The 2014 European Prize for Architecture went to iconic Italian architect and designer Alessandro Mendini, known for projects like the Groninger Museum in the Netherlands, the Paradise Tower in Hiroshima, and the Proust Armchair, among several others.
Regarded as one of Europe's highest architecture awards, the European Prize honors influential architects whose work reinvented and challenged the direction of contemporary architecture while presenting a public-oriented and intellectual approach to the field. The Prize also highlights the recipient's pursuits and achievements in the global architecture scene.
Previous laureates in recent years include: Bjarke Ingels (2010), Graft Architekten (2011), the Norwegian firm TYIN tegnestue Architects (2012), and Finnish architect Marco Casagrande (2013).
After Mendini received the award during the Presentation Ceremony in Milan last month, an exhibition showcasing his works is currently at The European Centre’s Contemporary Space Athens (74 Mitropoleos Str., Athens, Greece) until March 2015.
After Athens, the exhibition will tour Europe and then in the United States at the Third Chicago Architecture Biennial in September 2015.
"Mendini’s cross-over architectural work thoroughly encompasses the realms of architecture, art, design, and architectural theory where the borders of each have been completely blurred and broken-down. Mendini came up with definitions of a number of theoretical concepts regarding historic design phenomena and movements (including 'postmodern design' and 're-design') and has made an essential contribution to their expression and critical analysis since the 1970s.
Together with other Italian designers, he developed the so-called 'banal design,' transforming everyday objects through innovative colors and forms into new, ironic objects of design. Mendini called this transformation 're-design.'
Among his numerous architectural designs, the Groninger Museum and the Paradise Tower in Hiroshima are the most outstanding. With both buildings, the typical Mendini teamwork is clearly visible: the projects are realised not alone, but rather in cooperation with the most varied guest architects. For the Groningen Museum, Mendini collaborated with Philippe Starck and Coop Himmelb(l)au in designing the three main museum pavilions in 1994.
His design has always been characterized by his strong interest in mixing different cultures and different forms of expression; and as a result, he creates graphics, furniture, interiors, paintings, and architecture simultaneously. Mendini has also worked as a design consultant for many of the world’s leading manufactur ers and design brands including Alessi, Royal Philips B.V., Cartier, Hermés, Venini, Swarovski, Swatch, and Bisazza.
Among the most important recent projects are the Galerie Tumringerstrasse, Lörrach (Germany), 2004; the Renovation of the Facade of the 'Casino Arosa' Arosa, Switzerland 1998; Fondazione Maghetti – Redevelopment of a District in Lugano (Switzerland), 1998; the Scuola del Mosaico, Spilimber go, (Italy); Museo del Casalingo- Forum Omegna (Multifunctional Park with Museum), Omegna (Italy), 1996; and the Urban Renovation of the Historic 'Parco della Villa Comunale,' Naples (Italy), 1999."
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