Lina Bo Bardi Giancarlo Palanti
Studio d’Arte Palma 1948-1951
In this exhibition, Design Museum Gent tells the story of one of the strongest women in 20th-century architecture. As well as being an architect, the Italian-Brazilian Lina Bo Bardi was a writer, set designer, illustrator and furniture designer. That final aspect of her life, often ignored until now, is the main focus of this exhibition.
A multidisciplinary approach
Many of the pieces on display, particularly chairs and armchairs, are rare items from Brazil. When Nina Yashar, the founder of the Nilufar Gallery in Milan where the exhibition was held during the Salone del Mobile in 2018, visited Lina Bo Bardi’s Casa de Vidro or Glass House in São Paulo, she was immediately intrigued. She spent three years trying to reconstruct Lina Bo Bardi’s story.
“Lina is a typical example of someone who takes a multidisciplinary approach. Her work is the perfect synthesis between innovation and the preservation of cultural roots. For example, she created a number of pioneering projects with strong humanist and anthropological connotations. Contrasts keep her designs in balance: anatomical perfection alongside the imperfections of hand-crafting, and minimalism juxtaposed with a more baroque sensuality”, Yashar tells us.
Pioneer of Brazilian design
While Lina Bo Bardi was discovering modernism and rationalism in Italy, she immersed herself in the power of Brazilian landscapes, materials and culture. She was the first to attempt to make modern furniture, including the first foldable and stackable chair, thus making her a pioneer of Brazilian design.
Since her pieces of furniture were usually designed for a specific purpose and a particular context, production was relatively limited. Her furniture is both iconic and ordinary, bringing past and present as well as rules and freedom into perfect balance. That makes it seem as though time has had no influence on her furniture, which represents a kind of eternal modernism. It is a powerful expression of the generous, all-encompassing design philosophy of this revolutionary architect.
Pedestals of brick
The exhibition design is by Space Caviar. The Italian design studio drew its inspiration from Lina Bo Bardi’s design for the church of Espirito Santo do Cerrado, which is characterised by a typically sophisticated simplicity. Besides the furniture, which is displayed on brick pedestals, the exhibition includes a series of archive photographs that take you right inside Lina Bo Bardi’s universe.
As an architect, designer, set designer, editor, writer and illustrator, Lina Bo Bardi (1914-1992) was a woman of many talents, with a generous and uncompromising view of design. After studying architecture in Italy during the Second World War, she joined the resistance, an experience that lay at the root of her understanding of architecture as a political and social phenomenon. From 1946 onwards, she continued to develop her architectural vision in Brazil, where she wrote sharp-witted texts and designed striking buildings and settings.
By integrating furniture and interiors she had designed herself into her architecture, and often by curating the programmes of public buildings herself, Lina Bo Bardi attempted to produce shared meanings and create a bond between humans and spaces. Her knowledge of crafts and manufacturing processes was used to make the natural and local qualities of materials and cultures visible. Collaborations between different disciplines were crucial for sharing knowledge. Along with the Italian architect Giancarlo Palanti, Bo Bardi founded the Estúdio de Arte e Arquitetura Palma. Together, the pair designed and produced various items of furniture.
In the framework of this exhibition, a selection of young Belgian designers will present work inspired by the ideas and practices of Lina Bo Bardi at DING Vitrine (Drabstraat 2).
Lina Bo Bardi Giancarlo Palanti. Studio d’Arte Palma 1948 - 1951
25.10.2019 – 16.02.2020
Admission: € 8 / € 6 / € 2
Open on weekdays from 9:30 until 17:30
Open on weekends, on public holidays and during school holidays from 10:00 until 18:00
Closed on Wednesday