Known for his playful personality — «I don't think of myself as a designer, I put together so many different activities, I'm a mess» — Alessandro Mendini (Milan, 1931 - 2019) was one of the greatest design innovators of the second half of the 20th century, signing iconic pieces for top Italian design brands, from Alessi to Zanotta. Promoter of functional but nonetheless emotional objects, often featuring a note of kitsch — such as the Proust armchair for Cappellini made in 1978 —, he graduated in Architecture at the Milan Polytechnic in 1959. Until 1971 he worked at Nizzoli Associates architecture studio, and in 1973 he founded the Global Tools laboratory, which counted Ettore Sottsass among its members. At the end of the 70s, with Sottsass and Michele de Lucchi, Mendini was one of the leading designers of the post-radical avant-garde group Studio Alchimia. In 1989 he founded Atelier Mendini with his brother Francesco, a company dealing with design, architecture and exhibition projects. A theorist of postmodern design and banal design, Mendini has written extensively throughout his life: director of Casabella magazine from 1970 to 1976, he replaced Gio Pontic as the director of Domus magazine from 1979 to 1986, and directed again the magazine from 2010 to 2011.