Fantastical spaces

Dream Factories at the Milan Furniture Fair looks to the people, ideas and paradoxes of Italian design.

In celebration and recognition of the 50th anniversary of the Milan Furniture Fair this year, the Triennale Design Museum presents “Dream Factories”. Subtitled “People, ideas and paradoxes of Italian design”, the exhibition looks to the work of companies and individuals and various projects that have played a role in shaping the history of Italian design.

The exhibition, which can be seen until 26 February 2012, covers a spectrum of Italian design history as far back as the end of World War II. It also looks particularly at the works that have contributed to the global success of the Milan Furniture Fair.

Alberto Alessi curated the exhibition which features an overview of iconic objects while emphasising the nature of “factories of Italian design”, as he likes to refer to them. The overall design of the exhibition space is the work of Martí Guixé who wanted the show to be an adventure, not dissimilar to the journey of Alice in Wonderland. It was about developing a conversation between the designers and the objects, the histories of great entrepreneurs together with the fictional imagery of authors like Lewis Carroll.

Dream Factories is organised around 12 themes:

1. The phenomenon of the powerhouses of Italian design;
2. Powerhouses of Italian design vs mass-production industries;
3. What is the real meaning of the term "design"?;
4. The role of objects in a consumer society;
5. The powerhouses of Italian design as research laboratories
6. Design as art and poetry;
7. Transgression as a constant in the history of Italian design;
8. The languages of objects and designers;
9. The technique of epiphany in contemporary design;
10. The practice of the borderline;
11. Paranoic designers and metanoic designers;
12. The metaphor of the good gardener.

The exhibition also features life-size totems of “courageous captains” or entrepreneurs where the front features full portraits of great Italian designers and the back has all the information about the relevant company. All the pieces in the exhibition may be touched, sat on, or used, with the more precious pieces being placed under glass protection.

Watch the Talk with Martí Guixé