Alfabeto Mangiarotti, directed by Davide Maffei, is a captivating documentary that explores the life of Angelo Mangiarotti, a renowned Italian architect, designer, and sculptor. Maffei skillfully showcases Mangiarotti’s unique style and recurring forms, making this biographical journey a treat for design lovers. The film is in Italian and Japanese, with English subtitles.
Mangiarotti left a lasting impression on architecture and design over many decades. His furniture and objects were known for their elemental shapes, crafted to serve different functions and scales. One of his signature shapes was the mushroom. Unlike designers focused on personal recognition, Mangiarotti’s designs emerged from a thoughtful problem-solving process. By understanding materials deeply and collaborating with skilled artisans, he used them in their natural state and explored unconventional techniques. The result was visually appealing and functional pieces that prioritized user needs and emphasized the tactile qualities of materials. Mangiarotti’s approach was rooted in a profound understanding of materials, stability, instability, and balance. His work is relevant today, such as his pre-fabrication techniques and one of his housing projects featuring 64 unique homes integrated into its unique landscape, which can provide some relief to the current housing crisis.
Director Davide Maffei constructs an intimate portrait of Mangiarotti, the son of a baker, whose passion for design, aesthetics, and form shines throughout the film. Maffei’s skillful directing ensures a smooth flow that captures the audience’s attention. This documentary is a must-see for design enthusiasts, demanding undivided focus. It’s worth noting that Mangiarotti’s influence can be seen in the works of Renzo Piano, highlighting the magnitude of his impact. Maffei uses various visual elements, including archival footage, photographs, sketches, and interviews, to enrich the storytelling. These visuals are combined with shots of quarries, workshops, and his architecture, offering a glimpse into the craftsmanship behind Mangiarotti’s creations. The film’s soundtrack, blending jazz with ambient sounds, enhances the immersive experience.
Alfabeto Mangiarotti documents the extensive body of work of one of Italy’s most celebrated architects, providing insights into the artistic process behind many masterpieces. By intertwining Mangiarotti’s personal journey with his creations, the film showcases the intricate relationship between the man and his designed objects, and buildings. It stands as a tribute to Mangiarotti’s enduring legacy and offers valuable insights into the mind of a visionary who has greatly influenced the world of design. As Mangiarotti himself said, “The aesthetic is a function.” This documentary pays homage to one of Italy’s most celebrated and significant architects, highlighting the country’s rich heritage in architecture, design, and artistry. It invites viewers to appreciate Mangiarotti’s profound impact and reaffirms Italy’s position as a source of creativity.
Watch the trailer for Alfabeto Mangiarotti below