Triennale di Milano: manifesto Oggetti esistibili.La pubblicità fa design

Born as a panorama of modern decorative and industrial arts, with the purpose of stimulating the relationship between industry, the manufacturing sectors and applied arts, the Triennial quickly revealed itself as a mirror of the artistic and architectural culture in Italy and one of the main centres of confrontation for emerging trends.

The desire to assert the unity of the arts and the privileged role of figurative arts in communication with society was expressed in the presentation of a series of large murals, mosaics and sculptures at the 5th Triennial of 1933. In the course of the following decades this relationship was repeatedly emphasised, thanks to works by artists like Fontana, Baj, Martini, Pomodoro, De Chirico, Burri and, more recently, Merz, Paolini and Pistoletto.

Immediately after the war the Triennale, under the guidance of Bottoni, tackled with great determination the very topical question of reconstruction, promoting the creation of an experimental district on the outskirts of Milan, known as the QT8, which represented, in the sector of council-house building, a summary of the results gathered both in the architectural and town-planning fields in Italy and abroad. The town-planning schemes and the technological innovations applied to the building industry remained the key theme of the Trienniale for the entire 1950s period.

The theme of industrial design, launched in 1940 with the International Exhibition of Serial Production, was tackled in an organic and articulate way in subsequent editions, through reviews dedicated exclusively to the theme, through the international convention of 1954 (the first in Italy on the subject) and through the 'Golden Compass' exhibitions. In the same period, the Triennial encouraged the emergence of international phenomena such as Scandinavian and Japanese design, which were able to introduce and express themselves through national departments of great interest, organised by leading figures.

From 1960 onwards the Triennial focused, through the expressive tools of exhibition, on the problems imposed by the economic development and social transformation taking place in the world: Home and School (1960), Free Time (1964), Large Numbers (1968), The Cities of the World and the Future of the Metropolis (1988), Life in Terms of Things and Nature - Design and the Environmental Challenge (1992), Identity and Difference - Integration and Plurality in the Forms of Our Time - Cultures in Terms of the Ephemeral and the Lasting (1996).

More recently, the Trienniale extended its own competence to fashion and audio-visual communication and, since becoming a foundation in 1999, it has redefined its own aims. Today's activities are direct towards research and exhibitions about architecture, town planning, decorative and visual arts, design, handcraft, industrial production, fashion and audio-visual communication.