Handle With Care: Milan’s Fragile Gallery

Say ciao to the white cube! Fragile, an Atelier Mendini gallery on 1stdbs, is interrupting Milan’s minimalist gallery scene with an unusual new look.

Alessandro Mendini, the father of Italian postmodern design — most famous for his pointillist “Proust” armchair and Alessi’s “Anna G.” corkscrew — envisioned an exhibition experience that disavows the stripped-down conventions of most galleries. His space exemplifies the riotous pomo spectacle of his furniture; think patterned floors, pink and green walls, and geometric lattice railings. To execute it, he teamed up with brother Francesco, an architect, and Arianna Lelli Mami and Chiara Di Pinto of Studiopepe, an Italian retail design firm.

Exterior view of Fragile's storefront, situated on Via San Damiano in Milan. Photo: Wallpaper

1940s couch by Studio BBPR, in front of cabinets designed by Paolo Buffa in 1943. Photo: Wallpaper

Pair of "Barbariche" lamps, designed by Roberto Giulio Rida in 2011, with a butterfly deck chair by Damien Hirst. Photo: Wallpaper

"Bul-bo" lamp, designed by Gabetti & Isola in 1969, and triangular shelving unit, designed by Joe Colombo in 1968. Photo: Wallpaper

The Mendinis' new 2-story showroom in Milan, featuring a pair of mid-century armchairs by Studio BBPR (left). Photo: Wallpaper

An appropriately dynamic design collection resides within Fragile’s whimsical walls. Spanning mid-century, pop and contemporary movements, Fragile’s inventory is comprised of one-of-a-kind furniture and jewelry pieces by such marquee names as Gio Ponti, Ico Parisi, Marco Zanuso, Moschino and Missoni. Non-Italian creators also available include Damien Hirst, Max Ingrand and Carl Auböck.

Can’t see the showroom yourself? Visit Fragile’s storefront on 1stdibs.

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