Alessandro Mendini’s Final Design

The late Italian architect’s last completed work, a multicolor trophy-shape cabinet for BD Barcelona, toasts the staying power of postmodern irreverence.

Cristallo by Alessandro Mendini for BD Barcelona.

Radical Italian designer Alessandro Mendini’s six-decade career abounded with influential works. His thronelike Proust armchair for Magis, which perhaps predicted the Postmodern design movement, has become one of the 20th century’s most groundbreaking chairs. Mendini’s architectural works share similar prestige—the Groningen Museum’s signature central golden tower instantly became emblematic of the Dutch city after its 1994 ribbon-cutting. Postmodernism expert Adam Nathaniel Furman describes Mendini as “a figure of staggering importance, and a beautiful mind who helped open up horizons that were once curtailed and reinject design and architecture with magic, self-awareness, and imagination.”

Mendini’s legacy lives on thanks to BD Barcelona Design, which recently unveiled the visionary’s final design before his death, this past February. Called Cristallo, the limited-edition trophy-shape cabinet embodies the idea of form following function. An intricate white trophy with geometric detailing is emblazoned across the cabinet’s sycamore-veneered front, which opens to compartments outfitted with shelving. Glossy reds, blues, and greens, which nod to Postmodern irreverence, define the piece’s side and back surfaces.

Cristallo by Alessandro Mendini for BD Barcelona.

BD Barcelona Design views the commission as a thank-you for their ongoing collaborations with Mendini, which originated in with a rug collection in the 1980s. “[Cristallo] is a celebration,” the brand says. “History wanted it to be Mendini’s last design done throughout his long and rich professional career. Let’s drink to him.”

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