Adelaide Acerbi graduated in stage design from the Brera Academy and was responsible for Driade communication right from the beginning. She supervised its artistic direction, graphic design and visual merchandising and produced its furnishing manuals, books and packaging- an intensive corporate identity project that won Driade the Compass d’Oro in 1981 for its coordinated image.
Thinking of Adelaide Acerbi Astori, a single phrase comes to mind: an exceptional woman. Her deeply rooted artistic and musical culture was so intimately connected to her way of being that it shone through in her every observation and action. this, alongside the skill with which she executed her projects, and the determination with which she pursue her intuition, doubtlessly constituted the fundamental values in the professionalism and life of this grande dame of Italian design.
Adelaide Acerbi And Driade
A graduated in stage design from the Brera Academy with a thesis on Bruno Munari, Adelaide was already at the side of her husband, Enrico Astori, and his sister, Antonia when Driade was founded in 1968. Although still very young, she at once surrounded herself with persons of great talent in order to create and promote the company’s image. With photographers, architects, designers and even sociologists and critics, she established the kind of dialogue that is so important for the success of any great project.
Her capacity to listen to and collaborate with famous Italian and international design exponents resulted in the organization of significant exhibitions, including the presentation of Philippe Starck at the Milan Triennale in 1985, and the celebration of Driade’s 40th anniversary in 2008 at the state Museum of Applied Art and Design in Munich.
One of her remarkable project was called “ A tavola con” for Christmas display at the dadriade store on Via Manzoni in Milan. Large tables were set with plates, glasses and cutlery, each setting made by a different designer or artist, with decorations that were specially conceived by Adelaide Acerbi, adding just the right kind of excitement that corresponded to the specific expressive facets of each design element.
Adelaide Astori’s flair as an art director is reflected in the rich collection of publications that she edited: books for Electra by De Fusco, Romanelli and Chigiotti; a volume for Skira by Fulvio Irace; books on Krizia and Missoni; the so-called Manuali dell’Arredamento home furnishing manuals published in the 80’s; the monographic magazine D.E in the 90’s, and many publications for and about Driade.
As Enrico Astori recently said, Adelaide always had the gift of being able to enliven Driade’s “soul”, in the sense that only she knew how to interpret and reveal the ethical and aesthetic ideas underlying the decisions made by Enrico and Antonietta.
She deftly made her vitality and personality radiate into all her initiatives, indefatigably fusing together work and private life, the company’s public image and her highly events and refined dinners on the terrace of her splendid house, where one could encounter the most fascinating people from all over the world.
Together with Enrico, Adelaide travelled extensively, to understand and capture emerging new trends in countries that were charged with èlan vital and exciting energy: India, China, Eastern Europe and classic capitals such as Paris, London and New York, always searching for talents to discover and inspiration to absorb. Upon her return, it would be her task to create a coherent and coordinated image from the new visions and criteria for beautiful design that she had encountered. she succeeded in expressing the depth of their content and the meaning of Driade’s innovations in an incisive way.
Her passion for art often led Adelaide to work for museums. Among them, the Bagatti Valsecchi and Villa Belgiojoso Bonaparte museums of Milan and the Bernaraggi Museum Bergamo. She designed their logos and directed their public image, all with utmost application. Also the exhibitions, displays, books, catalogues, collaborations, parties and presentations at the Via Manzoni store spoke the language of an ideal that was always the same, yet always different: that of a perfect connection, mediated by beauty between the design of living surroundings and the evolution of the times and society. In this sense, beauty includes an educational factors as a road that can widen our consciousness and bring many people to converge around a dream, a sublime keenness that is meant to be shared and built together.
On an empty day in July, Adelaide Acerbi passed away, leaving us stunned and upset. Many in the international design community admired the extraordinary humanity and èlan that not only accompanied her determined, patient and sophisticated work in the design field, but also sustained her in her long table against ill health.