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Massimiliano Locatelli

Brief info

Massimiliano Locatelli studied architecture at the Milan Polytechnic and obtained his PhD with Kenneth Frampton at Columbia University in New York. He is a founding partner of Locatelli Partners. He designs in the most varied contexts: private homes, showrooms, retail, exhibitions, and new building construction.

One of Milan’s leading architects, Locatelli works in the best traditions of Milanese design—that is to say, as an architect trained to design across all mediums and scales—design as a lifestyle and a way of thinking. He has built iconic civic projects such as the Porta Garibaldi in Milan, a section of the 9th Venice Architecture Biennale, “The Mobile Landscape of New Italian Design” at the Museum of La Triennale, and “Fontana Arte: Vivere nel Vetro / House of Glass” at Le Stanze del Vetro, Giorgio Cini Foundation. His commercial projects include showrooms for Missoni, Nemo, Louis Poulsen, B&B Italia, as well as the Lia Rumma Art Gallery, the Nilufar Depot, a kindergarten for children, and the Onward Luxury Group factory presented in the Italian Pavilion of the 13th Venice Architecture Biennale.

He is at the architectural vanguard, having built a groundbreaking 3D printed concrete house in Milan’s Duomo Piazza, titled “3D Housing 05”, the first 3D printed concrete house that earned him the Best Sustainability award at the 2018 Milan Design Week. His work is spare in its neo-modernist, rational approach, but with a flair for imbuing emotional resonance and surprising twists in its refined details. Each project is a gesamtkunstwerk, a total work of art, in which the building itself and every piece of furniture in it, even the coffee, tea, and water service, are part and parcel of the holistic atmosphere his firm creates. His projects for villas, townhouses, hotels particuliers, apartments and historic homes, are always carried out with a “tailor-made design” approach to interiors and elements of furniture. Hospitality and restaurants are another specialization of his practice : the restaurants at the Royal Villa in Monza, the Spago restaurant for Chef Wolfgang Puck in Las Vegas, and a hotel de charme in Asia.

Locatelli says he avoids the post-modern, but in his wry material sensibility, he riffs on attributes of the last great aesthetic movement with natural ease. His aluminum series is a masterful study in new structural possibilities of extruded aluminum profiles ordinarily used in window casements. He uses their intricate structures as tectonic ornament, anodized in a range of colors that he pairs with laminated sheets of colored glass. The effect is jewel-like and luminous. His carved marble tables and stools at first glance look like common patio furniture made of injection molded plastic. But to the touch, the furniture reveals a tricky truth—the cool, solid sensation of stone. His Converso lighting allows the user to compose their own structure of magnetic strips and light bulbs, like an El Lissitzky or Rodchenko sculpture. Sinuous pond-like islands of tables alternate between true marbles—Carrara or verde antico—or artificially stained indigo or neon yellow, or even cast metals, some with snake skin surfaces. His work is tactile, a treat to all the senses, revealing their visual surprise slowly as one uses them.

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