The Molteni Group has presented the book: Luca Meda. Architecture, Design, Drawings. This is the first volume entirely dedicated to the designer and architect whose work has been enriching the history of Italian industrial design and architecture since the 1960s
by Sophia Negri
The volume, Luca Meda. Architecture, Design, Drawings, edited by Nicola Braghieri, Sabina Carboni, Serena Maffioletti with critical essays by Giampiero Bosoni, Rosa Chiesa, Alberto Ferlenga, Beatrice Lampariello, Chiara Lecce, Mario Piazza, and Dario Scodeller, and published by Silvana Editoriale, combines an accurate biography and critical analyses of Meda’s works with an accurate collection of all the artworks by the architect and designer. The book presentation is not only the moment in which this monograph is made public, but it also coincides with the completion of a meticulous process of research and analysis of the many materials and testimonies related to Meda as a person and artist.
In almost forty years of professional activity, Luca Meda dealt with projects ranging from architecture, often in collaboration with his great friend Aldo Rossi, to industrial design as a whole, designing technological products such as radios and televisions for Radiomarelli, small electrical appliances for Girmi and Moulinex, furniture and furnishings for Molteni&C, Dada, UniFor, Longoni and Arflex.
Main projects by Luca Meda
Living area systems like 505 (1972) and Pass (1997), sleeping area systems as 7volte7 (1988) and Glissquattro (1991), Serie Teatro (1982) and Piroscafo bookcase (1991) together with Aldo Rossi, single pieces like Les Beaux Jours (1985), Vivette (1988), Capotavola (1988), Risiedo (1988), Portafinestra (1989) and Primafila (1990); kitchens for Dada, like Vela (1993), Pergola (1986) and Banco (1994); office furnishings like Misura (1973) with Richard Sapper and Progetto 25 (1985).
The volume explores the life and works of the designer, who is also known as the ‘Man-Company’ because of his extraordinary skill in combining design and business and is the result of an eight-year-long sorting process initiated in 2013.
Since 1968, when he joined Molteni&C, he held the position of art director which allowed him to work with industrial design at 360°, dealing not only with furniture design but also with installations, images, catalogues, photography, and graphic design, shaping the profile of companies such as Molteni&C and Dada and making them what they are today.
The research into Luca Meda’s work has been carried out by the Archivio Progetti of the Iuav University in Venice, with the on-loan acquisition of his archive, commissioned by his wife Giulia Balossi Restelli and daughters Chiara and Sofia. This first source was then integrated with the valuable historical archive of the Molteni Group. The company, for which Luca Meda traced the path towards the development of the large now internationally renowned group, in fact, supported the publication of the book, both financially and by actively contributing to finding the materials.
Since 1968, when he joined Molteni&C, Luca Meda was the Art Director for the companies within the Molteni Group. A role that allowed him to tackle the industrial design sector in an all-embracing way, dealing not only with furniture design, but also with installations, images, catalogues, photography, and graphic design, shaping the profile of companies such as Molteni&C and Dada and making them what they are today. Meda’s first considerable challenge at Molteni was to lead the transition of Molteni&C from a production centred on period furniture to one based on modern design pieces. Luca Meda was a leading figure in Italian industrial design and architecture between the 1960s and the 1990s. A skilful designer and inventive artist, he managed to prolifically intertwine the worlds of industrial production and figurative art. His projects are a sublime illustration of the tight bond between corporate culture and the inventive power of its craftsmen, architects, and artists.
Molteni&C’s transition from a production based on period furniture in 1967 to modern, design-oriented pieces was the first considerable challenge Meda faced and won, especially by designing modular systems for living and sleeping areas, which were the basis of his collaboration that lasted over several decades.
The book, Luca Meda. Architecture, Design, Drawings, invites reflection on the frail boundary that divides architecture and industrial design, inventiveness, and memory. In the book, drawings, prototypes, and artefacts are shown to celebrate the persistence of few and precise shapes. These are the abstract shapes of the modern figurative tradition, pure shapes, almost symbols, developed during his early years as an architect. Essential shapes, which, even though they change in terms of their daily use, size, or materiality, continually surface, transform, and relate to the models of family memory and the repertoire of objects of affection. Simple products and ordinary architecture become scenes of a happy life and seem ready to be reabsorbed by the constant flow of life.
(Luca Meda, The Man-Company – Barchemagazine.com – June 2022)