Friday, July 24, 2009

Prada for art

Höller's 'Upside Down Mushroom Room' at the Fondazione Prada in Milan.
Prada is not just fashion but has lately become also a symbol of ambitious contemporary art projects. The following is an excerpt of an article on Miuccia Prada by Alastair Sooke:

"A former mime student and member of the Communist Party, with a PhD in political science, in the Seventies Prada reluctantly took over the family business, founded by her paternal grandfather Mario in 1913 (...). Over the following decades, she turned it from a sleepy store specializing in leather luggage for wealthy Italians into a fashion superpower (...).
Increasingly, however, Prada's interests have broadened away from the confines of fashion design to the subject of our conversation today: her passion for contemporary art. In the early Nineties, Prada and her husband, Patrizio Bertelli, a flamboyant Tuscan who is the group's chief executive, began to collect post-war and contemporary art. Today, visitors to their apartment in Milan, the same apartment in which Prada was born in 1949, can see pieces by important artists of the Sixties, including Lucio Fontana and Blinky Palermo (...)
But it is the Prada Foundation, their not-for-profit organization devoted to contemporary art, that has really earned them the respect of the international art world. Established in 1995, the foundation has realized ambitious projects with some of the most exciting names in contemporary art, including several celebrated Brits (Anish Kapoor, Steve McQueen, Marc Quinn, and Sam Taylor-Wood). One of the most popular installations was Höller's Upside Down Mushroom Room, in which gigantic, topsy-turvy toadstools slowly revolved from the ceiling. It was visited by 13,000 people in just a month (...)
"Miuccia's taste in art is more experimental than Patrizio's – which is also her role in Prada," says Germano Celant, the director of the Prada Foundation, which will soon occupy a new home, designed by the Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas, in a sprawling industrial site in south Milan.
Miuccia has learnt from art that, in order to do new things, you need to go against your confirmed style. She likes people who are questioning (...)"
Below is Rem Koolhaas' project to enlarge the existing structure.

Image by Flickr


Meade Design Group said...

I was thinking after reading this entry how a phrase can change your mind set of a brand - The book and the movie "The Devil wears Prada" always made me think that Prada was just a power house/high end brand for people without scrupulous - After I read this entries I realized that Prada is much more than that - Prada is now days an important engine for culture from their fashion creations, their respect to tradition to an art foundation.

Thanks Albarosa for showing the other side of a brand.

Francine Gardner said...

Prada has essentially become a household name where fashionistas of all ages can relate to the style, the reassurance of the brand. The brand is also driven by the architecture and design of their stores. I love" the upside down mushroom installation". When in Milan, Prada (I will admit) is my first shopping stop.
Thanks for the very informative post.

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