The “laminated” story of design
You just can't miss it: even from its exterior, shading off from green to light blue, you can recognise the ABET Laminati Museum. Being clad in MEG, an extremely durable high-pressure laminate, the outer walls, too, become a part of the company's history, which began more than 50 years ago and is now told by a permanent exhibition.
The origins of ABET Laminati and of its Museum
ABET stands for Anonima Braidese Estratti Tannici ("tannin extraction joint-stock company"): a name that, by now, has little to do with the company, which has later turned into one of Europe's most famous manufacturers of high-pressure laminates. ABET, founded in 1946 in Bra (Cuneo), tanned hides, in the beginning. The new deal was launched by Enrico Garbarino who, after the Second World War, bought a patent for producing decorative laminates in the United States.
This was when the Piedmontese company began to ring the bell. The success continued under the leadership of the founder's daughter, Cesara Mazzola Garbarino. Deceased in 2011, she could not witness the fulfillment of her dream: a museum which could host all the fruits of the union of design and culture, constantly pursued by ABET. The Museum was completed and opened on June 8th, 2013 by her husband, instead, the current President, Bruno Mazzola, who has dedicated the two rooms of the Museum to his wife and father-in-law. Placing them above the working spaces of ABET's historical headquarters in Bra was a meaningful choice: the Museum is, indeed, just above the most important press in the production cycle.
Functional aesthetics: side by side with designers
What does the ABET Laminati Museum exhibit? The 137 most representative works in the past and present history of the Italian and international design, i.e. drawings, paintings, pieces of furniture and objects. Next to names such as Gio Ponti, Bethan Laura Wood, Giulio Iacchetti, Theo Williams, Michele De Lucchi, Jean Nouvel and Paola Navone, Mauro Olivieri's work is on exhibition, as well.
His Tablò, indeed, was created in collaboration with ABET Laminati, and is now on show at the Museum, together with other characteristic items, which have followed, marked and, sometimes, forerun the developments and the taste of design. From the Sixties, till today... and beyond.