At Italy On This Day you will read about events and festivals, about important moments in history, and about the people who have made Italy the country it is today, and where they came from. Italy is a country rich in art and music, fashion and design, food and wine, sporting achievement and political diversity. Italy On This Day provides fascinating insights to help you enjoy it all the more.

Sunday, 26 February 2017

Angelo Mangiarotti - architect and designer

Iconic glass church among legacy to city of Milan 


Angelo Mangiarotti, pictured at a conference in 2007
Angelo Mangiarotti, pictured at a conference in 2007
Angelo Mangiarotti, regarded by his peers as one of the greats of modern Italian architecture and design, was born on this day in 1921 in Milan.

Many notable examples of his work in urban design can be found in his home city, including the Repubblica and Venezia underground stations, the iconic glass church of Nostra Signora della Misericordia in the Baranzate suburb and several unique residential properties, including the distinctive Casa a tre cilindri - composed of a trio of cylindrical blocks - in Via Gavirate in the San Siro district of the city.

He also worked extensively in furniture design with major companies such as Vistosi, Fontana Arte, Danese, Artemide, Skipper and the kitchen producer Snaidero.

Inside the glass Chiesa di Nostra Signora della Misericordia
Inside the glass Chiesa di Nostra Signora della Misericordia
Mangiarotti graduated from the Architecture School of the Politecnico di Milano in 1948. He moved to the United States in 1953 and worked in Chicago as a visiting professor for the Illinois Institute of Technology. While in Illinois, he met internationally renowned architects Frank Lloyd Wright, Walter Gropius, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and Konrad Wachsmann, all of whom were substantial influences.

He returned to Italy in 1950 and opened his own architectural firm in Milan with fellow architect Bruno Morassutti, a partnership which was active until 1960.

It was with Morasutti and another Milan-based designer and engineer, Aldo Favini, that Mangiarotti collaborated on the Chiesa di Nostra Signora della Misericordia, which signalled a massive change in the design features and construction techniques of Italian churches.

The church, in the Baranzate suburb to the north-west of Milan, was constructed of concrete, steel and glass - chosen as the materials that fuelled the rebirth of Italy after the devastation of the Second World War.

The Case a tre cilindri in the San Siro district of Milan
The Case a tre cilindri in the San Siro district of Milan
Mangiarotti's original designs helped create a timeless building that has recently been restored and continues to be an impressive example of modern, progressive design even 60 years after its original construction.

The church is very near the Fiera Milano metro station, which was Mangiarotti's last architectural project before his death in 2012.

Mangiarotti's designs for furniture, lighting, decorative objects, ceramics and glassware remain highly collectible and sell for high prices.  He also created a famous collection of Murano glass Giogali Lighting produced by Vistosi.

His partnership with Rino Snaidero, which began in 1960, helped establish Snaidero's position as a leader in kitchen design.

Mangiarotti designed the Cruscotto kitchen and Sistema lines for Snaidero, both of which were notable for the exceptionally refined materials used.  The Cruscotto design was exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

The distinctive Snaidero headquarters building
The distinctive Snaidero headquarters building
The relationship between Snaidero and Mangiarotti reached its peak when the architect was given the job of designing the new building to house Snaidero's offices and central headquarters in Majano in the province of Udine, for which he created a mushroom-shaped main building with a fibreglass facade secured to a reinforced concrete structure, supported by four columns.

It had rounded corners and slightly protruding elliptical windows reminiscent of a ship or an aeroplane.

Mangiarotti, who died in 2012 aged 91, passed on his ideas as a lecturer at universities and technical institutes in Venice, Palermo, Florence and Milan in Italy, as well as Lausanne in Switzerland, Hawaii and Adelaide, Australia.   His work won numerous awards.

Travel tip:

The San Siro district of Milan originated as a small settlement in the 19th century in the area now known as Piazzale Lotto. The area developed in the 20th century and has since become a very diverse district, with a mix of green space and congested residential neighbourhoods, combining villas and apartment blocks serving different income groups, and a concentration of sports facilities, most notably the Giuseppe Meazza football stadium, home of AC Milan and Internazionale, the Milanese hippodrome horse racing track and the Palasport di San Siro arena, which is mainly used for basketball and volleyball.

Milan hotels from Hotels.com

The Piazza della Libertà in Udine
The Piazza della Libertà in Udine
Travel tip:

Majano, the base of the Snaidero company headquarters that Mangiarotti designed, is a short distance from the city of Udine, an attractive and wealthy provincial city which is the gastronomic capital of Friuli. Udine's most attractive area lies within the medieval centre, which has Venetian, Greek and Roman influences. The main square, Piazza della Libertà, features the town hall, the Loggia del Lionello, built in 1448–1457 in the Venetian-Gothic style, and a clock tower, the Torre dell’Orologio, which is similar to the clock tower in Piazza San Marco - St Mark's Square - in Venice.

Udine hotels by Expedia

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