The Jacqueline Vodoz and Bruno Danese Foundation is based in Milan, in Via S. Maria Fulcorina 17. Housed and showcased in this location, the Jacqueline Vodoz and Bruno Danese Fund consists of Art Collections and the Historical Archive of Design - DEM, Danese e Meneguzzo Fund from 1955 to 1957 and the Danese Fund from 1957 to 1991 – all available for consultation in the Foundation’s archives.
The Fund also includes a photographic section documenting the entire design process, the works included in the Art Collections, as well as the Jacqueline Vodoz Photography Fund. The archival section is also home to all paper documents and books collected from 1957 to the present day.
The Foundation’s Archives and Collections have been recognized for having "exceptional cultural, historical and interpersonal interest and significance relating to cultural identity" in 2013, by the Minister of Cultural Heritage and Activities and Tourism, Regional Directorate for Cultural and Natural Heritage of Lombardy
Jacqueline Vodoz (1921-2005)
Born in Milan in 1921, Jacqueline Vodoz studied in Italy, Switzerland and England. In the 1940s she worked as a reader for a publishing house in Zurich. In the early 1950s she was responsible for foreign relations at an enterprise in Milan. In 1953, after a photography internship in Switzerland, she began to work as a photojournalist. She settled in Milan and within a few years, from 1953 to 1958, she documented some of the most important moments of Italian history. At the time, her work was featured in the most popular newspapers and magazines in Italy and abroad. In 1957, she founded the Danese company with Bruno Danese. She continued to work as a photographer, while fervently pursuing design projects with the Danese company.
Due to this, there exists a vast collection of iconographic material that has been collected and archived, spanning various projects, objects and design features from the last fifty years.
Bruno Danese (1930 – 2016)
Bruno Danese was born in Valdagno, where he lived, until 1955, running the family craft business. At the end of 1955 he moved to Milan and together with Franco Meneguzzo, artist and ceramist, he founded DEM (Danese e Meneguzzo), a ceramic workshop where series pieces and one-of-a-kind hand-modelled objects were made.
In 1957, together with Jacqueline Vodoz, he founded the Danese company, with a showroom in Piazza San Fedele in Milan. He then began to collaborate with Bruno Munari and later with Enzo Mari. He continued the ceramic production with Meneguzzo, which eventually became incorporated into the Danese company itself. Additional collaborations also took place with Giovanni Belgrano, Gruppo IARD, Angelo Mangiarotti, Michel Fadat, Achille Castiglioni, Marco Ferreri and Kuno Prey.
The Jacqueline Vodoz and Bruno Danese Foundation houses a collection of works, objects, photographs and documents collected by Jacqueline Vodoz and Bruno Danese from 1957. This was the year the couple embarked on an adventure together that endured until Jacqueline Vodoz passed away in 2005. Founding the DANESE company, they invented a new method of production entailing Editori di Design, which became known all over the world for its high quality and original approach to integrating art and manufacturing through producing home and office objects, art editions and children's toys.
Between the end of the 1950s and the beginning of the 1960s, Jacqueline Vodoz and Bruno Danese pursued joint projects with some artist-designers like Bruno Munari and Enzo Mari, who reflect upon art and seriality, uniqueness and plurality, upon the object and the aesthetic qualities of the material that constitutes it. They sponsored initiatives that revolutionized the industry, yet they spoke the language of art. For over thirty years, the public has been able to visit the Danese showroom in Milan to witness a company that produces objects, but above all to encounter an enterprise that produces culture through behavior, events and exhibitions. In a wholly innovative way, they provided a dialectic space to foreground the contradictions and shifts of thought that design research reveals.
The Jacqueline Vodoz and Bruno Danese Foundation was established in 2006 and has its registered office in Via Santa Maria Fulcorina 17, Milan.
The Foundation, in order to pursue education, culture, study and research, has the following aims:
A – la tutela, la promozione, la divulgazione, la valorizzazione, la raccolta, l’archiviazione e la custodia degli oggetti, opere, documenti, progetti e libri collezionati o prodotti da Jacqueline Vodoz e Bruno Danese a partire dagli anni ’50 nei settori del design e delle arti visive secondo un vasto concetto di ricerca progettuale ed estetica che ha consentito la creazione di un patrimonio di straordinaria qualità e di rara coerenza, testimonianza integrale di un’epoca.
