La Rinascente (1918) Milanese department store

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La Rinascente, the Milan department store was established after the First World War and has done a great deal to promote Italian design standards. Its name, La Rinascente (Rebirth), was conceived by the Italian poet Gabriele D’Annunzio, a specific resonance in the 1930s when the company also did much to promote the domestic consumption of Italian products under Mussolini in the drive towards national self-sufficiency (autarchy).

Attracted leading designers

After the Second World War, La Rinascente redoubled its efforts to influence Italian consumer taste by commissioning leading designers such as Gio Ponti and Franco Albini to design aesthetic mass-produced goods.

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Max Huber designed his corporate logo in 1950 when Swiss designer Albe Steiner also worked on La Rinascente graphics between 1950 and 1954. There were also other subsequently renowned designers moving through the company on the way to broader recognition. This included the fashion designer Giorgio Armani, a 1957 to 1964 buyer for the brand. Bruno Munari and Tomás Maldonado served as window show artists.

Contributed to design debate

The company participated in critical forums for the debate on design, such as the IX Milan Triennale of 1951. Carlo Pagano orchestrated the contribution of La Rinascente. Also, Pagano initiated a product aesthetic exhibition in the Furniture Department of the store. Domestic appliances, lighting, textiles, clothing and other products selected by Alberto Rosselli and Albe Steiner have been shown. In 1954, Aldo Borletti took this ‘Good Design’ step further by launching the Compasso d’Oro awards to promote better design standards in Italian manufacturing. Other designers involved with La Rinascente included Roberto Sambonet, a design consultant with the company from 1960, and Bob Noorda, a consultant with the company from 1963 to 1964.

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Sources

Woodham, J. Rinascente, La. In A Dictionary of Modern Design. : Oxford University Press. Retrieved 25 Jan. 2021, from https://www-oxfordreference-com.ezproxy.csu.edu.au/view/10.1093/acref/9780191762963.001.0001/acref-9780191762963-e-688.

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