Milan Triennale 1933
Luciano Baldessari (1896-1982) – set designer, architect and exhibition designer – is one of the lesser-known Italian rationalists of the 1930s. After studying architecture in Milan in the early 1920s, he lived for four years in Berlin – arguably the European centre of the artistic avant garde at the time. There he met, among others, Mies van der Rohe, Walter Gropius and Hans Poelzig, and produced sketches of theatre sets for the celebrated director Max Reinhardt. Back in Milan, Baldessari started working both as a set designer and as an architect. This photograph shows his Press Pavilion (Padiglione della Stampa) for the 5th Triennale in Milan, considered one of his best works. It consists of two contrasting volumes: one more solid and imposing, realised in brick, and the other light and transparent, made of steel and glass, and flanked by five free-standing columns – or ‘chimneys’ in the architect’s intended reading. Exhibited as a project by Henry-Russell Hitchcock at MoMA in New York in 1936, the pavilion was unfortunately demolished at the end of the war.