Rossana Orlandi: The Patron Saint of Contemporary Design

Tiffany Lambert
Dec 5, 2013 2:41PM

We live in a time when many curators, gallerists, artists, and designers are challenging aesthetic and categorical boundaries, but few are as open and inquisitive to the possibilities and potential of emergent designers than Rossana Orlandi. Regularly lauded as the patron saint of contemporary design, the native Italian launched Galleria Rossana Orlandi in Milan in 2008, where a progressive program continues to flourish.

“It is important to support new designers and do curatorial work with them when they are at the beginning of their career,” said Orlandi, whose sweeping role as curator, dealer, and mentor can be difficult to pin down. “At the same time, it is essential to build a commercial structure which is the basis for the designers to evolve in their work,” she added. The gallery sits next door to her eclectic and versatile showroom, Spazio Rossana Orlandi, which is housed in a former tie factory and has become a go-to destination during Milan’s annual Salone furniture fair since it first opened in 2002. “I have always been interested in design as a private collector, this space that I found just gave me the chance to transform it into a place for young creatives to gain visibility and to grow,” she explained.

A new exhibitor at this year’s edition of Design Miami/, Orlandi will bring a selection of eight works by eight designers, including Nacho Carbonell, Wonmin Park, UUfie, and BCXSY. “Some of the pieces are completely new, I haven’t even seen the final result,” Orlandi recently said while preparing for the fair. Tomas Libertiny, Enrico Marone Cinzano, Nika Zupanc, and Lucio Micheletti will also participate.

For Orlandi, it is as important to present the objects as much as the designers behind them, “their lives, their corpus of works, and their stories,” she explained. That inspired philosophy illustrates Orlandi’s ambitious commitment to the industry she entered after leaving the fashion world behind years ago. “In fashion you work by seasons, a good piece of design can last for decades.”

Tiffany Lambert

Portrait by Giovanni Gastel.

Galleria Rossana Orlandi, Design Miami/, Design Galleries, Booth G31, Dec. 4th – 8th.

Explore Design Miami/ on Artsy and Artsy’s Editorial Highlights from the Miami Art Fairs.