Rationalist Interiors

In the second half of the 1920s, a new, rigorous, and anti-decorative style began to emerge. It proposed austere and simplified forms in keeping with the demands of the irresistible rise of industrial production processes. This was the Functionalism movement, although it was better known in Italy as Rationalism. One of the earliest examples of Rationalist architecture is the Gualino office building built in Turin in 1928 designed by Giuseppe Pagano and Gino Levi Montalcini. Of the furnishings designed by the two architects all that remains is the small armchair made of “buxus”, presented in 1930 at the 4th Monza exhibition. While at that time the two movements, Novecento and Rationalism, were equally rated, by the 5th Triennial Exhibition (moved to Milan in 1933), the latter had achieved dominance in the various pavilions set up in the park around Giovanni Muzio’s Palazzo dell’Arte. Here,  inside a steel framed dwelling designed by Ligurian architects Luigi Vietti presented his curved laminated wood armchair. At the 6th Triennial Exhibition in 1936, Gabriele Mucchi exhibited his tubular metal frame chairs, which Luigi Carlo Daneri would use to furnish the Piaggio Colony in Santo Stefano d’Aveto. Here we also have the table and chairs for the dining room of Villa Bedarida in Livorno, designed by the Milanese architect Piero Bottoni in 1937, they represent a conceptual and formal reiteration of the principles of Rationalism even if they were not intended, as Mucchi’s chairs were, for mass production.