Molteni & C’s 80-year history has been studded with several star moments: from the 1960s when Angelo Molteni became a founding father of Milan’s Salone del Mobile furniture fair, to the 1970s when Afra and Tobia Scarpa began creating their dazzling wood chairs and shelves, to this century that has been earmarked with liveable, cutting-edge design by Jean Nouvel, Ron Arad, as well as re-editions of famed Giò Ponti designs. These moments and more are now on view in the new Molteni Museum at the Italian brand’s countryside headquarters in Guissano, an hour outside of Milan.
Designed by Jasper Morrisson, the new museum occupies the top floor of the company’s four-storey showroom. Morrison devised a series of sleek white wall islands to divide the space and show off the top 48 most famous designs produced by Molteni & C, and its sister companies Dada, Unifor and Citterio. The archive – occupying a former farmhouse on the property – contains a small portion of the 50,000 objects, prototypes, furniture joints, sketches, photos and magazines that make up the company’s rich historical legacy.
'My father [CEO Carlo Molteni] just found one of our credenzas from the 1940s in a random shop in Milan,' said Francesca Molteni, who directed the Giò Ponti documentary called Loving Ponti, also part of the museum’s offering. 'So I guess the collection will keep growing.'
Guissano has now become a design campus of sorts for Molteni. In addition to the museum and archives, there is also Molteni’s Ron Gilad-designed Glass Cube pavilion, QallaM multimedia space designed by Patricia Urquiola, as well as huge showroom spaces and production facilities, all surrounded by lush grash and wooden deck walkways.