Probably the most prestigious institution dedicated to the arts in Italy, the Triennale di Milano has finally revived the practice from which it took its name, that of grand triennial international exhibitions. It’s been 20 years since the last proper one, a millennium has turned, much has changed in the world, and the theme of the long-awaited, new and improved, 21st International Exhibition of 2016 aka XX1T is, appropriately enough, ’21st Century. Design After Design’. Design has gone global and creativity bursts from every corner of five continents; it’s become, necessarily, transversal among traditional arts disciplines but also increasingly tied up with social shifts, communities, regional issues and local cultures; markets are global too, and ever more fickle. So XX1T asks and aims to answer some burning questions on the present and future of design. How? With an across-the-board event comprising not only exhibitions lasting the full five months (from April 2 to September 12) but also lectures and conferences, performances and workshops, shows, festivals and competitions on a daily and/or weekly basis. International participants hail from 30 countries and run the gamut from whole states, regions and cities to universities and schools, businesses and individual professionals.
The monumental Palazzo dell’Arte in Parco Sempione, the Triennale’s home since it was purpose-built in 1933, will naturally be the epicentre of XX1T, but at least 10 more venues around the city and in Monza (where the first ever international exhibition of decorative arts in Italy was held in 1923) are involved in hosting 20 exhibitions and all the rest. In Milan, they include BASE Milano and the MUDEC in Zona Tortona, and others as diverse as the Diocesan Museum, the Pirelli HangarBicocca out in the northern reaches, both city campuses of the Politecnico university, and part of the Expo Milano 2015 area. Keep an eye on XX1T for the full programme. But don’t miss the exhibition W. Women in Italian Design at the Palazzo dell’Arte itself, curated by Triennale director Silvana Annicchiarico, or a series of ideas on the future of cities coordinated by Pierluigi Nicolin, City after the City at the Expo Milano 2015 area (starting later, probably in May). But also Architecture as Art at the HangarBicocca, and Cino Zucchi’s highly-developed reflections on contemporary architecture in Sempering at the MUDEC…. Actually, don’t miss any of them, if you can, in five more hot months in Milan.