17th Triennale Di Milano+-

project name : 17th Triennale di Milano; “Living in a Loft”

location : Milan, Italy

year of design: 1984

client: Triennale di Milano

architect: George Ranalli

associates: Robert Silman Structural Engineer

design team: Nick Dermand

photographer: Matteo Piazza, Stefano Valebrega

The Triennale di Milano, Italy, has acted as a laboratory of design for decades. The premise of the show, Il Progetto Domestico, explored themes prevalent, at the time, on domesticity, the city, and history, as well as many other topical areas of theoretical discourses.

Ranalli Architect saw an invitation to participate in the exhibition as a chance to explore the principles and values of design impacting the environment of the gallery and the world beyond the exhibit room. The project for Il Progetto Domestico posited residential life in a converted industrial space as a real alternative to the normative domestic box. Industrial spaces provide practical clarity in their structure, fenestration, and spatial order. Positioning residential space into a former industrial building offers extraordinary opportunity to investigate how one lives, and how the domestic interior evolves within the architecture of former industrial complexes.

The visitors to the exhibit experience the design for ‘Trienniale’ by moving through the space, from the main hall, inward, for a new residential experience. Openings in the volume reveal routes through the suite of rooms, with views upwards, and through the block, until one is inside a protected enclave set between the new construction and the existing shell of the industrial container. Here the interior unfolded for the visitor, with each space dedicated to a living function, represented by a piece of furniture. Movement continues up a discrete staircase to a second floor, to a bedroom space, and beyond, to another room with a chaise longue, fabricated of molded sheet steel, projected out and suspended over the dining table. Back downstairs in the “courtyard” style open space, one end of a dining table of grey-and-white marble rests on a steel pedestal, nestled into sculpted spaces in the residential block. At the far end of the table, stands a ladder-back, black-lacquer dining chair, which was fabricated by Promosedia in Udine, Italy.