Michele De Lucchi
Architecture has always taken account of its relationship with history in terms of both renovation and new projects. “Living through History” does not simply refer to a process of restoration. The issue is more complex and takes us to the question that lies at the heart of modern architecture: to add or take away?
Architect and designer Michele De Lucchi has always been attentive to these history-related aspects of projects as well as to the need to interpret and transcribe the present within the urban fabric that we have inherited. De Lucchi designs museums, living spaces, and elements of cities where previous settlements with strong symbolic and functional value already existed. From the new project for the Castello Sforzesco in Milan to ENEL power stations and the capital of Georgia, De Lucchi has succeeded in introducing concrete elements of modernity into the urban fabric and into the structural language of building in terms of materials, reuse of spaces and natural and artificial lighting, while fully respecting the needs of the inhabitants.
In our case the inhabitants may be objects, works of art and above all human beings.
De Lucchi has often asked whether it is necessary to build from scratch, especially when it may be possible to use existing spaces or gaps in the urban fabric.
In concrete terms, before filling space with new buildings, we need to determine whether it is possible to use existing buildings, to dialogue with them in accordance with history. This has been a constant focus of De Lucchi’s work. His attitude is not historicistic or exclusively philological; it simply affirms that human beings, in all their manifestations, are at the centre of every project. Living in the world or living through history is none other than a form of design humanism, in keeping with the needs and activities of human beings throughout their existence; these are the same activities that we find in our homes, in small and large museums, in our cities.
“Living in history” means looking forward, in search of ourselves, without nostalgia or utopian dreams: knowledge of the present is a precondition for an architect to be able to work on future projects while having respect for himself and at the same time for the people who will be using his works.
History is close to us, even when we admire it in a museum as if it were part of another world.
I believe that this is the fundamental teaching of architect Michele De Lucchi.
Michele De Lucchi was born in 1951 in Ferrara and graduated in architecture in Florence. During the period of radical and experimental architecture he was a prominent figure in movements like Cavart, Alchymia and Memphis. De Lucchi has designed lamps and furniture for the most known Italian and European companies. For Olivetti he has been Director of Design from 1992 to 2002 and he has elaborated various personal theories on the evolution of the workplace. He has developed experimental projects for Compaq Computers, Philips, Siemens and Vitra.
His architectural designs have been mainly for office buildings in Japan for NTT, in Germany for Deutsche Bank, in Switzerland for Novartis, and in Italy for Enel, Olivetti, Piaggio, Poste Italiane, Telecom Italia. In 1999 he has been appointed to renovate some of ENEL's (the Italian Electricity Company) power plants. For Deutsche Bank, Deutsche Bundesbahn, Enel, Poste Italine, Telecom Italia, Hera, Intesa Sanpaolo and at other Italian and foreign banks he has collaborated to the evolution of the corporate image, introducing technical and aesthetic innovation into the working environments.
He has taken care of numerous art and design exhibitions and has planned buildings for museums as Triennale di Milano, Palazzo delle Esposizioni di Roma and Neues Museum Berlin.
His professional work has always gone side-by-side with a personal exploration of architecture, design, technology and crafts.
In 1990 he founded Produzione Privata, a small-scale concern through which Michele De Lucchi designs products that are made using artisan techniques and crafts.
Completed the Franco Parenti Theater renewal in Milan, he is now working on Venezia Fondazione Cini, on Milan Castello Sforzesco Museum on the refurbishment and renewal and many important buildings and urban areas renewal in Italy and abroad.
His Studio, aMDL S.r.l., has its offices in Milan and Rome.
In 2003 the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris has acquired a considerable number of his works. Selections of his products are exhibited in the most important design Museums in Europe, United States and Japan.
In 2000 he was appointed Officer of Italian Republic by President Ciampi, for services to design and architecture.
In 2001 he has been nominated Ordinary Professor at the Design and Art Faculty at the University in Venice.
In 2006 he received the Honorary Doctorate from Kingston University, for his contribution to “living quality”.
In 2008 he has been nominated Ordinary Professor at the Design Faculty of the Politecnico of Milan and Member of the Accademia Nazionale di San Luca in Rome.