Paola Antonelli - Personality of the Year 2021

Paola Antonelli

Personality of the Year 2021

In her many years as a curator and author, Paola Antonelli has impressively demonstrated the extent to which design influences the development of culture and society, as well as how strongly it shapes our living environment. At the same time, her work raises awareness of taking a responsible approach to design in terms of people and nature; not only for designers, but also for all those who buy products and integrate them into their everyday lives.


Paola Antonelli was born in 1963 in Sardinia and studied architecture at the Polytechnic in Milan. Before becoming a curator at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York in 1994, she taught design theory and history at the University of California in L.A. In 2007, she became senior curator for the areas of design and architecture at MoMA. As senior curator at MoMA, she caused a sensation virtually from the very beginning, with exhibitions such as »Thresholds: Contemporary Design from the Netherlands« (1996), »Humble Masterpieces« (2004) or »Design and the Elastic Mind« (2008), which staged everyday products as if they were exhibits in a museum. As curator of the recent XXII Triennale di Milano, which drew attention to the need for sustainable design under the title of »Broken Nature«, Antonelli demonstrated how design is important more than ever today.


Whether as a curator, editor or author, Paola Antonelli's work to date has made an extraordinary contribution when it comes to ensuring that broader swathes of the public perceive design much more as a diverse cultural asset – and thus as part of an individual and societal identity – instead of reducing it only to aesthetics and function.


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