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Triennale Milano
01/03/2019 - 01/09/2019
Broken Nature: Design Takes on Human Survival
Official Designation
XXII Triennale di Milano 2019, Exhibition of Modern Industrial, Architectural and Decorative Arts


The XXII International Exhibition of Triennale Milano took place from 1 March to 1 September 2019, under the theme "Broken Nature: Design Takes on Human Survival". The XXII Triennale di Milano was curated by Paola Antonelli, Senior Curator of Architecture & Design, Director of Research & Development at The Museum of Modern Art in New York.

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It received formal recognition from the General Assembly of the BIE on 12 June 2018, and was supported by the members of Fondazione La Triennale di Milano: the Italian Government, the Lombardy region, the City of Milan, and the Milan, MonzaBrianza, and Lodi Chamber of Commerce.

The XXII Triennale di Milano consisted of a thematic exhibition, the contributions of 21 international participants, invited through official government channels under the auspices of the Bureau International des Expositions, an installation called The Great Animal Orchestra, created by Bernie Krause and United Visual Artists on the initiative of the Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain, and a special exhibition entitled The Nation of Plants, curated by Stefano Mancuso.

All the exhibitions were installed within the spaces of La Triennale di Milano and the surrounding areas. The international participants occupied the ground floor of the Palazzo dell’Arte, while the thematic exhibition was located on the first floor.

Conceived by Paola Antonelli as a project that extends well beyond the walls of La Triennale site, Broken Nature also consisted of: an online platform for dynamic discourse and to unveil the curatorial process; a public programming and symposia; and a catalog with essays from scientists, scholars, designers, and critics, as well as a section devoted to international participations.


Broken Nature: Design Takes on Human Survival

"Broken Nature: Design Takes on Human Survival" was an in-depth exploration of the strands that connect humans to the natural environment, which have been intensely compromised, if not entirely severed, over the years. By casting a wide net on architecture and design projects, the exhibition underlined the concept of restorative design, highlighting objects and concepts at all scales that reconsider human beings’ relationship with their environments – including both natural and social ecosystems.

The thematic exhibition included four directly commissioned works and multiple loans. The commissioned works have been entrusted to Formafantasma; to Neri Oxman and her research group, the Mediated Matter Group of MIT Media Lab; to Sigil, a collective based in Beirut and New York; and to Accurat, a data-driven research, design, and innovation studio based in Milan and New York. These commissions highlight design approaches aimed not only at correcting humanity’s self-destructive course, but also at replenishing our relationship with the environment and with all species—including other human beings. Some are even continuations of a body of work previously started and are meant to encourage the designers to consider their practice as long-term research.

In addition to the commissioned works, the thematic exhibition comprised a selection of circa 100 projects from the last three decades, examples of restorative design, architecture, and art from all over the world. These projects, which have played an essential role in the history and advancement of design, have had, in some cases, a memorable impact on society and in the way humans related to the world around them. By placing these different projects in the same space and within the same conversation, the exhibition presented design’s potential to mediate societal and behavioural changes.

The international participations were broadly diverse in topics, perspectives, contexts, and geographies. The projects hail from some of the world’s leading institutions and universities, and countries as far afield as Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Tunisia, China, Lebanon, Cuba and Australia to name just a few.

International Participation

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The Song
Exhibition produced by Ministry of Culture, Ministry of Housing, Urban Planning and the City, and the Algerian Agency for Cultural Influence AARC

Teatro Della Terra Alienata
Exhibition produced by the University of Technology, Sydney

Circular Flows – The Toilet Revolution
Produced by MAK – Museum of Applied Arts, Vienna

Environmental Consciousness in Design
Exhibition produced by Tsinghua University, Tongji University, College of Design and Innovation, Shanghai University, Shanghai Academy of Fine Arts

Arte e Revoluzione – Las esculeas de la arte, La Habana
Exhibiton produced by Norma Rodríguez Derivet – Consejo Nacional Artes Plásticas

Czech Republic
Out of Power Tower – Lithopy
Exhibition produced by The Museum of Decorative Arts in Prague

Everyday Experiments
Curated by Aalto University, School of Arts, Design and Architecture

De la pensée au visible. Design As A Large Ring.
Exhibition produced by Institut français.

Carceri d’Invenzione
Exhibition produced by Haus der Kulturen der Welt (HKW), Berlin

4 Elements / Taking Care
Exhibition produced by Politecnico di Milano

Tawaf – A Genealogy of a Tree
Exhibition produced by Lebanese Ministry of Culture

Exhibition produced by Contemporary Art Centre, Vilnius

Harmony between Nature and Human Being
Exhibition produced by Republic of the Union of Myanmar

The Netherlands
I See That I See What You Don’t See
Exhibition produced by Het Nieuwe Instituut

Exhibition produced by Adam Mickiewicz Institute

The Moscow River Age
Exhibition produced by Meganom, architectural practice Moscow Architectural Institute

Thinking the Conditions of our Time
Exhibition produced by University of Ljubljana Academy of Fine Arts and Design Industrial Design and Applied Arts Department - Master’s degree program

Sri Lanka
A Piece of Sky – Restoring the Life Cycle
Exhibition produced by Promolanka Holdings

Genesis and Development of a Local Culture

United Kingdom
Maps of Defiance
Exhibition produced by V&A In collaboration with Art Jameel; supported by British Council; additional support provided by Arts Council England

United States

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