September 12, 2013

Somewhere Over The Rainbow: “TDM5: Grafica Italiana” by Studio Fabio Novembre

Saying that Fabio Novembre has a passion for color is an understatement. Just consider the name of his daughter Verde. “If I had a boy,” the architect adds, “he would be Rosso.” 

That helps explain Studio Fabio Novembre’s design for “TDM5: Grafica Italiana,” the fifth in a series at the Triennale Design Museum in Milan. Iris, the goddess of rainbows, set the palette of ROY-G-BIV colors, plus infrared and ultraviolet. Novembre then assigned each to an area of focus: books, magazines, culture and politics, advertising, packaging, visual identity, signage, typefaces, and film and video.

Visitors’ experience begins on the atrium bridge that connects the museum to the rest of the Triennale di Milano building—Novembre surfaced the bridge’s clear glass balustrades in rainbow ombré film. Next comes an anteroom that he filled with seven 13- foot-high plywood partitions that fan out like the pages of a “blank, open book,” he says, to terminate with a strip of RO Y-G-BIV color. The five internal partitions are otherwise white. The outer most partitions, in his words the “covers of the book,” are artfully wallpapered on one side in a kaleidoscope scope of overlapping shades.

Doorways in each partition, picked out to match the end color, combine with adjacent doorways to define a path that directs visitors to the left or right, into the exhibition proper. It occupies a 7,000-square-foot U shape, in which he built seven freestanding galleries, corresponding to the ROYG-BIV colors. These deconstructed boxes of 170 square feet were shaped and placed “according to the position of the ceiling beams,” he explains.

Yes, the galleries’ walls, floor, and vitrines are keyed to colors from red through violet. So are the Triennale windows, beyond the enclosures. The colored film applied to the glass “produces an incredibly strong effect and costs almost nothing,” he adds. See for yourself through February 24.

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