Superstudio was founded in Florence by a group of radical young architects in 1966, SUPERSTUDIO was at the heart of the architectural and design avant garde until its dissolution in the late 1970s. Through photo-collages, films and exhibitions, it critiqued the modernist doctrines that had dominated 20th century design thinking.
“In the beginning we designed objects for production, designs to be turned into wood and steel, glass and brick or plastic – then we produced neutral and usable designs, then finally negative utopias, forewarning images of the horrors which architecture was laying in store for us with its scientific methods for the perpetuation of existing models.” This was how Superstudio described its work in a catalogue the group produced to accompany the 1973 exhibition Fragments From A Personal Museum at the Neue Galerie in Graz, Austria.
Superstudio was then at the fulcrum of avant garde thinking in architecture and design. Ever since it first surfaced in 1966 at the Superarchitecture exhibition in the Italian town of Pistoia, Superstudio had been among the most vociferous of the radical design groups which were challenging the modernist orthodoxies that had dominated architectural thinking for decades.
By questioning architecture’s ability to change the world for the better and the boundless faith in technology expressed by earlier, more optimistic groups such as Archigram in the UK, Superstudio raised issues which have preoccupied successive generations of architects and designers from Studio Alchymia in late 1970s Italy and to the Memphis collective in the mid-1980s, to contemporary figures like Rem Koolhaas and Foreign Office Architects.
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