Radical architecture: the MAXXI in Rome launches major Superstudio retrospective

 the MAXXI museum in Rome
(Image credit: courtesy Fondazione MAXXI)

Few groups influenced the Italian design and architecture scene of the 20th century – and beyond – more than Superstudio. Well known for its radical, provocative and experimental approach, the collective had an extremely varied output, ranging from installations to objects, photographs and publications, leaving their mark on contemporary architecture worldwide.

Celebrating its landmark 50th anniversary this year, Superstudio was set up in Rome in 1966 by Adolfo Natalini and Cristiano Toraldo di Francia. They were later joined by Gian Piero Frassinelli, the brothers Roberto and Alessandro Magris and Alessandro Poli. 

Marking the occasion, the MAXXI museum in Rome worked with Natalini, Toraldo di Francia and Frassinelli themselves, who collaborated with curator Gabriele Mastrigli, to put together a major retrospective exhibition – entitled 'Superstudio 50' – that looks at the group's lifetime oeuvre.

The displays – sourced from the Superstudio archives – span the entire career and development of the group's work and include drawings, photomontages and installations from The Continuous Monument series (1969), the Architectural Histograms (1969-70) and The Twelve Ideal Cities (1971) project. Pieces on show also include The Wife of Lot, presented at the Venice Biennale in 1978 and the entrance to the Superarchitettura exhibition from 1966. 

The exhibition is completed by the display of work by a number of artists who reference Superstudio in her work, such as Hironaka & Suib, Rene Daalder and photographer Stefano Graziani. 

A book, entitled Superstudio. Opere 1966-1978, published by Quodlibet, will be available at the museum, to accompany the exhibition, chronicling the group's full body of work.

'Le Dodici Città Ideali.

’Le Dodici Città Ideali. Città delle Semisfere’, 1971

(Image credit: courtesy Fondazione MAXXI)

'Autoritratto', 1973.

’Autoritratto’, 1973. 

(Image credit: C. Toraldo di Francia)

Adolfo Natalini at the Superarchitettura fair

Adolfo Natalini at the Superarchitettura fair, Galleria Jolly 2, in Pistoia, 1966.

(Image credit: C. Toraldo di Francia)

Salvataggi di centri storici italiani

'Salvataggi di centri storici italiani (Italia vostra)', Florence, 1972.

(Image credit: C. Toraldo di Francia)

The Sofo chair for Poltronova

The Sofo chair for Poltronova, 1968.

(Image credit: C. Toraldo di Francia)


Superstudio 50 is on show at the MAXXI until the 4 September. For more information visit the museum’s website


MAXXI - National Museum of XXI Century Arts
A, Via Guido Reni, 4
00196 Rome 


Ellie Stathaki is the Architecture & Environment Director at Wallpaper*. She trained as an architect at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki in Greece and studied architectural history at the Bartlett in London. Now an established journalist, she has been a member of the Wallpaper* team since 2006, visiting buildings across the globe and interviewing leading architects such as Tadao Ando and Rem Koolhaas. Ellie has also taken part in judging panels, moderated events, curated shows and contributed in books, such as The Contemporary House (Thames & Hudson, 2018), Glenn Sestig Architecture Diary (2020) and House London (2022).