The Kartell Museum, showcasing the company’s famous furniture and accessories for homeware design, is one of those great out-of-town destinations that you could plan to visit on a trip to the Abbey of Morimondo or to the typical farmhouses of the Lombardy plain: located in Noviglio, 15 km south of the centre of Milan, it is set in the Milanese countryside in the stretch between the two Navigli.
The museum narrates one of the most fascinating chapters in the history of Italian design and of this unique company which, braving constant challenges and driving technological research, pioneered a fecund union between function and aesthetics. It was founded by Claudio Luti in 1999 to celebrate Kartell’s fiftieth anniversary and was designed by Ignazio Gardella and Anna Castelli Ferrieri. In 2000 it received the Guggenheim Award for best Italian corporate museum.
2500 sqm of museum space contain over 8000 iconic objects that are now part of our daily domestic landscape: production started in 1949, the year Kartell was created by Giulio Castelli, a pioneering chemical engineer in the industrial use of plastic materials. Sketches, images and documents from the company's historical archive are also exhibited.
As well as promoting Kartell’s history and priceless heritage, the museum represents a centre for the dissemination of the culture of design and the art of Italian style, through publications, guided tours and international exhibitions.
Over the years, the prolific collaborations with esteemed architects and designers have contributed to make Kartell a brand known worldwide for the design aesthetic that distinguishes its products, originally car accessories and then household objects. Amongst the best known names are the founder's wife, Anna Castelli Ferrieri, plus, Gae Aulenti, Ettore Sottsass, Vico Magistretti, Marco Zanuso, Antonio Citterio, Ron Arad and Patricia Urquiola as well as, obviously, Philippe Starck.
In 1972 Kartell's success was crowned by its participation in an exhibition featuring Italian furniture at the Moma Museum in New York.
In 2000, a year after the museum's inauguration, the company's historical production was the star of the La Donation Kartell, un environnment plastique exhibition set up at the Pompidou Centre in Paris.
NOT TO BE MISSED
The Pirelli patented ski rack, the first product made by Kartell in the early 1950s, is also the first object that visitors encounter upon entering the Museum.
The collaboration with the famous designer Philippe Starck has significantly contributed to Kartell’s corporate development and, indeed, to that of design in general.
In 2007 the museum was enlarged; three new rooms were added to the existing 16 and were dedicated to the production of the latest years, from 2000 onwards.
TO FIND OUT MORE
You can consult the museum or the online catalogue for info on Kartell’s vast array of products - from 1949 to date - on its production technologies, materials and collaborating designers.
Open to the public by appointment, with self-guided visit or guided tour. Free admission.