Can it be said that Gae Aulenti was a Friulian designer? She herself, on several occasions, declared that, even though she was born in Palazzolo dello Stella, Friuli, she did not feel any affinity for Friuli itself, having more of a sense of belonging to Calabria, her mother's native land, and to the city of Milan, her own professional and “human” homeland.

Born as Gaetana Emilia Aulenti on December 4, 1927, Gae Aulenti attended first the Art School in Florence and took part in the Resistance, then graduated in 1953 at the Milan School of Architecture of the Polytechnic University, where she became assistant to Ernesto Nathan Rogers and Editor of Casabella, the design magazine he directed at the time. During these years, she began her work as a freelancer, as well as branching into journalism and teaching. In 2012, after a prolific and successful life, the award-winning architect died in Milan at the age of 84.





Rocking armchair ‘Sgarsul’, Poltronova; 1962.
In Friulian, "sgarg” literally translates to a plant known as “Indian teasel”, but it is in general used to refer to someone rather frivolous.

Gae Aulenti, pictured with the lamp Pipistrello inside the Olivetti showroom in Paris, 1965. The showroom is one of her first interior projects."Pipistrello" is still in production by Martinelli Luce.



Among her architectural works: the Gare d'Orsay in Laloux (1980-1986); the renovation of Palazzo Grassi in Venice (1985-1986); the redefinition of Ferrovie Nord headquarters’ façade, as well as the street furniture of Piazza Cadorna in Milan (2000), and the initial project of renovation developed for the Museum of Casa Cavazzini in Udine (2002).

Ruspa, lamp manufactured by Martinelli Luce during the ‘60s.


In 1979, the artistic direction of Fontana Arte was entrusted to Gae Aulenti: there, in 1993, she designed the "Wheeled Table', in 1993 re-designed and named  ‘Tour’.  

‘Locus Solus’ collection

Lawn furniture in tubular metal, manufactured by Poltronova in 1964 and by Exteta in 2016.

(Original drawings courtesy Archivio Gae Aulenti)

L'architettura è un mestiere da uomini ma ho sempre fatto finta di nulla, intervista a Gae Aulenti

Addio a Gae Aulenti signora dell'architettura, Messaggero Veneto

Gae Aulenti, le sue opere più famose

AULENTI, Gaetana Emilia, Enciclopedia Treccani

 Gae Aulenti, wikipedia

Gae Aulenti, Museo del Design Toscano,  MuDeTo

Riccio  (hedgehog), a blown glass vase, manufactured by Venini in 99 specimens, 2008