Gae Aulenti

GAE AULENTI (1927 - 2012) was a prolific Italian architect and furniture designer best known for transforming Paris’s Gare d’Orsay railway station into the Musée d’Orsay. Inspired by Le Corbusier, Aulenti sought to stand out against the dominant Modernist aesthetic and encouraged individual expression in her designs of lamps, coffee tables, chairs, and buildings.

Born in Palazzolo dello Stella, Italy, Aulenti was one of two women in her graduating class of 20 to earn a degree in architecture at the Milan Polytechnic in 1954. “My advice to whoever asks me how to make a home is to not have anything, just a few shelves for books, some pillows to sit on,” Aulenti has said, ”And then, to take a stand against the ephemeral, against passing trends... and to return to lasting values.” She spent much of her life defying the modern and fashionable, which earned her the attention of Fiat and Milan’s major design houses.

Aulenti won the Grand International Prize for Arrivo al Mare (Arrival at Sea) in the 1964 Milan Triennial in the Italian Pavillion, and later served on the board for the Triennial. Her works are held in museum collections including The Museum of Modern Art in New York and her avant-garde legacy lives on in her restorations and transformations of the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris and Palazzo Grassi in Venice.

(Image Credit: Casati Gallery; Source: Artnet)