Aldo Rossi black and white image bio
Aldo Rossi black and white image bio

Aldo Rossi (1931 – 1997) was an Italian architect. He was born and professionally active in Milan. 

He is considered by many to be the greatest Italian architect of the second half of the 20th century. His life as an architect began with Gardella and Zanuso. The author of abstraction, reduction and brevity, his harsh language of primary shapes, geometric patterns and silent evocation, created some of the most intensely poetic architectural and design works of his time.

Momento Wall clock by Aldo Rossi.
Momento Wall clock by Aldo Rossi.


Between 1949-59, he studied at the Politecnico di Milano. 


  • He began his career in 1956 in the studio of Ignazio Gardella. He later worked with Marco Zanuso.  
  • From 1955-64, he worked at Casabella-Continuitร  and was its editor from 1961-64.   
  • In 1963, he was an assistant to Ludovico Quaroni in Arezzo.  
  • 1963-65 he was assistant to Carlo Aymonino at lnstituto Universitario di Architettura Venice.
  • 1969-72 he taught at the Politecnico di Milano.
  • 1972-74, guest professor, Eidgenรถssische Technische Hochschule. Zรผrich.
  • 1974 returned to Politecnico di Milano.
  • From 1975, held the chair of architectural composition. lnstituto Universitario di Architettura, Venice.
  •  In 1977, he was visiting professor, Cooper Union School of Architecture. New York.
  • From 1980, he was visiting professor, Yale University.
  • He wrote the book L’architettura della citta (1966).
  • From 1971, he collaborated with Gianni Braghieri. 
  • From 1983, he was director of the architecture section of the Biennale di Venezia.


His few buildings included the Teatro del Mondo at the 1980 Biennale di Venezia, floating wood and steel theatre whose form inspired his 1983 tea set for Alessi. He was one of the 11 architects and designers to create a service for Alessi’s Tea and Coffee Piazza project in 1983. Rossi’s service was housed in a glass building-like case with a small flag on top and a clock in the frieze. 

Il conico - Kettle designed by Aldo Rossi.
Il conico – Kettle designed by Aldo Rossi.
La conica, Espresso Coffee Maker designed by Aldo Rossi
La conica, Espresso Coffee Maker designed by Aldo Rossi
Press Filter coffee maker by Aldo Rossi
Press Filter coffee maker by Aldo Rossi
La cupola Espresso Coffee Maker designed by Aldo Rossi
La cupola Espresso Coffee Maker designed by Aldo Rossi

His other coffee pots for Alessi, 90002/6 and 9000213. which again reflected the silhouettes of architecture rather than utensils, were highly publicized. 

His 1985 Pressofilter for Alessi incorporated the 1955 Chambord mechanism for pressing coffee grounds. 

This was followed by the 1986 Cafetiรจre for Alessi. The most memorable and refined of Rossi’s designs for Alessi was the 1986 Il Conico kettle. 

Sugar bowl with spoon 18/10 stainless steel design by Aldo Rossi
Sugar bowl with spoon 18/10 stainless steel design by Aldo Rossi


From the 1980s, some of his furniture was produced by Unifor. He designed the 1983 Cabina dell ‘Elba wardrobe cabinets, Milano side chair of c1987, and 1986 Theatre seating and bed (with Luca Meda), all by Molteni. and 1986 II Rilievo marble table by Up & Up. For the 1989 hotel II Palazzo in Japan. He attempted to recreate an Italian castle. He designed marble furniture for Logoni and the 1991 fabric collection for DesignTex. 

Architectural Designs

His controversial and much-discussed architectural designs included;

  • The 1969-73 residential building in Monte Amiata complex, Gallaratesc 2. Milan. 
  • 1971 competition project for the new cemetery (with Gianni Braghieri) in Modena, 
  • 1972 elementary school (with Gianni Braghieri and Arduino Cantafora) in Fagnano Olona, 
  • 1977 competition project for the Student House in Chieti. 
  • 1981-82 project for the reconstruction of the Teatro Carlo Felice (with Ignazio Gadella and Fabio Reinhart) in Genoa, and 
  • 1984 project for an office building (with Gianni Braghieri and others) in Buenos Aires. 
  • In 1987. he contributed to Pare de la Villette in Paris, and 
  • in 1989. designed the Centre d’Art contemporain ร  Vassiviรจres in Limousin (France). 


  • He won first prize (with Braghieri. C. Stead. and J. Johnson) in the 1984 ‘Sรผdliche Friedrichstadt competition Kochstrasse-Friedrichstrasse, IBA 44’ in Berlin. 
  • He was director of the international architecture division at the 1973 (XV) Triennale di Milano. 
  • His work was the subject of the 1979 “Aldo Rossi in America 1976 to 1979′ exhibition at the Institute for Architecture and Urban Studies in New York and the 1983 exhibition in Modena. 
  • His furniture range for Unifor was introduced at the 1989 Salone del Mobile in Milan. 
  • His 1980 Cabina wardrobe for Molteni. 
  • 1986 II Rilievo table for Up & Up, and 1987 Carteggio cabinet for Molteni were shown at the 1991 ‘Mobili ltaliani 1961-1991: Le Varie Etร  dei linguaggi’ exhibition in Milan.

San Cataldo cemetery designed by Aldo Rossi – Encyclopedia of Design

San Cataldo Cemetery designed by Aldo Rossi


Aldo Rossi. Alessi Spa (EU).

Byars, M., & Riley, T. (2004). The design encyclopedia. Laurence King Publishing.

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