nightmare’, grumbled Building Design. Aulenti didn’t
care. ‘Twenty thousand people a day stand in line
waiting to get in,’ she retorted.
The controversy did her no harm. Her career is dotted
with honours and prizes, beginning in 1964 with the
Grand International Prize at the Milan Triennial for
an installation in the Italian Pavilion. In 1987 she was
named a Chevalier of the Légion d’Honneur by French
president François Mitterrand, and in 1991 she was
awarded the prestigious Praemium Imperiale prize for
architecture. She did her adopted city proud; she died
aged 84, just two months before the opening of the
piazza named in her honour.
Her name might be synonymous with grand-scale public
works, but it is arguably in her smaller, more intimate
creations – the elegant, witty lamps, tables and chairs
for everyday use – that Aulenti’s zest for the simple, the
unorthodox and the fun is most clearly expressed.
Opposite: Aulenti designed Patroclo for Artemide in 1975. An irregular
rhomboid metal frame and faceted glass give a mottled light
Above and left: Pietra and Diamante, codesigned with Piero Castiglioni
Overleaf: refined version of Cestello pendant for iGuzzini,1986, with
Castiglioni. Aulenti (right) mulls over a design in later life