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Masters and Pupils | Three-lecture series with Politecnico di Milano



Masters and Pupils | Three-lecture series with Politecnico di Milano

PoliTech Stories: A series of events to tell the stories of illustrious Politecnico di Milano professors and alumni who, in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, stood out for their revolutionary contributions to engineering, architecture and design, worldwide; projects and inventions that went beyond the borders of Milan and became part of the way we live, move and experience everyday life on an international level.

In this three-part series presented by the Istituto Italiano di Cultura Toronto, in collaboration with the Politecnico di Milano, faculty members will share their expertise on Nobel laureate Giulio Natta, on furniture and industrial designer Marco Zanuso, and - in the new year as part of the DesignTO line up - on Italian architect, industrial designer, furniture designer and artist Gio Ponti.



Giulio Natta and Polypropylene
Prof. Maurizio Masi
Professor of Applied Physical Chemistry


The story of the discovery of polypropylene is not a simple tale of scientific discovery. It is a story of crossing paths: Giulio Natta, professor of industrial chemistry at the Politecnico di Milano, and Pier Candiano Giustiniani, president of Montecatini, one of Italy's most notable chemical companies. Two individuals who valued each other so that they never came to speak familiarly to each other, as a sign of mutual respect. It is the story of how the polymerization of propylene was sought tenaciously with apparently unsatisfactory results, which would have led most researchers to abandon the goal. It is the history of Italy in the 1950s, painfully emerging from the war, a country motivated by a great desire to do and to gamble on the future. In fact, within three years of discovering polypropylene, the first production plant was set up in Ferrara. The legacy they left us is a chemical product that, on its own, contributes 0.15% to the gross domestic product of the world.



Marco Zanuso: Landscape, Architecture and Design
Prof. Luciano Crespi
Professor of Design



It was Gio Ponti who described him as "the most reckless of architects" in 1952 when discussing his design for a house in Via Gorizia, the façade of which features fulget panels with abstract drawings by the painter Gianni Dova. Zanuso was not yet forty years old at the time. Still, he already had the hallmarks of a brilliant experimenter, able to measure himself against the complexity and evolution of the world of design and its "production techniques" and, at the same time, practice collaboration between architects and artists.

Zanuso explores, in advance, themes that are today considered strategic. Particularly that of the relationship between architecture and landscape addressed in a 1962 challenging essay and to which it is necessary to return. Although his fame, even on an international level, is due above all to his works in the field of industrial product design and the use of complex methods in the management of architectural projects, in the last twenty years the most attentive critics have finally highlighted his greatness as a cultured and innovative architect, endowed with a non-dogmatic vision of the problems he was called upon to tackle, with traits of uniqueness in the panorama of figures who worked in the second half of the 20th century.


FRIDAY, JANUARY 21, 2022 | 12:30PM EST

DesignTO 2022

Gio Ponti: The Hyper-Italian
Prof. Fulvio Irace


Gio Ponti (1891-1979) was the emblem of Italy rising from the ashes of war, powerfully regaining a first rank position in postwar international architecture.

Post-1968 architectural discourse has been deeply influenced by the very idea that architecture should be anti-capitalist; Ponti has been described by scholars as an aesthete not interested in politics. His name has been reestablished as the inventor of “Made in Italy”, gaining an international audience, as witnessed by two major exhibitions: “Tout Ponti” (Mad, Louvre Paris - 2018) and “Gio Ponti: amare l’Architettura” (Maxxi, Rome - 2019).

Ponti began working at a very young age as an art director for the renowned Richard Ginori porcelain factory: from that point on, he never stopped exercising his incredible creative abilities in all the fields that opened up to his inexhaustible imagination: the decorative arts, design, furniture, fine art and architecture - from his first work for Tony Bouilhet – the villa L’Ange Volant, in Garches, to the Pirelli Tower (the first skyscraper in Italy), the Istituto Italiano di Cultura in Stockholm and the Taranto Cathedral. Equal was his prodigious industriousness in the fields of communication and information: in 1928 he founded the journal Domus, leaving it in 1941, returning to it 20 years later and continuing to direct it until his death. He was a prolific writer who used all of the mass media’s potential to disseminate his love of architecture, celebrated in his most famous book In Praise of Architecture (1957). With his tireless activism, he became an advocate of Italian creativity around the world.

Ponti believed in the redeemable value of art as an expression of a spirit of sharing among peoples, attempting to create a common market for world art, a universal tool of conciliation between peoples.

The Istituto Italiano di Cultura would like to thank the Gio Ponti Archives for the use of their images.



Prof. Maurizio Masi is a Full Professor of Applied Physical Chemistry in the Giulio Natta Department of Chemistry, Materials and Chemical Engineering at the Politecnico di Milano.  His activity is centred on reaction kinetics and chemical reaction engineering, on the study of production processes for advanced inorganic materials for microelectronics and for photovoltaic applications and generally on the simulation of the chemical and physicochemical processes involved in materials manufacturing and in chemical process engineering.  Since 2001, his research has also moved towards biomedical engineering, in particular on cells and tissue growth in scaffold supporting media and on biopolymers for controlled drug delivery. All of this research has been carried out in cooperation with primary industrial groups as well as small and medium enterprises.  He served as Dean of the School of Industrial Engineering Processes of the Politecnico di Milano (2010-2012) and as Head of the Department of the Giulio Natta Department of Chemistry, Materials and Chemical Engineering (2013-2019).  He received his MSc (Cum Laude) in Chemical Engineering and PhD in Electrochemical Engineering. In 1992, he was Visiting Scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is the author of more than 150 scientific papers published in internationally peer-reviewed journals, 4 books and holds 9 international patents.

Prof. Luciano Crespi is an Associate Professor in Architectural Technology at the School of Architecture at the Politecnico di Milano since 1992. A Full Professor of Design at the School of Design since 2009, he has been president of the Interior Design course at the School of Design at the Politecnico di Milano from 2009 to 2015. He is a member of the Board of the PhD program in Design at the Politecnico di Milano. He is Director of the Master in "Exhibition Design" and of the International Master in "Urban Interior Design" at the Politecnico di Milano, offered in collaboration with the Escuela Politecnica Superior in Madrid. He has been a member of the Steering Committee of the Scientific Society of Design.

Prof. Fulvio Irace is Professor Emeritus at the Politecnico di Milano.  Prof. Irace has been visiting lecturer at the Accademia di Architettura in Mendrisio (CH) and at the Universidad de Navarra, Pamplona, Spain.  Laureate of the Bruno Zevi award for architectural criticism, he has served as editor for Domus, Abitare and the Sunday cultural supplement of the Italian newspaper Il Sole 24 Ore. His scholarly body of work has resulted in the editorship of main exhibitions in Italy and abroad and in the publication of many books focusing on the role of Italian architecture of the 20th and 21st centuries in an international context.



Data: Ven 21 Gen 2022

Orario: Alle 12:30

Organizzato da : Istituto Italiano di Cultura Toronto | Politecnico di Milano

Ingresso : Libero


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