Kama Sex and Design

Kama_VaginaWall-thumb-620x411-52036My new article for Cool Hunting.

The products of design are often objects of desire, but to what extent can this drive be pushed? The exhibition “Kama Sex and Design” ventures an answer to that weighty question with an analysis of the visual representation of sexual motifs. The starting point is Kama, the Indian god of sexual pleasure, who welcomes visitors into the exhibition space at the Triennale in Milan. The route runs between contemporary objects, classic design, site-specific installations and photographs.

Curator Silvana Annicchiarico tells us that the show “aims to be an exhibition on objects which have the genitals and sexual organs as morphological matrix, but also on the body that maintains sexual relations with other bodies. It is an exhibition that investigates how sex is present in everyday objects.” To achieve this goal, the exhibition is divided into eight sections: Archetypes, Priapus, Origin du Monde, Breasts, Buttocks, Orifices, Couplings and Erotic Food Design, and is accompanied by an ambitious central installation entitled “Anatomical Atlas of the Erotic Refined Body.” Among Etruscan sculptures, Greek vases and Roman artifacts we find very well known works like the Mae West sofa by Salvador Dalí, as well as provocative pieces such as “The Great Wall of Vagina” by Jamie McCartney, a relief of 400 plaster casts of female genitalia.

The exploration begins with a room by Andrea Branzi, in which the relationships between classical and modern, and sex and death, are made explicit through skulls and reproductions of classical female nudes. It continues with a black monolith by Lapo Lani, located in a dark space covered with obscene writing viewed by flashlights.

In another room Nendo‘s “Shivering Bowls” resembling female breasts move as their name suggests, moving in an unexpectedly poetic manner with a constant flow of air. The softness of Nendo’s work contrasts with the hard marble and metals in Betony Vernon‘s installation where mysterious objects of the body (and a provocatively phallic marble chair) are presented in a red space reminiscent of an elegant brothel.

Other designers and artists whose work is on display include Nacho CarbonellNigel CoatesMatali CrassetItalo RotaPiero Fornasetti, Ettore Sottsass, Gaetano Pesce. “Kama Sex and Design” runs through 10 March 2013 and is prohibited for persons under 18 years.

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Serie e Fuori Serie Design Exhibit

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My new article from Coolhunting.com

The Triennale Design Museum in Milan is a dynamic museum, conceived to be renewed with different themes and offering visitors unusual views, standpoints and trails. After answering the question “what is Italian design?” with the exhibit “The Seven Obsessions Of Italian Design,” the museum’s new show, “Serie e Fuori Serie,” presents a new look at Italian design that focuses on the cycles of design.

Directed by Silvana Annichiarico and under the scientific direction of Andrea Branzi, this year’s interpretation illustrates the contemporary scene of Italian design, looking at experimental research to get to mass markets, using handicraft materials as well as sophisticated technology and how start-up companies get to the big global corporations. The name, Serie e Fuori Serie, stands for the extremes of the loop in which the most advanced, independent experimentation and research fuels industrial production and vice-versa. The latter cycle includes the custom-built prototype or the one-off piece.

Divided into broad theme areas, large mass productions, small mass productions and experimental and research design (eco-design, research prototypes, technological research, expressive research, superior craftsmanship, special pieces and custom-built pieces), the installation makes the concept clear with every detail perfectly underlined, thanks to the work of Antonio Citterio and Partners and the graphics by Studio FM.

The result is an impressive collection of big and small pieces, from the Alessi nutcracker to a very rare Ferrari prototype.