by Jerry ElengicalJun 15, 2022
"Luca Meda is not just a leading figure in Italian design and architecture. For the Molteni Group, he's been a guide, a master, a close partner into the revolutionary step from classic to modern style," says Francesca Molteni, filmmaker, writer and curator, as well as the scion and proprietor of the Molteni furniture empire and founder of the creative lab Muse Factory of Projects. 'Luca Medaarchitetture, design e disegni' or 'Luca Meda architecture, design and drawings',published by Silvana Editoriale, is the first monographic publication dedicated to the Italian artist who played a prominent role in shaping the distinct creative path of the Molteni Group. On the occasion of Italian Design Day 2022, scheduled to take place on March 23, 2022, ADI Design Museum will host a special presentation dedicated to unveiling the book as well as celebrating the contributions of Luca Meda to the Molteni Group in particular and to the Italian design and architecture scene at large.
While his works have often been cited, reproduced, critiqued and appreciated in publications and verbal proclamations, the monograph outlines Luca Meda's life and works in entirety and presents a comprehensive analysis and narration of the different facets of his professional offerings. Heralded by the Archivio Progetti of the University Iuav of Venice, the publication marks the beginning of extensive research into Meda's work. While the initial work of assembling archives and decanting them into organised and coherent data began in 2013, the publication was only completed in 2021 with the help of the archival fund of the University Iuav of Venice as well as the financial and material support of the Molteni Group.
Curated by Nicola Braghieri, Sabina Carboni and Serena Maffioletti, 'Luca Medaarchitetture, design e disegni' carries critical essays by GiampieroBosoni, Rosa Chiesa, Alberto Ferlenga, Beatrice Lampariello, Chiara Lecce, Mario Piazza and Dario Scodeller. It comprises, amongst other things, drawings, prototypes and product designs that are representative of Meda's prominent and unequivocal contribution to the rise of the Molteni Group, touted today as a leader in the furnishing industry, and comprising the three companies: Molteni&CSpA, UniforSpA and CitterioSpA, each of which deals in particular sectors under the larger group.
Born in 1936, Luca Meda was a prominent Italian post-war artist and designer, who, in a career spanning almost 40 years, contributed towards the design and architecture of the mid-to-late 20th century in Italy, while also playing a key role as a businessman at the Molteni Group. By influencing the creative culture at the group during the mid-20thcentury, he was able to effectively help the furnishing brand make a shift from classicism to modernism, thus successfully establishing the foundation for a company that stands out with its high-end and chic range of furniture and interior products. Meda's offerings in both creative and pragmatic areas serve as a perfect reflection of his multifaceted and dynamic personality.
Meda, before and during his tenure as the art director at the Molteni Group, was many things: a happy artist, a clever designer, a pragmatic businessperson and an empathetic individual. Not only was he responsible for designing iconic furniture pieces like the Piroscafo bookshelf, Zim chairs and Ho armchair, all of which illustrated the influence of figurative art and utilised the offerings of technological advancements, but also spearheaded projects that fulfilled business demands without compromising with the innovation of designs created by artists and architects. The monograph is an attempt to capture and illustrate this character of Meda. It carries within it well curated drawings and designs as well as descriptions that highlight the key differences between architecture and industrial design, while also celebrating the pure abstract forms that have come to define the modern figurative tradition.
The birth of the Italian designer in Chiavari and education in Milan and Germany prominently influenced both his intellectual and emotional growth. While an education at some of the most prestigious design schools like the Art School of Brera in Milan and the Hochschule fürGestaltung in Ulm, Germany, contributed greatly to his sense of designing objects defined by clean lines and pure shapes, his fondness for the charming alleys, streets, archaic homes and discreet interiors of Milan helped him develop a sense of appreciation for artistic creativity that is induced by more than just mere utilitarianism.
Meda's untimely death in 1998 was met with a unanimous sigh by the creative industry and especially by Molteni. However, his intellectual and moral legacy, combined with his unambiguous efforts towards redefining what Molteni meant and how it is identified today, served as beacons of inspiration for the Group to not only continue on this defined path, but also pave the way for newer paths and targets. "For the Molteni family, Meda was a special friend and a passionate companion. We shared amazing holidays in Elba Island and Venice, sleepless nights installing objects, furniture and paintings at the Salone del Mobile, unique thoughts and concepts in design. For me, he was a big smile and a humoristic touch into ordinary life," Francesca fondly recalls. The publication of the monograph, thus, serves both as a homage to the extraordinary figure and an extended elegy to the loss of Meda, and with him, his perennially climactic creative and practical contributions.