The Ideal Collector
With its unique focus on modern and contemporary design, the 2017 edition of Object confirms once again its commitment to the exploration of inspiring collectable design and its expanded field. Curated by Domitilla Dardi, who serves also as Design Curator at MAXXIMuseum in Rome, the section will see the participation of fourteen galleries: Luciano Colantonio, Brescia; Galleria Rossella Colombari, Milan; Colleoni Arte, Bergamo; Luisa Delle Piane, Milan; Dimoregallery, Milan; Erastudio Apartment-Gallery, Milan; Giustini Stagetti Galleria O. Rome, Rome; Matter of Stuff, London; Nero, Arezzo; Nilufar, Milan; Paradisoterrestre, Bologna; Christine Park, London; Subalterno1, Milan; and Antonella Villanova, Florence.
Portrait of Domitilla Dardi
“The chosen theme for this year,” commented Dardi, “is that of the ‘Ideal Collector,’ and it aims to emphasise the fundamental role of the collectors, whom choices animate the gallery owners and motivate designers. Indeed, within the realm of limited edition design, the figure of the collector is never a passive subject, rather a proactive one throughout the conception and development of the collections. The selected galleries have all responded enthusiastically and in a timely manner to the suggestions stemmed out of the curatorial framework. Some of them will focus on raw materials, whether traditional or experimental, such as curved wood, presented by Luisa Delle Piane through a selection of pieces made by Josef Hoffmann and Giacomo Moor; acrylic plastic, again presented by Luisa Delle Piane via the works of Andrea Anastasio; ceramics, through the extraordinary Korean author Yikyung Kim for Christine Park, and Bruno Gambone for Rossella Colombari; the soft and textile materials displayed by Colleoni Gallery; the most unusual mixes of materials, often used by Massimiliano Adami and Carlo Contin for Subalterno 1; and black Carrara marble for the new collections of Matter of Stuff. Others, instead, have decided to focus on a specific type, in order to highlight the concept of an organic collection (as Luciano Colantonio with his selection of mirrors, and Antonella Villanova with its signature contemporary jewellery). Finally, there will be those who have chosen to orchestrate an interior to give the visitor the feeling of being in a collector’s house: Nilufar with a laden table (arranged by Roberto Baciocchi); Erastudio with a new display of Nanda Vigo; Dimoregallery with a mix of the past and present (their signature!); Giustini/Stagetti with their ongoing project “Roman Private Interior”; Artificial Paradise with their 1950s’ style room by Melchiorre Bega inhabited by contemporary pieces; and Nero with new designs by Duccio Maria Gambi.”
Subalterno1, Installation view at miart, Milan, 2016. Photo: Federico Villa
Among the galleries who will re-iterate their participation in Object, we have asked Britt Moran and Emiliano Salci (Dimore Studio) from Dimoregallery, Nina Yashar from Nilufar, and Luisa Delle Piane to tell us about their experience last year and how they see the relationship between collectable design and art.
Moran and Salci recall that it was “an extraordinary opportunity in terms of visibility” and a precious occasion wherein the worlds of art and design could meet. Indeed, “miart is the first art fair in Italy that has opened its doors to the world of design, and Milan is increasingly an international city, precisely because of events such miart. The two worlds of art and design are increasingly closer, with evident mutual incursions, so that miart becomes an important moment of exchange and contamination between the two.”
Yashar comment that her experience at Object was “very positive. I saw a great attention to and interest in contemporary design. Miart is a platform which provides its public with a very attentive approach towards culture as well as a great care for research and experimentation, wisely unfolded. I think that the combination of collectable design and art is a very fertile realm and with remarkable potential, whose many outlets are yet to be explored. Also, it is an ideal situation, since art collectors are increasingly showing great attention to the purchase of limited edition design pieces in limited editions for their homes.”
Finally, confirming the participation of her gallery at miart for the fourth year in a row, Luisa Delle Piane told us that her reasons include “the visibility that miart is championing to give to design galleries, by addressing not only a specialised audience such as in the case of the Salone del Mobile but also by opening up the possibility to discover and interest art collectors in general as well as those curious. Indeed, at least in Italy, only the hybrid platform of miart works on making people understand that the worlds of art and design are not that far away. Until now, the concept of collectable design is not well framed yet, contrary to the one of art; however, thanks to miart, I think that it is possible to begin to define a direction in raising the awareness of the public towards another form of creativity, such that of design.”
