888 ‘villa avondo’, dates to between 1960 and 1968 and was not intended to be his home, but a private project imagined with a strong symbolism. after mollino’s death in 1973, the apartment was saved by the engineer aldo vandoni and served as his studio until 1999, when fulvio ferrari and his son, napoleone ferrari, stepped in and established the museum.
‘mollino’s apartment is a very big mystery – he kept it secret!’ fulvio ferrari tells designboom during our visit to museo casa mollino. ‘he spent a long time redesigning the interior, even modifying the ceiling. it is unheard of for an architect to be working so intensely on a project without documenting, photographing or even using the space once completed. mollino never lived in this interior. he was positive that after his death the space should be destroyed, dismantled, and, in fact, this almost did happen. it was ‘discovered’ after his death and it is only thanks to a couple of miracles that, today, this unique interior by mollino still exists in torino.‘
in the video above, fulvio ferrari receives THE DESIGN PRIZE 2021 golden madonnina, and gives us a tour of museo casa mollino, uncovering some of the secrets of this magical ‘egyptian book of the dead’.
image courtesy of museo casa mollino
header image: fulvio ferrari receives THE DESIGN PRIZE 2021 golden madonnina | image © designboom
DESIGNBOOM VISITS MUSEO CASA MOLLINO IN TURIN
overlooking the river po in the center of turin, museo casa mollino contains almost all the original furnishings chosen by carlo mollino and precisely arranged in the overall setting. with much attentive research and restoration, fulvio and napoleone ferrari have brought the shrine-like apartment back to its original condition as much as possible, offering a unique chance to comprehend the complexity of the character and work of one of italy’s most influential 20th-century protagonists. today, the museum is complemented by archives of documents, publications and photographs concerning every aspect and period of mollino’s work.
‘mollino composed the interior using his furniture as well as designs from other architects, such as the table by vico magistretti and lamps by sarfatti and arteluce. doors taken from a theater were transformed into big important mirrors – yes, totally fake but everything is only symbolic here!‘ continues fulvio ferrari, who has made it his life’s work to conserve and protect every element of this unique project. ‘the apartment was put together not in an aesthetic composition but in a kind of philosophical composition. this interior can be seen like the egyptian book of the dead, the papyrus. a guide book to the afterlife. to earn the promise of eternal life. an integral part of the world’s spiritual heritage. carlo mollino was writing – without any words – his own book to be back in life again. he was an engineer and I think the interior was a self-demonstration of his own ability and understanding of life. a last chapter, a final thesis, his last will and testament.‘
suddenly, at the age of 68, the existence of one of the most eccentric figures of the last century ended. his afterlife began, the one for which he had long tried to be equipped.
image © designboom
CARLO MOLLINO (1905-1973)
born in turin in 1905, carlo mollino embodied the figure of the italian renaissance polymath in a modern context. besides designing buildings, interiors, and furniture, he was a photographer, a writer, a skier, an aerobatic pilot, an engineer, a designer, and a professor at the polytechnic of turin. in the 1930s he was among the very few architects, internationally speaking, to introduce elements of surrealist art and culture into the modern movement. free from any rigid ideological position, he went on to define a synthetic form of eclecticism that prefigured the contemporary. among the buildings that mollino is remembered for are the horse riding club of turin(1937-40), the casa del sole apartment building in cervinia (1945-54), and turin’s regio opera house (1965-73).
image © designboom
most of our readers know of his fame as a dandy, as a ‘whorehouse architect’, because they have seen some of the famous polaroids … mollino was rich, enormously rich thanks to the fortune accumulated by his father, a widely known engineer. throughout his life he had no economic worries and this allowed him to devote himself totally to his passions: skiing, acrobatic flights, motor racing… a genius that at the age of 28 wrote his own [fictionalized] autobiography (‘vita di oberon’, published as a monthly series on the italian magazine casabella).
image © designboom
an apartment in which carlo mollino never lived and of which almost nobody was aware of its existence. the painter carol rama, a friend of the architect who lived in via napione at number 15 – practically across the street – was completely unaware that mollino had somehow become her neighbor.