Alessandro Mendini was born in Milan. As a child, he lived in a house designed by Piero Portaluppi, hung with captivating paintings by Savinio, Severini, Campigli, Morandi and many other artists who were part of his relatives’ modern-art collection. These visual surroundings were fundamental to his forming. Trained as an architect, his direct influences were Rogers, Nizzoli and Gio Ponti. His interest in theorizing and writing, in addition to drawing, brought him to become the editor-in-chief of a succession of magazines: Casabella (1970-1976), Modo (1977-1981) and Domus (1980-1985; 2010-2011). This work, conducted parallel to his involvement in the studio Alchimia, where he was part of the entire design-adventure, led him to radical design and neo-modern architecture, and toward an approach that is calligraphic, colouristic, symbolic and critical.
Since then, he has created a fairy-tale world of objects, furniture, prototypes, industrial products, paintings, writings, interiors, installations and situations that are often characterized by interdisciplinarity, complexity, controversy, paradox, irony and literature.
He designs for different companies and is an image and design consultant for different manufacturers, including ones in the Far East. He is an honorary member of the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design in Jerusalem; a recipient of the Compasso d’Oro for design in 1979 and 1981; a Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres in France; the holder of an honorary title from the Architectural League in New York; the recipient of an honorary doctorate from the Milan Polytechnic and also from the École Normale Supérieure de Cachan in France; an honorary professor of the Academic Council at the Guangzhou Academy of Fine Arts in China; and an honorary citizen of the city of Gwangju in Korea. His work is found in a number of museums and private collections around the world.
In 1989 he and his brother Francesco Mendini opened the Atelier Mendini in Milan.