Abet Laminati , a global leader in today's decorative laminates industry, began another chapter in its corporate history last month with the opening of its first-ever museum. Abet, based in the small town of Bra just outside Milan, has worked with distinguished designers such as Karim Rashid, Ettore Sottsass, Giulio Iacchetti and Francois Brukhardt to transform their concepts into realities.
The museum, designed by the architect Matteo Scalise, spans approximately 6,500 square feet and is located in the heart of Abet: directly above the first press in their primary production facility. Half a century of stories and collaborations are retold through 137 pieces of furniture, objects and accessories contained in two rooms: one dedicated to Cesara Mazzola, president of the company until 2011, and the other to Abet’s founder, Enrico Garbarino.
The displays are organized chronologically, taking the visitor on a historical tour of the application of laminates in design. Visitors can easily see how the results of the dialogue between manufacturer and designer evolve over time. As the tour progresses, the objects become wilder and the designs more imaginative and intricate. The adaptability of Abet’s products begs the question of what contemporary design would be like without the company's contribution.
In addition to the 137 items on display, other aspects of the museum demonstrate the versatility of laminates, a direct result of Abet’s dedication to research, experimentation and adaptation within its expansive manufacturing capabilities. The entry hallway features walls covered in laminates printed with names of the many designers and design firms that have worked with Abet’s products. Furthermore, the pale-blue exterior of the museum and the multicolored bridge that connects the two main galleries are both coated in MEG panels, a self-sustaining, high-pressured decorative laminate suitable for exteriors.
Along with journalists and company executives, several eminent designers—like Clino Trini Castelli, Nathalie du Pasquier, Mauro Olivieri, Marcello Morandini, George Sowden, Theo Williams, and Martine Bedin—made appearances at the museum's inauguration in June. During the tour, designers briefly discussed the concepts behind their showcased designs and the social-cultural context of the time of their creation.
The museum, like the laminates it holds, will continue to evolve and adapt over time to meet the demands of interpretative design. For more information, or a reservation to view the museum and the Abet premises, contact firstname.lastname@example.org .