Home Sweet Home Triennale Milano
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Home Sweet Home: Triennale Milano showcases homes and living

Installations, thematic shows and site-specific settings to investigate how domestic spaces have evolved. Curated by Nina Bassoli, the exhibition is open until 10 September

Home Sweet Home Triennale Milano
By Editorial Staff -

Conducting investigation into living habits and into changes in domestic settings and their meaning for contemporary society: this is the aim of the Home Sweet Home exhibition that Triennale Milano is presenting to mark its centenary. The show has been conceived by Nina Bassoli, curator for architecture, urban generation and cities at the Triennale, with exhibition design by Captcha Architecture.

The showcase may be viewed until 10 September 2023, and sets out from the Triennale's history and its International Exhibitions, ranging through to the present. Nowadays the idea of the home has undergone a complete overhaul: we just need to think of the pandemic and how, in a very short time, it altered our outlook on living spaces, which are no longer exclusively given over to the family domain but also interface with the external world and their surrounding nature.

"To mark its centenary, Triennale Milano has decided to offer reflection on a topic that is more relevant than ever today. Tackling themes such as home and work, male and female, production and reproduction, and public and private space has become a necessity in any serious and careful consideration of how the home environment is designed, and this can only begin from constant attention to information accessibility and inclusiveness."
Stefano Boeri, President of Triennale Milano

Home Sweet Home - Vedute dell’allestimento © Melania Dalle Grave - DSL Studio, courtesy Triennale Milano

Therefore, the show will not be looking only at places: from how gender roles have changed to how the relationship with nature has evolved, through to technology's growing influence on living habits. Because it is these changes that should be the departure point for a new concept of design and thinking on domestic spaces.

To prompt this reflection, Triennale Milano has devised five thematic historic sections. These have 'raided' the historic Triennale archives, and have been developed into ten site-specific total environments with installations designed by some of the most interesting international architecture studios, groups and research centers: Assemble StudioCéline Baumann, Matilde CassaniCanadian Center for Architecture (CCA)DOGMAMAIOSex and the CityMaria Giuseppina Grasso CannizzoLacaton & Vassal Architectes and Diller Scofidio + Renfro.


Home Sweet Home - Vedute dell’allestimento © Melania Dalle Grave - DSL Studio, courtesy Triennale Milano

>>> Discover all the initiatives by Triennale Milano to celebrate its centenary


"Shows-within-the-show on the home"

"Shows-within-the-show on the home". This is how curator Nina Bassoli has described Home Sweet Home, an exhibition structured to reflect on architecture's role as a medium for shared dialogue focusing on our most genuine needs and the spaces to be designed.

The showcased works have been selected to highlight the importance of architectural design, no longer linked to space merely in terms of materials and volumes, but also from sociological, scientific, historic, artistic and political perspectives. Architects are asked to explore all aspects of society, and therefore not only strictly architectural ones but also communication and exhibition ones. In this sense, the role of female designers is increasingly evident, in that women can emphasize a different and more aware sensitivity towards nature and the environment.

"Intimate and yet universal, the home has always shown itself as very susceptible to cultural, political and social changes. Since the first International Exhibitions and the experimental houses in Parco Sempione in the 1930s, passing through the modernist optimism of post-war reconstruction, the economic boom, postmodernism, deconstructivism and, lastly, contemporary pluralism, these changes have taken the shape of daring experiments capable of driving new languages, new ethical aspirations and new programs for architecture. Today the work by contemporary female and male architects and research groups is confidently bringing out a new sensitivity, one where care should be seen as a founding action for living habits, this being the process of constructing space and architecture."
Nina Bassoli, exhibition curator


Vittorio Gregotti, Lodovico Meneghetti, Giotto Stoppino, Esempio di soggiorno in alloggio rurale, Sezione 'La casa e la scuola', Settore rurale, 12a Triennale, 1960 Photo Publifoto. Courtesy Triennale Milano – Archivi

Created by Captcha Architecture, the exhibition design picks up on material displayed in previous shows, putting it together with a new accent: items have intentionally been given a second life, reusing them in a different guise, such as in the case of the support devices for the historic sections, or the leg types from various exhibition tables kept in the Triennale storerooms.

