The descendent of a family of engineers and architects – a tradition that he respected, graduating in Civil Engineering from the Politecnico di Milano in 1928 –, Ignazio Mario Gardella, born in 1905 and deceased in 1999, played a central role in all the new developments of the 20th century, becoming one of the architects of the changes underway in the world of design and architecture. His numerous trips abroad, the connections he made during his university years and the work that came from his father’s firm put him into contact with a series of prominent figures of the time who left a deep mark on his architectural approach, a precious legacy for the modern day that fused methodical precision and intellectual curiosity.
It was mainly the city of Milan that benefitted from his eclectic and disruptive personality, ever since Gardella became one of the promoters of the Piano A.R. (“Architects Reunited Plan”) in 1943: this project for a new city plan constituted one of the greatest tests for Milanese architects due to its optimistic desire to rethink and rebuild the city as an expression of a new democratic society.
With this in mind, in 1945 he became one of the founders of the Movimento di Studi per l’Architettura (MSA – Movement for Architectural Studies), committing himself to tackling the main issues of the architectural and city planning debate regarding reconstruction.
His conception of architecture as “art”, somewhere between a utilitarian construction and an artistic work, inevitably influenced the products that resulted from his collaboration with MisuraEmme, which began in the ‘70s.
Gardella redesigned historic pieces and created a new collection, marking an important moment in the company’s history. The richness and variety of the products that ensued was also the subject of the “Ignazio Gardella Architetto” exhibition held in the spring of 1989 and organized by MisuraEmme and by the Museum of Contemporary Furnishing in Ravenna. The timeless emblem of this exchange of knowledge is the Elegie bookcase, which over the years has become an iconic piece of modern design.