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World-famous designer and architect Gae Aulenti

Gae Aulenti

architect - designer

World famous architect Gae Aulenti works in an extensive area of creative fields among which is industrial design, interior design, and urban planning.

Born in Palazzolo della Stella in the neighbourhood of Udine, she has graduated in architecture at the Milan Polytechnic in 1954, and has opened her own office in Milan. Among the numerous professional activities that Gae Aulenti practises are architectural works in Europe and in the United States.

Among her most important architectural projects are:
- The transformation of the Gare d' Orsay of the nineteenth century in the Musée d' Orsay (1980 - 1986, Paris, France).
- The creation of Musée National d' Art Moderne at the Centre Pompidou (1982 - 1985, Paris, France).
- The design of Palazzo Grassi in Venice (1985, Venice, Italy).
- The Museu Nacional d' Art de Catalunya (1985, Barcelona, Spain).
- The direction of the works for the refurbishment and the transformation of the Scuderie Papali (1999, Rome, Italy).
- The Asian Art Museum of San Francisco (1997 - 2001, San Francisco, United States).

As part of a group of young people influenced by Ernesto Rogers, she has worked for the magazine Casabella from 1955 to 1965 as an art director, while being at the same time involved in interesting artistic movements aimed to the promotion of innovation and originality. From 1960 to 1962 she has taught at the Università di Venezia. From 1964 to 1967 at the Polytechnic of Milan.

In 1966 she became a business associate of the manufacturer of data processing machinery Olivetti for whom she designed some showrooms like Olivetti Shop (1966, Paris, France). In 1968 she joined the car manufacturing company Fiat for whom she designed installations, stands, and showrooms. Among the showrooms are the one in Zurich (1969 - 1970, Zurich, Switzerland), the one in Brussels (1970, Brussels, Belgium), and the one in Turin (1970, Turin, Italy).

In 1963 she started working for the design company Zanotta, and about the same period she has designed the unusual Pipistrello lamps for the producer Martinelli Luce. Her creations for Zanotta include: April stool (1963), April chair (1963), April folding chair (1964), Locus Solus series (1965), Solus chair (1965), Festo table (1970), Gaetano work table (1971), Bettone bed (1971), Bettino bed (1972), Tripolina chair (1973), Cardine work table (1983), San Marco dining table (1984), Appia console table (1984), Briscolo card table (1985), Ufficio series (1986). In the period between 1968 and 1985 she also worked for other design companies like Knoll International (1971 - 1985), and Artemide (1968 - 1975).

In 1974 Gae Aulenti has designed her own office and her own apartment in Milan, Italy; in 1975 her own holiday house, a wonderful countryside house near Assisi, Umbria, Italy.

In 1985 she has started working for the company Iguzzini Illuminazione and created a lighting system, the Cestello system, for the palace Palazzo Grassi in Venice. Subsequently she has further developed the industrial production process of the lighting system along with the company. She has then used the Cestello system in many design works for museums.

The same year she has completed the design of the Musée National d' Art Moderne at the Centre Pompidou (1982 - 1985, Paris, France), and of the Museu Nacional d' Art de Catalunya (1985, Barcelona, Spain).

In 1986 she has completed the transformation of the Gare d' Orsay, a typical French underground train station of the nineteenth century, into Musée d' Orsay (1980 - 1986, Paris, France).

In 1992 she has designed the Italian Pavilion at the Expo world fair in Seville with the collaboration of Piero Castiglione and some technological contribution from Iguzzini for the lighting. Among the projects that Gae Aulenti undertook while collaborating with Iguzzini are, between 1997 and 1999, the direction of the restoration works of the Scuderie Papali of Quirinale in Rome, and in 2000 the transformation of some parts of Villa Menafoglio Litta Panza of Biumo into exhibition areas.

In 2001 she has developed a miniaturised version of the Cestello lighting system for the company Sirrahiguzzini designed for being used small spaces.

Her works have won many awards.

related subjects:


Graphic Design

Industrial Design

Italian Design