Marco Sammicheli on La Casa (Imperfetta) by Inga Sempé where projects, objects and sketches by the French designer are displayed in a domestic scenario to be explored as unexpected guests

The exhibitionInga Sempé. La Casa Imperfetta at the Triennale di Milano is like a game of Cluedo. You enter a space that is asmall Parisian apartment, a domestic scenario designed by Studio A/C.

The evanescent fabric walls, an entrance, a dining room, bathroom, kitchen, living room. And around 200 objects designed by Inga Sempé. The visitor has the task of orienting himself among the many works on display, armed with a legend given at the entrance.

Marco Sammicheli talks about Inga Sempé, La Casa Imperfetta from 15 April to 23 September at the Triennale di Milano.

Marco Sammicheli: “Inga Sempé says that French design does not exist. On the other hand, there are French designers, who train in their country and then root their design strength with Italian companies. It is the story of the Bouroullec brothers, of Philippe Starck…

Inga arrived in Italy to study at the Milan Polytechnic, but after a couple of hours of class she felt like a fish out of water.

She then repaired to George Sowden's studio and there she learned what a design studio is. Design, model, build prototypes, organize the work. Finally, after other experiences in illustrious studios, she was a scholarship holder at the French Academy in Rome and there she was discovered by Cappellini and Luceplan".

A home to freely explore the work of Inga Sempé

“La Casa Imperfetta continues the Triennale's program of investigation into the biographies of contemporary authors and new exhibition methods. We are part of a curatorial path that is concerned with making design an object of curiosity in a museum space that is committed to being informative, in dialogue with the public.

The exhibition will be a three-dimensional game of Cluedo.

You enter a house that seems to have been vacated a few minutes ago by its inhabitants, with the sensation of suddenly being in a private place as unannounced visitors. The invitation is to explore freely, do whatever you want: touch objects, lie down on the bed, open drawers, sit on the sofa."

Eighty percent of the furnishings are by Inga Sempé, the rest was chosen by her. Giò Ponti's bathroom, George Sowden's telephone. A hortus conclusus that also tells Inga through a domestic soundtrack: the radio, the sounds of the kitchen, of the kettle. A diffusion of domestic sounds composed especially for the exhibition. And finally there will be some beautiful works of art, also chosen together by Inga and me."

Growing up in the quintessential Left Bank: design to be just Inga Sempé

“Some works by Domenico Gnoli, much loved by the designer, will be on display. And works by Saul Steinberg from the Triennale collection. We discussed this point for a long time: Inga was not born into any family.

Her father is Jean-Jacques Sempé, an institution for French culture: the inventor of Little Nicolas. He designed the Paris we all love to imagine. Her mother is Mette Ivers, an illustrator of Danish origin who often depicts interiors with strangely out-of-scale furniture. Almost the story of the designer's destiny."

The search for the obsolete in material culture: if it resists fashion it makes sense

“Inga is interested in siphons, switches, joints, mechanical and dynamic details because it was her way to survive and find her way. in a house frequented by intellectuals and artists, between the Côte d'Azur and Paris, she experienced the quintessence of the Left Bank.

Her parents were looking for the obsolete, for originality. In the marché aux puces she finds it and traces the recurring forms, the styles that return.

And she thinks: if it resists fashion it means that there is a reason, a harmony of relationships between shapes and materials that makes sense, it is not just style. A work of reconnaissance that has nothing nostalgic about it and forms that material culture that innervates the entire history of design".

The techniques, the solutions, the mechanics: the skill of a "plumber" of design

“We find ourselves faced with a designer impervious to any aesthetic formalism. A designer who hates the idea of a master, of a visual reference. I chose to dedicate an exhibition to her because she is a French designer who exists because Italian companies exist: Mutina, Magis, Cappellini, Alessi, Luceplan. THE

In more recent stages of her career she has also worked with French and Scandinavian companies, a move that has given her much popularity without changing the way she works. She is interested in absorbing the techniques, the solutions, the mechanics: she is a plumber of design "

“A great designer, always attentive to modeling and the prototype. Before planning the curatorial structure of the exhibition together, I tried to get to know her well, I followed her at fairs and press conferences. And it is during a presentation at the Bon Marché of the cookware collection for Revol Porcelaine that I truly understood who Inga is, I understood her oratorical ability, her linear thought, simple, pragmatic. She is a demanding "girl", raised in an environment accustomed to producing culture.