The Poldi Pezzoli Museum in Milan

The house of the 19th century art collector Gian Giacomo Poldi Pezzoli is located in central Milan, a few steps from La Scala. Today, the beautiful well-preserved palazzo is a museum that hosts a magnificent collection of arts and crafts, including an important selection of European textiles of various origins and periods.
For those interested in textiles and design, the museum is well worth a visit. Some of the rare textiles, rugs, embroidery and tapestry are exhibited in the museum’s darkly decorated rooms, and others can be consulted by appointment only. The museum’s collection of ancient Coptic textiles can rival those of the world’s leading museums. The beautiful 5-6th century fragments of wool and linen fabrics emphasize the important role of textiles in the ancient Coptic culture, used for funeral rites, clothing, and home decorations.
Isabel Berglund
Besides the rich permanent collection, the temporary exhibitions bring contemporary design items to the museum’s beautiful settings. A recent exhibition explored the role of textiles in modern interior design. “La Casa Morbida”, Italian for The Soft House, presented new and classic interior design items made of textile.
Despite the central role that technology plays in our daily lives, the exhibition’s curators wanted to emphasize the importance of textiles to creating a cosy and welcoming atmosphere at home. Natural fibres and traditional crafts should play an important part in contemporary design, according to the exhibition’s organizing companies, Foscarini e Inventario. The exhibits were arranged in the palazzo’s salons and halls, allowing the visitors to explore the relations between old and new interior design. Some of the items on display can be considered “classics”, like the Feltri chairs by Gaetano Pesce, but other items, like Raw Edges by Yael Mer & Shay Alkalay represent more innovative and new approaches to textile-based product design today. Isabel Berglund’s knitted table is a good example of the witty and playful approach to textiles in product design, which seems to dominate a large part of the field today. As a whole, the exhibition offered an interesting overview of the role of textiles in design, complementing the historical collection of textiles permanently hosted at the Poldi Pezzoli museum.