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17—23 April
Milano Design Week 2023
Design Variations by Mosca Partners
Circolo Filologico Milanese, via Clerici 10, Milan


Centro Studi Poltronova presents

Poltronova beyond the mirror


In order of appearance
– Lapo Binazzi
– Franco Raggi
– De Pas, D’Urbino, Lomazzi
– Ettore Sottsass jr.
– Archizoom Associati
– Gianni Pettena
– Superstudio
– Nigel Coates


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On the occasion of Milan Design Week 2023, Centro Studi Poltronova renews its synergy with Mosca Partners for Design Variations, this time crossing the threshold of the Palazzo del Circolo Filologico Milanese in the heart of the Brera Design District.
From 17 to 23 April, the Tuscan company will take centre stage. In the large and evocative Liberty Hall, under the luminous eye of a suggestive skylight, in a maze of rooms suspended in space and time, iconic objects and unusual new proposals will be displayed as if they had jumped out of one of the over ten thousand volumes of the library of the city’s oldest cultural association that has its headquarters here.
With ULTRAFAVOLA, inspired by its own “best seller”, the Ultrafragola mirror designed by Ettore Sottsass, the Centro Studi Poltronova, just like in Lewis Carroll’s novel Through the Looking Glass and what Alice Found There, invites you to go beyond reflective surfaces to discover the magical dimension of part of its fantastic product catalogue.
If today the mirror is an overbearingly reflective medium of the hedonistic dimension of social networks (so much so that Ultrafragola has been defined by the New York Times as “Everyone’s Favorite Selfie Mirror”), since the 1970s it has played an important role in contemporary expressive practices.
The mirror is a “threshold-phenomenon” in the reflections of well-known semioticians (Umberto Eco, Sugli specchi e altri saggi “On Mirrors and Other Essays”, 1985), just as it takes on a strong symbolic value in photography as well as in the performing arts (Michelangelo Pistoletto, Mirror Pictures).

“When is reality different from how it appears?
When you look at its image reflected in a mirror.”

Thus Luigi Pirandello in I vecchi e i giovani (The Old and the Young) of 1913, recalling the myth of Narcissus, uses the mirror that “duplicates” reality by overturning its image as an ambiguous instrument that reveals truth or projects illusion, as something that can help human beings in their progression or lead them to madness.
Starting from these suggestions, Poltronova, The Dream Factory, tells its story by trying to use the mirror as an element of amplification of its variegated, complex identity. The visual and performative journey winds its way through eight environments, bubble rooms each dedicated to a furnishing accessory – Joe, Ultrafragola, Safari, Superonda, Plasma, Mies, Rumble and Canton in its new colours – where, in a surreal atmosphere dictated by a play of “curtains” composed of strips of metallised film and a reflecting floor, the public can walk around and let its imagination run free.
On the side, products such as the lighting fixtures Gherpe – which according to Tuscan fairy tale tradition is a sea monster – Sanremo and Passiflora will amplify the playful and dreamlike dimension of the installation.

overview of the exhibition

Like the yellow brick road that leads to happiness, to connect the various environments, Poltronova is thinking of a path of Autostrada carpets that represent the real novelty of this year and are shown exclusively at Fuorisalone 2023. Designed by Lapo Binazzi, a former member of the radical UFO collective, and produced in a single copy by Poltronova in 1990 on the occasion of the exhibition Il Dolce Stil Novo (della casa) curated by Andrea Branzi at the Fondazione Palazzo Strozzi in Florence, the Autostrada project was recovered and reworked by the author on the basis of an autograph sketch kept in the Poltronova Study Centre for Design Archives notified to the Superintendence of Fine Arts.
The result is a new cult object, a carpet replicating a carriageway with a dotted centreline and grass border on the sides. The hand tufted wool carpet system consists of two modules -one curved and one rectangular- which, also playing with three different colour combinations, allow endless compositional possibilities.
Autostrada is not the only rug to be added to Poltronova’s already rich catalogue. Thanks to the precious collaboration with cc-tapis -an Italian company that produces contemporary hand-knotted carpets, created in Nepal by expert Tibetan craftsmen- CSP presents a further trio of new carpet series.


Farfalla, Prato and Cielo are inspired by the lively fabric pattern designed by Archizoom Associates in 1967. Stella and Stellina are a nod to the iconic Joe armchair tribute to Joe DiMaggio. Sofo are an off-scale re-proposition of the trademark and logotype designed by Superstudio for the identity of the colourful modular seating of the same name. These rugs are “the deck of the boat” that wants to go the distance – quoting -, a beautiful and extravagant skin that a mirrored floor will contribute to make even more surprising.
The Poltronova collection has always worked with its heterogeneous archive to construct a poetic and symbolic dimension of living, as is also demonstrated by this new series of products in natural fibres on which cc-tapis imprints the wisdom of craftsmen’s hands and which defines the bond between man and the space in which he chooses to live. An “artificial universe” the home, as Branzi defined it, in which the design project wants to be read as an integral part of the evolutionary dynamics of society, as the result of a search for form and substance that translates a desire for vitality, a thought, a taste and a personality that is not homologated.