Feb 3rd 2022

New Faculty Book Shines Light on a Design Icon’s Overlooked Architecture

Today, many know Italian architect Carlo Mollino for his furniture designs—rare, expressive mid-century objects that fetch staggering sums at auction—or his library of erotic photography, discovered after his death in 1973. Comparatively, Mollino’s architecture remains less known even though a number of his buildings, located mainly in the northern Italian city of Turin and its surroundings, are open to the public.

Rectifying this is a new book by prestigious Swiss publisher Park Books: Carlo Mollino: Architect and Storyteller, co-authored by College of Architecture Professor Michelangelo Sabatino and Napoleone Ferrari, President of the Museo Casa Mollino in Turin. A portfolio of new photographs by Paris-based Pino Musi was commissioned especially for the book.

The book provides detailed histories on Mollino’s building designs, both completed and unrealized, and draws upon archival material and Mollino’s own writings. From well-known works such as the Teatro Regio in Turin to lesser-known buildings such as Lago Nego, a ski station in the Italian Alps, the book is the most comprehensive survey of Mollino’s architecture published in English to date.

Along the way, Sabatino and Ferrari make the case for Mollino as an overlooked but essential contributor to the global Modernist movement. In particular, they point to his uncommon ability to weave surreal, futurist, and expressive narratives into the functional forms of his Modernist designs.

“Mollino’s commitment to telling architectural stories about people, places, and nature, while moving seamlessly between accumulated traditions and futuristic experimentation, continues to make his legacy of utmost relevance today,” writes Sabatino. “To the ‘muteness’ of contemporary high tech, Mollino’s architecture offers a subtle alternative while simultaneously vindicating the role that the architect has played historically and must continue to play today in shaping our collective culture.”

The book is available for pre-order in the United States through Illinois Institute of Technology’s bookstore, and will be published on March 22, 2022.