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Five thematic sections on show

Five thematic historic sections have been chosen for the exhibition route, which goes through the 100 years of the institution, founded in 1923. Within these themes are ten site-specific settings, structured as shows-within-the show.

It starts with Casa Ludens, curated by Gaia Piccarolo, focusing on relaxation and care for the body and soul. Here DOGMA proposes Architecture of the Longhouse, a reflection on typology that sets out how the separation between living and work spaces, between the public, private and ritual spheres, is a recent construct not to be taken for granted.

Nature is at Home, curated by Annalisa Metta, is a section looking into the relationship between nature and the home environment. Here Parliament of Plants ‒ an installation by the landscape designer Céline Baumann mixing house-plant varieties ‒ examines nature's role within the walls of the home and the sense of mutual care.

Céline Baumann, 'Il parlamento delle piante d’appartamento', 2019, tratto da 'The House of Commons' di Karl Anton Hickel, 1793-1794 Courtesy Triennale Milano

Abacus of Windows, curated by Maite García Sanchis, instead opts for a curious and innovative tone to explore the window as a device for environmental mediation and control. For this section, Matilde Cassani has come up with The Bear Cage. A Diorama for Human Beings, an 'almost' theatrical work that poses questions on how open space can be tamed.

The Angel of the Hearth, curated by the research group Sex & the City (Florencia Andreola and Azzurra Muzzonigro), reassesses the gender roles that have always been connected with the domestic context. The group has included a high-impact installation, Darling, you could have asked, within this section. 

To round off, Italian Cooking 1923-2023, curated by Imma Forino, places the spotlight on the kitchen as a space able to reveal social changes over time. Here the MAIO studio presents a prototype of an urban kitchen, Urban K-Type, the result of in-depth research into the political role of the kitchen as a place for marginalization, sharing and possible emancipation. Still connected with this theme is Assemble Loves Food, where Assemble Studio has set a table for twenty diners, as a context for day-to-day sharing of work and collective meals, reasserting the practical as well as the political and urban planning values of designing, living and building together.

Aldo Rossi, 'Il teatro domestico', sezione dedicata ai progetti, mostra 'Il progetto domestico', Triennale Milano, 1986 Photo: Matteo Piazza. Courtesy Triennale Milano

Architecture and change

Alongside the five macro historic sections, Triennale Milano has incorporated other installations and works on the evolution of domestic environments in the broadest sense. The Canadian Center for Architecture offers A Section of Now: taken from a recent show in Montreal, visitors are invited to reflect on how architecture can accommodate the swift, radical changes in our society, and the relative instability in concepts such as family, longevity, ownership, work and technology. Maria Giuseppina Grasso Cannizzo has created Lifespan, an installation of drawings picking up on design notions as the adaptation and reinvention of a pre-existing condition.

The show draws to a close with Convert, Don't Scrap, a full-on 'ecological and political manifesto'. Exploring life beyond scrapping, it pivots on the conversions of the French Grands ensemble by Lacaton & Vassal.

A last mention goes to Inside-out: Window onto the Garden, the re-staging of a work, Domestic Project, devised by Diller + Scofidio in 1986 as part of the 17th International Exhibition. This reinstatement was necessary, given the current relevance of the theme, and this was seen to by the Department of Conservation and Restoration at Triennale Milano in conjunction with the Botticino School of Restoration, and supervised by the Diller Scofidio + Renfro studio.

>>> The 18th International Architecture Exhibition of Venice was recently inaugurated and is open until 26 November


Dates: 12 May – 10 September 2023
Curator: Nina Bassoli
Exhibition design: Captcha Architecture, Margherita Marri e Jacopo Rosa con Luca

Historic sections: Florencia Andreola, Imma Forino, Maite García Sanchis, Annalisa Metta,
Azzurra Muzzonigro, Gaia Piccarolo

Site-specific projects by: Assemble Studio, Céline Baumann, CCA – Canadian Centre for
Architecture, DOGMA, MAIO, Matilde Cassani Studio, Sex & the City

Works by: Diller + Scofidio, Maria Giuseppina Grasso Cannizzo, Lacaton & Vassal

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