The lesson of Carlo Scarpa and Ignazio Gardella between the lines of the interiors of Molteni&C and Dada

11 March 2022

Creative director Vincent Van Duysen pays homage to the two fathers of Italian architecture with a thick narrative project

The narrative project for Molteni&C and Dada by the creative director Vincent Van Duysen is dedicated and inspired by the work of Carlo Scarpa and Ignazio Gardella. Starting from the work and style of these two architects, the concept within which the collections of the two brands of the Molteni group are told was created. Both brands are in continuous dialogue with architecture and find particular affinity with the modernist and rationalist aesthetic that Scarpa and Gardella are close to. The first was born in Milan in 1905, the second in Venice in 1906: close by generation, they are among the first architects to adopt a modern imprint on the project and to question the past. From the building structure to the interiors, their holistic approach to design has left its mark, teaching those who came after domestic architecture.

An architecture that seeks design and production quality as a way to go to create truly liveable environments, abandoning decoration as an end in itself and embracing an approach essential in lines but always perfectly harmonious. An approach in which, moreover, it is easy to read an immediate affinity with the two brands of the Molteni group.

The narrative project imagined by Van Duysen takes up some particular traits of each architect. Carlo Scarpa’s taste for geometric backgrounds and paneling is appreciated the architect had developed it through his passion for Japan, the land where he spent the last years of his life. As well as his rigorous and linear approach to forms and the interpretation of structural elements, such as the pillars, in a sculptural, almost decorative key. The materials with their textures and their colors mark the space in an orderly and rational way. In this context, discreet formal details emerge that complete the interior, making it sophisticated and welcoming, silently elegant and always impeccable from a functional point of view.

By Ignazio Gardella, the narrative project takes up the rigor of the proportions, the visual geometries made gentle by the choice of warm, almost familiar color palettes. In the interior compositions through which Molteni&C presents his collections, one seems to find the orderly but never too austere facades of the buildings he designed, the harmonic compositions of light and shadow and the perfection of proportions. The layout is studied to the millimeter to make the movement of those who live there fluid and to create a complete composition of furnishings and accessories, in which each element is in harmonious dialogue with all the others. Rationalism passes through the filter of warm materials, such as wood and fabrics, to take on a welcoming profile while remaining faithful to its functional vocation.

Through a passionate and in-depth reading of the work of these two architects, Van Duysen finds a way to tell the projects of Molteni&C and Dada, many of which he designed. In a succession of interiors in which each element is perfectly measured and balance is the recurring feature of each environment. The result is a house in which one would like to live by entering into a relationship with functions and materials, an elegant and beautiful house to look at but which also generates a strong desire to be lived in. And in this poetic dialogue with the architecture of the twentieth century, the furnishings of the Gio Ponti Heritage collection are also inserted with ease, an excellent chapter in the history of Molteni & C that perhaps more than others has been able to bring to light all the topicality of the work of the masters of the Italian twentieth century.

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