B - to organize events, meetings and exhibitions
C - to give scholars, researchers and students access to the spaces dedicated to exhibiting and displaying the Foundation's assets and archives
The Foundation is administered by a Board of Directors whose president is Emilio Aguzzi de Villeneuve, curator Manuela Cirino and archivist Isabella Di Pietro.
Il vasto patrimonio della Fondazione è suddiviso in due nuclei principali: l’Archivio storico del Design (Fondo DEM Danese Meneguzzo dal 1955 al 1957 e Fondo della Danese dal 1957 al 1991) e le Collezioni d’Arte.
The Historical Archive of Design is home to examples of all produced works, prototypes, sketches and drawings, photographs, exhibition designs, graphic design and packaging materials, and publications complete with magazines, catalogues and books.
The Art Collections, including pieces by Fulvio Bianconi, Mario Ballocco, Franco Meneguzzo, Enzo Mari, and works of Informalism, Kinetic and Programmed Art, also include a vast collection of works by Bruno Munari dating from 1927 to 1996 – a testimony to the close relationship the artist had with Jacqueline Vodoz and Bruno Danese.
The Foundation's main objectives aim at conserving, promoting and enhancing the Art Collections and the Historical Archives of Design by cataloguing activities, aiding researchers and students, loaning works to museums around the world and hosting exhibitions and projects.
In 1991, after selling the Danese company, Jacqueline Vodoz and Bruno Danese founded the cultural association named after them, which remained active until 2005. The Association strived to be a place that promoted the exchanging of ideas, an objective upheld by the three pillars of PROMOTION, TRANSMISSION and CONSERVATION. Numerous exhibitions were held in the renovated spaces of Via S. Maria Fulcorina 17 in Milan, alongside all the cataloguing of the archives that went on to form the basis for the future Foundation, launched in 2006.
The enduring commitment of the founders towards the care of the Archives and Collections was decisive for the establishment of the Foundation, which today continues to pursue the activities launched by the association with greater impetus placed on Transmission and Conservation.
The association was primarily set up as a vehicle for ideas, demonstrating Jacqueline Vodoz and Bruno Danese's long-standing role within the world of design.
This led to exhibitions through which a number of reflections on the concept of design, environment and the object were elaborated (Declaration of Interiors: 25 Italian Homes from 1949 to 1993; Object-Environment, Reflections on Design through Eight Models).
Another important theme was the much-debated issue of Decorative Arts (Paradigmaticity of the Decorative Arts: Objects from the Vodoz-Danese Collections; Franco Meneguzzo: The Ceramic Adventure 1949-1963).
The founders of the Association always viewed the act of "showcasing" as a way to inform and involve an audience in design projects taking place inside.
This was also the case with Danese: by simultaneously displaying and giving equal weight to cultural production and object production, they aimed to elicit thought alongside the production of objects. Numerous exhibitions were held at the Danese headquarters in Milan and this spirit of provocation relating to design and aesthetic behavior continued with the creation of the Association.
There were also some unexpected exhibitions that were the result of long-held debates among participating artists (Around Photography: 37 Frames for 37 Photographers; The Watchman and the Sparrow, Interactive CD-Rom).
Col medesimo desiderio di avventura, si è ripercorsa la storia di un artista, cercando di porre in evidenza dei passaggi nodali là dove si rendeva necessario (Ricostruzione teorica di un artista: Bruno Munari nelle collezioni Vodoz-Danese; Umberto Riva: Muovendo dalla pittura; L’avion de papier e altre storie, Jacqueline Vodoz, fotoreporter 1953-1958; Mario Ballocco since 1949. Works from Mario Ballocco's archive and Vodoz-Danese collections; Impressions Graphiques. L’opera grafica di Giulio Paolini, 1967-2000; Salvatore Licitra: Pensieri, parole, opere. Stefano Casciani, MONUMENTS, Oggetti e Soggetti 1979-2003; Marco Ferreri ).
Finally, in addition to the act of “showcasing”, much though has been given to “how” to showcase: this is how Le Goût de la Communication. Images from the Danese Historical Archive 1957-1991 came into being, which was an exhibition on visual and image communication in the Danese company's history from 1957 to 1991.
The Association's Photographic Archive covers exhibition activities carried out by the Jacqueline Vodoz and Bruno Danese Association, from 1993 to 2004, with photographs capturing all the exhibitions held in the spaces of Via Santa Maria Fulcorina 17 in Milan, containing images relating to the installations and works on display.