He worked on a number of prominent projects, including the Groninger Museum in the Netherlands, which opened in 1994, for which he was lead architect. He invited several other architects to design separate pavilions for the museum, resulting in, as one travel website puts it, “a postmodern masterpiece, or a postmodern monstrosity, depending on who you ask.”
His other architectural works include the Ceramics Museum and Exhibition Complex in Incheon, South Korea, and factories in Omegna, Italy, for Alessi, the housewares manufacturer. He designed numerous products for Alessi over the years, among the most famous being the Anna G. corkscrew, a whimsical tool with a feminine shape that he said was inspired by Anna Gili, a friend and fellow designer.
“I remembered as a child when my grandmother would open a bottle of wine at the table it always seemed like a good performance, a kind of ritual ballet: the turning of the head, the arms moving up and down, the sound of the cork popping from the bottle,” he told The Financial Times in 2016. “That’s when I decided on an anthropomorphic object. I made a drawing of a ballerina, a female figure. It was evident, though, that I had subliminally drawn a portrait of Anna.”
The corkscrew came out in 1994 and was a success. It spawned related products, including an Alessandro M. corkscrew — a male version of the Anna — and an Anna pepper mill.
Mr. Mendini designed products for other companies as well, including Swatch and Samsung. He designed a skateboard for the gear and clothing line Supreme.
He also exerted considerable influence on the design world as an editor at several magazines, including Casabella, where he worked for six years beginning in 1970. That put him at the heart of Italy’s so-called radical design movement of the 1960s and ’70s.