Italy and the BIE

Italy is a historical member of the BIE and has been involved in World Expos ever since they started in 1851 with the Great Exhibition in London. As an active participant and organiser of Expos, Italy was one of the 31 countries that signed the Paris Convention of 1928 that created the BIE. Since then, Italy has participated in most World and Specialised Expos and hosted Expo 1906 Milan, Expo 1953 Rome, Expo 1954 Naples, Expo 1955 and Expo 1961 in Turin, Expo 1992 in Genoa and Expo 2015 in Milan. Since 1933, Italy has also organised 14 editions of the Triennale di Milano under the auspices of the BIE.

The History of La Triennale di Milano

Created in 1933, La Triennale di Milano is the direct child of the Biennale of decorative arts of Monza. It is a major international event dedicated to architecture, design and craftsmanship organised by the Institution that bears the same name. The world's most famous and innovative artists have presented their work there, such as Giorgio de Chirico, Le Corbusier, Frank Lloyd Wright, Picasso and more recently Frank Gehry and Renzo Piano. La Triennale, as it was conceived originally, is held every 3 years, lasts several months and invites all countries of the world to participate. These principles matching the BIE's criteria on International Expos have brought the Triennale into the constellation of BIE Expos as early as 1933. After the exhibition of 1996 however, the nature of the event changed. In 2016, the Triennale di Milano's 21st edition marked the rebirth of the original Triennale concept and of the collaboration of La Triennale di Milano and the BIE.

The Experience

Design spread throughout Milan

While all previous editions of the event took place in the historical building of the Triennale - the Palazzo dell'Arte – the 2016 edition extended to the entire city of Milan in several prestigious venues. Participants had over 22,000 m2 spread throughout Milan and Monza to exhibit their works in a wide variety of settings.

Nineteen different locations, mixing historical venues as well as contemporary art centres, were selected to host the exhibition. These included Villa Reale di Monza, the contemporary Ansaldo Museum of Cultures designed by David Chipperfield, the Hangar Bicocca dedicated to the production, display and promotion of contemporary art, the youth centre for cultural production Fabbrica del Vapore, the 150 year-old Politecnico University, the former site of Expo 2015 Milano, and the Bovisa Campus that houses Europe's major school of design.

Design spread throughout Milan

A wide variety of participants

The second novelty of the XX1T compared to previous editions was the nature of its participants. To increase the scope of the event and generate true variety in terms of exhibits, ideas and stimulating discussions, new actors participated in the Triennale, including cities, regions, universities, firms, design centres, art associations, museums, non profit entities, young groups of designers and more.

In total, over 30 countries participated in XX1 Triennale. Click here to see the list of international participants.

A cross-disciplinary and engaging event

The XX1T consisted of many events on photography, film, new media, architecture, urban planning, ecology, design, fashion, communication, graphic design, art, theatre as well as temporary exhibitions, conferences and lectures. Visitors were able to participate in training courses, workshops, master courses and seminars organised with international training centres, design teams and top-quality manufacturing facilities.

The programme included 23 exhibitions; 11 of which were curated by the Advisory Committee of the XX1T and 12 which were organised in cooperation with external institutions (museums, public authorities, institutions and companies).