Italy has been home to many great artists and architects. In the 14th century, the world witnessed the Italian Renaissance period. The world’s first architecture textbook, De Architectura was written by an Italian architect Marcus Vitruvius Pollio. History has appreciated many influential Italian architects who are known for their works worldwide like Andrea Palladio, Giacomo Vignola, Filippo Brunelleschi, Michelangelo Buonarotti, and Raphael Sanzio. The following list focuses on some of the prominent and influential Italian architects from the 19th century onwards.
1. Renzo Piano
Acknowledged for his projects like Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, The Shard in London, The Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City, Renzo Piano is one of the most celebrated architects in the world. He has been awarded Cavaliere di Gran Croce Ordine al Merito Della Repubblica Italiana in 1990, Kyoto Prize in 1990, Pritzker Prize in 1998, International Union of Architects Gold Medal in 2002, Sonning Prize in 2008, to name a few. The jury for the prestigious Pritzker compared Piano to Michelangelo and da Vinci and credited him with redefining modern and postmodern architecture. In 1981, he founded Renzo Piano Building Workshop and later, in 2004, became head of the Renzo Piano Foundation. In August 2013, he was appointed as Senator for Life in the Italian Senate following he set up a team of young architects called G124, who strive to work on the transformation of Italy’s major city suburbs.
Born in Milan, Stefano Boeri is an Italian architect and urban planner. He has worked as a professor of Urban Planning at Milan Politecnico and as a guest lecturer at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design, Strelka Institute, Berlage Institute, and the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne. As of now, he is appointed as the director of the Future City Lab, at Tongji University in Shanghai. He founded Stefano Boeri Architetti studio whose work ranges from “the production of urban visions and architecture to interior and product design” with a primary focus on the geopolitical and environmental implications on the urban environment. His famous works include Bosco Verticale in Milan, Blloku Cube in Albania, Palazzo Verde in Belgium, Liuzhou Forest City in China, and Ca’ Delle Alzaie in Italy.
3. Massimiliano Fuksas
Massimiliano Fuksas, principal architect of Studio Fuksas together with his wife Doriana Mandrelli Fuksas has offices in Rome, Paris, and Shenzhen.Fuksas, a graduate from University of Rome received the Grand Prix National d’Architecture Française in 1999 and was also named for the National Academic of San Luca. Studio Fuksas is an international multidisciplinary company that works on a variety of projects such as airports, museums, cultural centers, offices, and urban interventions through innovative approaches. Some of his profound projects include Twin Tower in Vienna, FieraMilano complex in Milan, Zénith Music Hall in Strasbourg, PalaLottomatica Facade, Rome.
4. Ettore Sottsass
Ettore Sottsass was an architect and designer and was a significant personality in design history. After college, he served in the Italian military and after that opened his architecture and design firm in Milan, Italy. There he worked on different media like ceramic, lighting, furniture, photography, jewelry, architecture, and interior design. His works were associated with pop culture and preferred bright colors, statement pieces. Sottsass was a member of the International Movement for an Imaginist Bauhaus. He later resigned due to lack of professionalism. He was a versatile designer and worked with different materials to create products. He was a leading member of the Memphis group founded in 1981, whose main aim was to revive Radical Design. In the 1970s, he was a prominent figure of the ‘Radical Movement’ and later in the 1980s played a crucial role in ‘Postmodernism’.
5. Mario Bellini
Internationally renowned architect and designer Mario Bellini is an eight-time Golden Compass Award winner. He pursued his graduation from Milan Polytechnic – Faculty of Architecture and started working in the early 1960s. From 1963, he started his career as a product and furniture designer. Later, from 1985 to 1991 he worked as the editor of Domus Magazine. After the 1980s, Bellini shifted his attention back to architecture and since then has designed notable structures including the Portello Trade Fair district in Milan, the Villa Erba Exhibition, Deutsche Bank Headquarters in Frankfurt to name a few. Twenty five of his works belong to the permanent design collection of the New York Museum of Modern Art.
6. Cino Zucchi
Cino Zucchi an alumnus of MIT, Cambridge in Art and Design and later pursued Architecture from the Politecnico di Milano. He is quite active in theory and teaching and constantly takes part in seminars and conferences at various prestigious institutes. Apart from teaching Architectural and Urban Design, Zucchi also practices and has designed residential, public buildings, and private museums. His list of notable projects includes Epano Skala Port, Mytilene-Lesbo in 1996, restoration of mining areas in Herten on the Ruhr in 2001, Central Pasila Tower Area, Helsinki in 2009, a housing complex in the former Rossi & Catelli factory, Parma in 2011 and urban improvement scheme at Nuvola Lavazza, Turin. Through his design, he aims to identify “new spatial solutions for contemporary living in the complex, delicate context of the European landscape”.
7. Piero Lissoni
Piero Lissoni, an architect and designer, with Nicoletta Canesi, founded Lissoni Associati in Milan, a studio that focuses on architecture, interior, and product design. Lissoni design’s prime focus has always been human beings. His works include international projects in the fields of architecture, landscape, interior, product, and graphic design. Some of his works include Grand Hotel Billia in Saint Vincent, Conservatorium Hotel in Amsterdam, expansion of Teatro Nazionale in Milan, Mamilla Hotel in the Old City of Jerusalem, and stores for De Padova and Fantini in Milan. Apart from that, he has also worked as creative director for Alpi, B&B Italia, Living Divani, Lema, Porro, Boffi, Lualdi, and Sanlorenzo.
8. Andrea Branzi
Born in Florence in 1938, Andrea Branzi is a designer, architect, and artist. He graduated from Florence School of Architecture and has worked in the field of industrial design, architecture, urban planning, and cultural promotion. Branzi was one of the most respected voices in the Radical Architecture movement. He was one of the founding members of Archizoom Associati and was part of the group from 1964 to 1974. To concentrate his focus on architecture, urban planning, interior and industrial design he opened his studio. He was one of the founders of the Domus Academy in Milan, and, in 1994, was awarded a Compasso d’Oro for lifetime achievement. His projects are regularly exhibited for the world to see.
9. Alessandro Mendin
A graduate of Politecnico di Milano, Mendini began his career at Marcello Nizzoli’s studio. He worked there till 1970 and after that directed magazines such as Casabella, Modo, and Domus. Simultaneously he also founded Global Tools in 1973, a collective that strongly opposed tradition and promoted radical design. Alessandro in 1989 established Atelier Mendini in Milan, where he worked as a designer and consultant in collaboration with other companies and also simultaneously on furniture and installations. As an architect, he designed buildings such as the Alessi residence in Omegna, Teatrino Della Bicchieraia in Arezzo, a memorial tower in Hiroshima, and the Arosa Casino in Switzerland to name a few. In 2014 he received the ADI Compasso d’Oro Career Award.
10. Vittorio Magnago Lampugnani
Architect, architectural theorist, historian, and professor of History of Urban Design at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, V.M.Lampugnani was born in 1951 . Some of his prominent works include an office building in Berlin, a housing group in Maria Lankowitz near Graz, an entrance square of the Audi Forum in Ingolstadt while, his is widely appreciated architectural publications like Architecture of the 20th century in drawings, Architecture and city planning in the 20th century, Encyclopaedia of 20th-century architecture, have been translated into several languages. He practices and promotes a sustainable form of architecture without modernist or postmodernist glamour.
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