Real excited and proud to announce my small interview with the legend that is Alessandro Mendini. Mendini is an architect/designer and was also former director of magazines like Domus and Casabella. He has also won the Compasso d'Oro for his work. His work is just a beautiful mix of art, intelligence and humour.
GVSE; What first made me a fan of yours was the playfulness and humour in your work. It made me see that art can be applied to all aspects of our lives. That love of colour and playful lines made me see that your work was planted in art and rebellion. Can you say what influenced you and your work when you were starting? Did you have any set objectives when you began?
MENDINI; Since the beginning, my work has been influenced by Cubist and Futurist paintings. As for theory, I am interested in Symbolism, Expressionism, Arte Povera and the Transavanguardia. In short, animistic culture.
GVSE; What are your opinions on modern design? In my opinion, it seems that a lot of modern design lacks soul and character. A very cold and metallic world. Do you think it is becoming harder to become an individual with companies taking less risks?
MENDINI; Yes, it’s true. Designers and industries today are focused on technology instead of humanism, and that is a terrible mistake.
GVSE; Does literature have an influence in your work?
MENDINI; My design work follows a literary matrix, meaning that my objects and myself are part of an autobiography. I use “visual alphabets” that are like words layered onto objects. My favorite writer is Marcel Proust.
GVSE; I see some spirituality in your work. Is this the case? Would you say that you were a religious person?
MENDINI; I am a spiritualist and believe in religions.
GVSE; What are your thoughts on the, so called, ‘creative process’? I like what Luis Bunuel wrote about how his dreams influenced him. How he would put part of his dreams into his films. I, sadly, never remember them. Are you somebody that remembers his dreams and are influenced by this subconscious part of ourselves?
MENDINI; My dreams do not influence my work directly, but I pay much attention to psychic factors. I am fascinated by “psychological space” as opposed to geometrical space. I consider surroundings and objects as extensions of the mind.
GVSE; Of all the work you have done what are some of your favourite projects or objects and why?
MENDINI; Naturally I am more attached to certain projects. But what I like to think of is the woven story of all my characters (pretty and ugly, good and evil, rich and poor). Then I try to forget about them.
GVSE; What do you think of art and design magazines? Do you think they are doing enough in their roles?
MENDINI; Today, these magazines can give only information, not ideology. They are good at informing.
GVSE; Finally, as the magazine is called Good vs Evil. Can you tell me what pleases you and what scares you?
MENDINI; I like generosity and am terrified by violence.
Please have a look at his site at http://www.ateliermendini.it/
A big thank you goes out to Beatrice Felis for helping with the interview.
Image 1: Alessandro Mendini Poltrona di Proust, armchair, 1978
Image 2: Alessandro Mendini, Anna G. Alessi, 1994
Image 3: Alessandro Mendini, 100% Make up, vase, Alessi, 1992
Image 4: Alessandro Mendini, Casa Antonello, bedroom, Milano 1989
Image 5: Alessandro and Francesco Mendini, Groninger Museum, Holland, 1994