An opulent villa left to decay, a charred home, and an abandoned puppet theatre were some of the stars of Aesthetics of Misery, a show curated by Andrea Branzi and Michele de Lucchi (with Francesca Balena Arista and Marco De Santi). The maquettes displayed during Milan Design Week inside the fantastic Palazzo Litto were by first-year students in the Master’s program Laboratory of Interior Design at the Politecnico di Milano.
The 16 “social scenarios” delved into the theme of misery, which the curators noted is a subject explored in art, cinema and literature, but foreign to design culture. For that very reason, it is a fascinating subject to shed light on, especially for idealistic design students.
The curators explain: “These experimental works investigate the concept of deprivation, re-establishing its value as a historical and cultural category of crucial relevance, generative of both misery and nobility. The investigative approach concentrates on the present day: favelas, occupied interstices under highways and bridges, temporary shelters…once beautiful and opulent historic buildings, now disused. The models convey decadence, uncertainty and decrepitude through an extreme, sometimes brutal, realism. And everything is covered by a merciless veil of dirt: mud, dust and soot.”