Born in 1927 in Palazzolo dello Stella (UD). He graduated in architecture at the Milan Polytechnic in 1953, where he also obtained his qualification for the profession. Gae Aulenti trained as an architect in Milan in the 1950s, where Italian architecture is engaged in that historical and cultural research of recovery of the architectural values of the past and of the existing built environment that will flow into the Neoliberty movement. Aulenti is part of this trend, which disagrees with rationalism.
From 1955 to 1965 he was part of the Casabella-Continuità editorial staff under the direction of Ernesto Nathan Rogers. On the university front, he was assistant before Giuseppe Samonà (from 1960 to 1962) at the chair of Architectural Composition at the University Institute of Architecture in Venice, and shortly after (from 1964 to 1969) by Ernesto Nathan Rogers at the chair of Architectural Composition at the Polytechnic of Milan. In that period he accidentally met the young Renzo Piano, engaged in carrying out a search for the Rogers chair.
His famous Pipistrello table lamp dates from 1965, designed as a site specific for the Olivetti showroom that he simultaneously creates in Paris. Shortly thereafter, for the same Olivetti he will design the Buenos Aires showroom. The collaboration with the well-known manufacturer of typewriters gives her a certain notoriety, so much so that shortly afterwards Gianni Agnelli will call her to entrust her with the renovation of her Milanese apartment in the Brera area. Between the two a friendship is born that will last a lifetime and for the Agnelli Gae Aulenti will conceive numerous projects.
In 1972 he participated in the well-known exhibition "Italian: the new Domestic Landscape" organized by Emilio Ambasz at MoMa together with numerous other emerging designers and architects, including Marco Zanuso and Richard Sapper, Joe Colombo, Ettore Sottsass, Gaetano Pesce, Archizoom, Superstudio, Strum Group and 9999 Group.
She used to say of herself to see its architecture in close relationship and interconnection with the existing urban environment, which almost becomes its generating form, trying, with this, to transfer the multiplicity and intensity of the elements to its architectural space , which define the urban universe.
From 1974 to 1979 he was a member of the Steering Committee of the magazine Lotus International, then made artistic experiences and from 1976 to 1978 collaborated with Luca Ronconi in Prato at the Theater Design Laboratory.
In 1979 she was entrusted with the artistic direction of FontanaArte, with which she had already collaborated in the past. Lamps and furnishings are still produced in the catalog. Among the most important collaborators appear Piero Castiglioni, Pierluigi Cerri, Daniela Puppa and Franco Raggi.
Aulenti's work in the 1980s included numerous large-scale museum projects. For her arrangement of the Musée d'Orsay in Paris (1980-1986), she was named Knight of the Légion of Honor by the French government. He also designed the Contemporary Art Gallery at the Center Pompidou in Paris (1982-85) and the Palazzo Grassi in Venice (1985-86).
In 1984 she was appointed correspondent of the National Academy of San Luca in Rome, while from 1995 to 1996 she was president of the Brera Academy of Fine Arts.
In 2005 he established Gae Aulenti Architetti Associati with Marco Buffoni, Francesca Fenaroli and Vittoria Massa.
He died on October 31, 2012 in Milan at the age of 84. Before her death, on 16 October she was awarded the career award given to her by the Triennale.
On 7 December 2012, the new large circular square located in the center of the Unicredit Tower complex in Milan was inaugurated and named after him.
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