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Italy: The New Domestic Landscape

Starting in the mid-sixties something strange was brewing over in the architecture/design community in Italy. A group of young architects and designers were putting just as much focus on the social implications of design as the aesthetics. Their work was a direct response to all the high minded design taking places in Italy at the time and came to be known as “Radical Design”, challenging the role of creating gradiose buildings and objects in the face of poverty and urban decay.

Two of the key groups involved were Archizoom and Superstudio, collectives from Florence that kicked off the initial experiments. Although much of their work was theoretical and never physically broke ground, they used any method necessary to get their ideas across, such as short films, photo collages, and installation art.

The high point of the movement came in 1972 when the MoMA mounted a large scale exhibition called “Italy: The New Domestic Landscape“, featuring the major players from the Florence scene, as well as other Italian designers working in a similar manner. On display were a wide array of items including furniture, posters, films, models, drafts and installations.

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