A pupil of the painter Fortunato Depero, Luciano Baldessari (Rovereto 1896 - Milan 1982) arrived in Milan in 1919, where he attended courses at the Brera Academy and at the Polytechnic.
After a brief stay in Berlin he returned to Italy and designed the national silk exhibition at Villa Olmi, Como. He opened a studio in Milan in 1928 and worked with Gio Ponti on the International Exhibition held in Barcelona in 1929 and on the Italcima works in Milan. These were the first projects in what was to be an extremely active professional career as an architect, rounded out by work as a scenographer, designer and creative director of exhibitions for a large number of clients in Lombardy, among whom Carlo De Angeli Frua stands out. The Craja bar, together with Figini, Pollini, Nizzoli and Melotti, and the Vesta pavilions at the Milan Exhibition centre and those of the Stampa at the Triennal exhibition are among some of the most interesting works of the Italian Rationalist movement. He later moved to New York for political reasons. When he came back to Italy, from 1951 onwards, he designed pavilions for Breda at the Milan International Fair. 1951 was the year that the Breda group, under its specially-nominated supervisor Pietro Sette, began to emerge from its severe crisis thanks to a complete reorganisation. The pavilions at the Milan Fair were a symbol of the company’s successful re-launch, achieved by unbundling its activities into several smaller, independent companies. Considered by critics and historians as examples of “Geometrical Baroque”, “aniconic, abstract erections that seek to attract visitors’ attention by their formal presence”, the Breda pavilions, as well as redefining the corporate image of the Sesto San Giovanni-based company, also represented the finished product of a “theatre” whose scene could be set anew by its scenographer time after time using “plastic-formal architecture” techniques, where the architect can express the full force of those elements of “innovative tension” present in the lyrics of construction. Together with a team of architects and engineers (Grisotti, Gosso e Dal Monte), as well as artists (Fontana, Milani, Rossi), he had invited to collaborate on the project, Baldessari coordinated the realisation of exceptional works that stand out in the array of temporary structures built at the Milan Fair during the 1950s. Through the careful study of many previously unpublished documents and pictures this book ably follows the dual thread of the artistic career of the architect, and the history of the company that commissioned the work, to reconstruct the fascinating story of the pavilions built for Breda at the Milan Fair after the Second World War.