Ignazio Gardella & Corrado Corradi Dell’Acqua

Ignazio Gardella (Milan, 1905 – Oleggio, 1999) was one of the leading figures in Italian twentieth-century architecture.
He graduated first of all in Civil Engineering and then in Architecture at the Politecnico di Milano. Even before the war, he had performed a series of jobs for the upper classes of Piedmont and Lombardia, clients whom he was able to interpret in many important projects in the period of Reconstruction when he was at the forefront in proposing a new idea of architecture.
In 1947, he founded Azucena with Luigi Caccia Dominioni and Corrado Corradi Dell’Acqua.
Until the 1990s, Gardella would continue producing and designing furniture and accessories, also for other companies, as well as carrying on his extraordinary activity as a by-now internationally renowned architect in public and private works.
Corrado Corradi Dell’Acqua (Milan 1905 – Varese 1982) was a law expert, an amateur writer, and silently became a designer. His dachshund’s name was Azucena, as the gypsy of a Giuseppe Verdi’s opera. After all, Maria Callas was hosted after the dress rehearsal of the legendary 1955’s Traviata, at La Scala, that Luchino Visconti built around her Violetta. Azucena was also the name of the company Corradi had started in 1947 with two other young Milanese intellectuals, Luigi Caccia Dominioni and Ignazio Gardella – the last one had already been his schoolmate at the Liceo Berchet, and would have later joined him in many other projects. The premises of his adventure had materialized in two different editions of the Milan Triennial Exhibition. In 1933, Corradi had presented his black nickel and copper bookends, and in 1939 he had exhibited a silver and golden copper tea service wrapped in the coils of a snake. In those objects, the simplicity and the elegance of his future works could be foreseen but not fully recognized. Some years later he would have designed objects such as his lamps made with glass from Milan tramcars, his two-seat sofa for an intimate talk, his saddle-shaped armchairs that forced the body in a perfect posture, his little-tree-shaped photo frame that could be worn as a cameo collier, or his marble ashtray with a pestle that could still be used to put out a cigarette at the Banca Popolare office in Piazza Meda, Milan. Not to mention his liquor cabinet Brangania, made of wood like a plow and covered with natural leather, and his wardrobe Garitta that seemed taken from a painting by Carlo Carrà. He designed everything starting from the house, with a precise idea of living in mind.