Alessandro Mendini, Idea Pen
Alessandro Mendini, an architect, designer and painter from Milan, is internationally renowned as one of the leading theorists of the 20th century. Since the beginning of his career, between the 1960s and 1970s, between radical commitment, critical activity and experimentation, he has marked the path of an entire generation of designers, his pupils.
His early years of research bring to light themes that would prove to be crucial throughout his career: the link with the artistic avant-garde, the use of colour, the importance of unique items, craftsmanship and tradition and, most importantly, the approach to the object, be it a building or a design object. A prime example of this is his iconic Proust armchair, made between 1978 and 1988 in a limited edition of just 15 pieces: a mock-baroque armchair, very bulky in size and entirely hand-painted with a Pointillist-inspired technique.
Throughout his career, he has combined research productions and theoretical considerations with his work for large companies, becoming one of those who contribute to “Made in Italy” excellence. These include collaborations with Alessi, Bisazza, Driade, Swatch and Zanotta.
‘In my mind, Treccani has always represented the cultured, fundamental and official institution of the Italian language,’ says the designer.
The collaboration between Mendini and the Institute of the Italian Encyclopaedia begins in 2018 when he is invited to design pens to pay tribute to Rita Levi-Montalcini and Giovanni Gentile. But it is not until 2019 that Treccani decides to rely on Mendini to design a pen that could be a symbol of creativity and ingenuity, to celebrate one of the reasons that makes Italians unique in the world.
There are very few tools that encapsulate all of man’s creative potential, capable of supporting the recording of what lies at the heart of every ingenious work: the idea. By definition, an idea is every single thought content, every mental entity. And there is nothing more fleeting, ever-changing and instantaneous. Consequently, the Idea Pen was created in response to the need to quickly retain this thought.
The lines chosen by Mendini for the Idea Pen are a tribute to Italian creativity, which is highly regarded worldwide, as well as to the long-standing tradition of Italian workshops and to the craftsmen who manufactured the pen entirely by hand.
As the artist points out, ‘Italian design is made up of small workshops of great masters who, in my opinion, derive directly from the humanistic mentality of the Renaissance, [...] and these pens are made here, with this type of feeling.’