Giorgio Griffa, Euridice, CEDIT Collection
One of the most important novelties of the upcoming edition of this section is definitely the “CEDIT for Object” Prize, which will be awarded by a jury composed of Silvana Annicchiarico, Director, Triennale Design Museum, Milan; Deyan Sudjic OBE, Director, Design Museum, London; and Stefano Torrenti, CEO Florim Ceramiche S.p.a., Modena; to a design piece realised by an emergent Italian designer. The work will be then donated to the permanent collection of the Triennale Design Museum in Milan. As Dardi affirms, “this choice emphasises the fact that miart is a place where both the market and culture find their expression and making of. Therefore, this acquisition, which is made possible by an inspired sponsorship and will be allocated in the most important public collection of Italian design, becomes the natural conclusion of a process driven in the first instance by research.”
CEDIT – Ceramiche d’Italia is the brand of Florim group that summarises the dialogue between art, design and Italian style. On the strength of its history—which since the 1950s saw the collaboration of the company with prestigious authors such as Marco Zanuso, Ettore Sottsass, Enzo Mari, Alessandro Mendini, Sergio Asti, Achille and Pier Giacomo Castiglioni, Emilio Scanavino, Mimmo Rotella, and Gino Marotta—, the brand enthusiastically pursues this commitment and thus, through “CEDIT for Object” Prize at miart, wants to support Italian art and design.
Asked about the role of CEDIT in sustaining miart as well as about the relation between industry and creativity, Stefano Torrenti told us that “through the CEDIT – Ceramiche d’Italia brand, Florim supports initiatives aimed at promoting the link of artists and designers with the industry, and at encouraging Italian creativity and talent. In addition to this, the company has the wider ambition to bring the results of these collaborations to anyone who has a personal passion for beauty, which is the reason why the winning piece of the ‘CEDIT for Object’ Prize will enter the permanent collection of the Triennale Design Museum, and not a private collection. On a wider level, it is well-known that for more than fifty years industry and creativity have worked together and the results of this collaboration are our contemporary icons. Since the 1950s, CEDIT has been one of the protagonists in the nurture of that reciprocity, for it was able to explore new modes of expression by offering the manufacturing technologies of the time to the Italian masters of art and design. I strongly believe that if industry lacks creativity, its products will likewise be poor in terms of aesthetic quality. Indeed, when creativity is constantly challenged and properly managed, it constitutes a step forward in competitivity and, consequently, the bedrock for the company to survive in the long run.”
Under 35. Italian Design, Installation view, New Delhi, February 16 – 19, 2017. Courtesy of Triennale Design Museum. Photo: Maria Pina Poledda
But the “CEDIT for Object” Prize is part of a more complex and important collaboration between art and design, private companies and public institutions. Glad to be one of the jurors of the prize, Silvana Annicchiarico highlights that “for years, the Triennale Design Museum has been engaged in the promotion and development of design in Italy and in the world with a particular attention to the younger generation,” as demonstrated, for example, by Under 35. Italian Design, the recent exhibition curated by Annicchiarico and travelling to Buenos Aires and later in New Delhi. “The ‘CEDIT for Object’ Prize represents a confirmation and strengthening of this process. Certainly, when looking at the works realised by younger generations, it is necessary to apply different parameters. The Italian contemporary design is indeed part of a new cultural and economic paradigm: today, the profession of the designer has become massified and the products have generally turned into processes than into objects per se—a trend which is responsive to the increasing need to communicate, to do networking. This new approach bears witness to the obsolescence of the old myths (the mass production, functionalism, superiority of high technologies), in favour of a more temporary universe, reversible and ironic, able to communicate with our time and with its elusive demands. Hence, I think that the relation between design and art is increasingly close and necessary.”
miart is a context which brings them together and, according to Annicchiarico, it also “helps to find a possible balance between prototypicality and seriality, industry and handicrafts. Within the realm of design, there is a congenital, democratic utopia, i.e. the definitive end of the idea of the aura when the dialectic between a single masterpiece and its editions is put to work. These categories coexist and nourish each other; they find themselves in a paradoxical symbiosis, inasmuch as the series absorbs insights and ideas from the experimental prototype, while at the same time it returns to the same prototype the former’s well-tested methods of production. Here, the design plays an additional role: indeed, I don’t think of design as a mere tool for global processes of problem-solving; rather, I think it represents the most advanced outpost of contemporary art, as I tried to demonstrate through the exhibitions O’Clock (2011), Independent Design Secession (2011) and KAMA (2013). To me, the presence of design within an art fair such as miart seems an inevitable step, definitely enriching for both disciplines and stimulating for the public.”