Marco Romanelli, criticism as knowledge, architecture as a passion

With Marco Romanelli we discussed and talked about everything. Recently we liked to discuss the reading of the last book in the trilogy by Pierre LamaitreThe mirror of our misery", which followed and concluded the cycle that began with See you up there” and The colors of the fire; a literary fresco on twentieth-century France, but Marco supported the need to read it in French, commenting in a not too positive way on the translation of the Italian edition. He was a refined.

Cultured and curious, kind and attentive, passionate about the culture of interiors in which he has ventured from a planning point of view as in design, Marco Romanelli has always combined his passion for criticism, for writing and for understanding what we call profession. vicissitudes of history, design and architecture, taken as a material to be best used to act in the present. From the mid-1980s, he collaborated with Domus and then with Abitare where he formed a close-knit and cohesive work group with Italo Lupi. Among the various editorial adventures there are many books dedicated to figures and themes of design, the catalogs for exhibitions of which he was curator and inventor, working alongside the Milanese cultural institutions from the Triennale to the nascent ADI Design Museum, with an exhibition on the work by Renata Bonfanti for which he is also the author of the installation.

Many have been his critical contributions, never taken for granted, also for Interni, and recently those for the online magazine of the Salone del Mobile in the Design and Surroundings section. In a paper of last May, dedicated to silence (“Le silence marchait, musique en tête”, quoting the famous phrase of Cocteau) Marco revealed between the lines his gentle character, where words were never shouted, not avant-garde slogans nor ideological preconceptions dictated by easy truths, but reflections and readings, interpretations and criticisms. “Let's not forget that silence, both in architecture and in design, is a valid antidote to wear and tear. As we all know, in fact, words and signs wear out over time, causing a mechanism of obsolescence and therefore of rejection. The noisy objects of our past will sooner or later build our children's landfill, on the contrary silent objects will continue to live with us and with our heirs (and we will learn to preserve and restore them)”.

During the first lockdown, in April 2020, Marco titled his writing “(these days) read, but above all reread!” and finding in the Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry (a book of 1941 translated into 120 languages) a happy and surprising design handbook in pills, he concluded by suggesting: “Here, then, is the exercise to be done, these days: reread a 'work you loved, without moralizing, but transforming it into an opportunity for planning reflection. To those without ideas I could recommend the Odyssey”. A long journey, like the one that Marco undertook too soon; we already miss you old oak, as you used to call every friend.