The eleventh edition of the Triennale Design Museum tells the story of Italian design by using a whole series of stories, which together illustrate its complex nature.

The display goes in two directions: on the one hand, the story unfolds diachronically, while on the other, five themes are examined in a way that allows design to be interpreted through the lens of other disciplines.

180 works dating from 1902 to 1998 – most of which come from the Permanent Collection of the Triennale Design Museum – have been selected as the most representative of Italian design. The choice is based on their innovative technology and shapes, their aesthetic qualities, experimental nature, iconic appeal, and success among the public. They introduce the debate about which pieces no museum of design should ever be without and which ones can be considered as “icons” – and also if this term is actually appropriate when talking about design.

The materials on show appear in chronological order, covering five periods: 1902-1945, 1946-1963, 1964-1972, 1973-1983, 1984-1998. The decision to keep 1998 as the end of the selection, intentionally leaving out the past two decades, allows scholars to analyse the discipline from a distance, in terms of time and criticism. It also highlights today’s great change in parameters, which makes it difficult to express opinions about a panorama that is still very fluid.

The special thematic areas are those of Politics, curated by Vanni Pasca, Geography and Economics, both curated by Manolo de Giorgi, Technology, curated by Raimonda Riccini, and Communication, curated by Maddalena Dalla Mura.