Triennale Milano inaugurates Sala Sottsass, reconstruction and permanent fitting out of the nucleus of a private Milanese residence. A series of exhibitions will follow each other

The reconstruction of Casa Lana is an enchanting story, an idea cloaked in a special aura, punctuated by fortuitous circumstances that facilitated the development of a complicated project. A difficult but strongly desired project, a collective project , passionate and intense in its being contained and intimate: a beautiful project. A project that “comes from a series of coincidences, with a direction...” explains in the heartfelt press conference Stefano Boeri, president of Triennale Milano.

On the first floor of the Palazzo dell'Arte, Sala Sottsass contains the reconstruction and permanent display of an interior of Casa Lana, a private residence designed by Ettore Sottsass in the mid-1960s in Milan, kept perfectly intact by the Lana family and now accessible to the public thanks to a donation by Barbara Radice Sottsass.

Around the central area of what is configured as a 'room within a room', a series of exhibitions curated by Marco Sammicheli with layout and graphic design by Christoph Radl. Because Casa Lana wants to be a precious treasure chest, but 'alive'.

A room within a room, permanent and ‘alive

Stefano Boeri, President of Triennale Milano, says that “Today Triennale Milano is giving the world a wonderful surprise: the faithful reconstruction of a part of Ettore Sottsass’s Casa Lana, a 'room within a room' that Triennale has dismantled and reassembled exactly as it was, thanks to the assistance of Iskra Grisogono of Studio Sottsass and to conversations with the family of the original owner. Milan is now home to an authentic time machine, created by one of the international geniuses of the twentieth century”.

A little piazza is created, where one can move and meet”

The central area of the Casa Lana, on display at Triennale, consists of a wooden structure with sofas arranged in such a way as to form a protected place to sit and chat or listen to music, while the space around it can be used for various activities and purposes. The spaces are optimised because, by eliminating the corridors, “a little piazza is created, where one can move and meet”, as Ettore Sottsass himself described it (Domus, 1967).

The faithful reconstruction which fits perfectly into Muzio's architecture

The layout of the Sala Sottsass and its faithful reconstruction are the outcome of a meticulous study by the Triennale Milano archive and restoration centre, which saw the participation of Luca Cipelletti, and Christoph Radl, who followed the art direction of the project.

The first of the exhibitions dedicated to the conceptual work of Ettore Sottsass

A series of exhibitions and events, highlighting different aspects of the great master’s works and ideas, are being put on around the permanent display of the Casa Lana. Alongside the various exhibitions, a number of targeted donations will form the core of an important collection of works by the architect Ettore Sottsass Jr in the permanent collection of Triennale Milano.

The first exhibition, Ettore Sottsass. Struttura e colore, open to the public from 3 December 2021 to 13 March 2022, takes from the title of an article written by Sottsass in 1954. The display includes paintings, drawings, photographs and objects that reveal his close attention to the relationship between man and his needs, his rituals, and the space he lives in.

The second event, Ettore Sottsass. Il calcolo, set to run from May to November 2022, will examine the relationship between large numbers and technology, as well as his collaboration with Olivetti. The third show, entitled Ettore Sottsass. La parola, from December 2022 to April 2023, will open up to the narrative and literary power of Sottsass’s work.

A passionate and engaging choral project

Casa Lana is a collective, intimate and precious project, the result of the passionate and tireless work of many people - including Carla Morogallo, operational director of Triennale Milano, "the invisible councilor" Michele De Lucchi and the late Giovanni Gastel to whom the Palazzo dell’Arte is dedicating a double exhibition (read here) - explains Barbara Radice Sottsass, who concludes her speech thanking Ettore for the message he left to everyone: a suggestion, a drawing “always full of compassion” which he explains by quoting an excerpt from a text written by Sottsass in 2002 and published in the book Whose empty houses are they? recently published by Adelphi.

“I am left with this idea: the idea that you can identify the existence or perhaps even just enduring it by spending time imagining an artificial environment. Imagine it with everything that can help me and others to live it, to find each other, to draw themselves, to show themselves to the world and then more or less, as much as possible, to be happy. There is someone who designs the place to wait and someone who designs a glass to let people know what is wine. I always thought that maybe I could try to design places where I could find some strength to wait or maybe I could also draw a very red box that should never be opened so as not to let the enigma out”.

Read also: why the book Whose are the empty houses? by Ettore Sottsass is the perfect gift even for those who don't know anything about design