Five exhibitions on design and architecture not to be missed: in Venice (with the Design Biennial with an intriguing theme, Autoexotic), Rome, Milan and on Lake Maggiore

While the Architecture Biennial is underway, Venice is also hosting the Design Biennial, which is the start of our exhibition reporting of the week.

Venice Design Biennial, various venues Venice, until June 18

The Venice Design Biennial chooses an interesting theme for its 2023:  Autoexotic, illustrated with a poster showing a photo of a floating basket, positioned in the sea: beach matches, with an actually exotic taste.

But the theme is very serious:what do we mean when we say exotic, today? Nothing to do with the eighteenth-century orientalisms that told of immobile societies in their preservation of ancient and intriguing traditions.

The world is turned upside down and the dynamism perhaps belongs more to those regions once exotic for Westerners than the other way around, so exoticism today must be sought in the folds of one's own culture. Here, marginal or avant-garde self-exoticisms are those that can be encountered in this Biennale, which invites designers to think about otherness, with all the radicalism necessary to break down the prejudices.

Many designers have joined the proposal, nine exhibitions around the city including the outcome of the Venice Design Biennial Residency, won this year by the Australian Trent Jansen, > who realizes his new project in collaboration with Vetralia Collectible.

Ah, I forgot: the choice of Venice, of course, is not accidental.

Exotic itself, a hinge between East and West, the Land of Marco Polo which, as we read in the presentation, has opened new horizons for the first time to the eye and to the imagination applied to an elsewhere beyond the limits of known experience.

Who will like it: the most curious, those who think that even a dish of spaghetti with tomato sauce can be exotic... it just depends on the point of view!

Useful information: The Venice Design Biennial is open until 18 June. Different exhibition venues and opening hours. All information can be found on the Venice Design Biennial website

Steven Holl. Half earth - watercolors and architectural fragments, Antonia Jannone Architecture Drawings, Milan, from 26 May to July 14

The pencil of Steven Holl </ strong> has translated, in each of his works, the philosophical thought into the architectural one (or vice versa).

These two forms of thought are precisely the hallmark of the architect and architectural theorist who has dotted the planet with museums, universities, campuses and other places of and for culture.

In this exhibition the theme is ecology and the title, Half Earth, is a quotation from the homonymous work by Edward Osborn Wilson in which the scholar was trying to map the animal and plant species in the world to identify places where man would have had more room for intervention by protecting ecosystems.

Holl's mini-utopias also fit into this theoretical line, designed to conserve or restore ecosystems in difficulty through ecological architecture powered by renewable energies.

His gaze is directed to the spaces on the edge of the big American cities, but also to the Gran Sasso. Alongside maquettes and projects there are also large watercolors, works of art and thought that combine John Cage's idea of creation controlled by chance with his own philosophy of design, a daily form of meditation to get to the essential.

Thus if the forms are largely left to water, it is through drawing that Holl establishes a connection between the subjective and the objective element.

Who will like it: architects, philosophers, anyone who researches utopias, current or not.

Useful information: Antonia Jannone architectural drawings, Corso Garibaldi 125, Milan, open from Monday to Saturday from 3.30pm to 7.30pm.

Reversing the Eye. Photography, film and video in the years of poor art, Triennale, Milan, until 3 September

Quentin Bajac, director of Jeu de Paume, Diane Dufour, director of LE BAL, Giuliano Sergio, independent curator, and LorenzaBravetta, curator for photography, cinema and new media at Triennale Milano have developed this exhibition to investigate the relationship between poor art and cinema, photography and video.

The itinerary is made up of four sections, Body, Experience, Image and Theatre in which 250 works by 49 artists question the relationship between space, time, reality and representation.

The title is a quote from a work by Giuseppe Penone from 1970 and brings together the participation of exponents of poor art, such as Giovanni Anselmo, Alighiero Boetti, Luciano Fabro, Giosetta Fioroni, Jannis Kounellis, Ketty La Rocca, Mario and Marisa Merz, Michelangelo Pistoletto and Franco Vaccari, alongside artists who have exhibited with them or have been influenced by them such as Elisabetta Catalano, Mario Cresci, Luigi Ghirri, Mimmo Jodice, Ugo Mulas. An extraordinary journey into the expressive means of poor art, photos, cinema and video, ready to tell an avant-garde and its life.

Who will like it: photography and poor art enthusiasts.

Useful information: Triennale Milano, viale Alemagna 6, open from Tuesday to Sunday from 11am to 8pm.

Arnaldo Pomodoro. The Great Theater of Civilizations, Palace della Civiltà Italiana, Rome, until October 1st

The theater is the one that stages the life of Arnaldo Pomodoro and his works, created over 70 years of creativity. To welcome him is the Palazzo della Civiltà in Rome, now the Roman headquarters ofFendi.

The monumental works of the sculptor then intertwine with the monumental architecture of the building, then the theatrical dimension is the basis of the exhibition.

Because Pomodoro's work for the theater finds space in an installation that seeks to investigate the connections between the visual arts and the performing arts, but also between the design dimension of the work and its realisation.

There is also another element: civilization. In Pomodoro's works we can easily trace a common thread that connects archaic, classical, modern and even fantastic civilizations. The exhibition itinerary begins outside the building with the four sculptures that make up the cycle Le forme del mito, redesigning the so-called square Colosseum, in an open work, to be interpreted anew.

But this is only the beginning, the exhibition then winds its way inside with stage costumes, sculptures and archival photographic material. The exhibition is created by Fendi with the curatorship of Lorenzo Respi and Andrea Viliani and the collaboration of the Arnaldo Pomodoro Foundation.

Who will like it: those who think that architecture is living matter, those who love the intersection between different arts.

Useful information: Palazzo della Civiltà Italiana, Quadrato della Concordia 3, Rome Eur, open every day from 10 to 20.

The SCI, Società Ceramica Italiana, at the 1st biennial exhibition of international decorative arts in Monza, May 1923: an exhibition on the centenary of the exhibition, MIDeC – International Museum of Ceramic Design, Laveno Mombello (Va) – until 09 July

It was May 1923 when the Villa Reale hosted the first edition of the Biennale of international decorative arts, born with the intention of promoting Italian products and supporting the country's economic recovery after the war.

Some decree that this exhibition marked the birth of design because its objective was to stimulate collaboration between artists and industrialists. The layout of that first Biennial was curated by Piero Portaluppi, Art Director of the Italian Ceramic Society at the time, and he had conceived it around a large fireplace in the canteen.

One hundred years after that event, the International Museum of Ceramic Design together with the Triennale, the Fondazione Portaluppi and the Archive of the Municipality of Monza , recall that extraordinary event by bringing to light many of those pieces, now owned by the MIDeC and private collectors, together with a series of new artefacts, in an exhibition curated by Anty Pansera and Giacinta Cavagna, with a particular scene designed by the set designer Ivo Tomasi.

Who will like it: those who love the decorative arts and in particular ceramic artefacts, an extraordinary material that has fascinated artists and craftsmen in every historical period.

Useful information: MIDeC, Lungolago Perabò, 5, Cerro di Laveno Mombello (Varese), open from Friday to Sunday from 10 - 12.30 and 14 - 17; from Tuesday to Thursday only in the morning.