My new article for Cool Hunting
From the very beginning of Kartell‘s history plastic and design have been the mantra. Founded by Giulio Castelli, a chemical engineer, the Italian furniture brand is the most influential proponent of plastic industrial design, building a sizable following through quality production processes and design contribution by innovative designers. The homes of the 1960s and ’70s were very keen on accepting this experimentation and thus the company grew rapidly. Even though today Kartell is owned and directed by Claudio Luti, the founding ideals remain the same, making a strong argument for the chemical formula of success.
In order to celebrate this tradition Taschen has recently released a substantial, meticulously curated monograph entitled “Kartell: The Culture of Plastics.” The work of editor Hans Werner Holzwarth, professor of visual communications at the Bauhaus University in Weimar, and Elisa Storace, curator of the Kartell Museum, describes in its 400 pages more than 60 years of activity, nine Compasso D’Oro ADI awards and the colorful design icons created by the likes of Gae Aulenti, Joe Colombo, Philippe Starck, Vico Magistretti, Antonio Citterio, Ron Arad, Piero Lissoni, Ferruccio Laviani, Patricia Urquiola, Marcel Wanders and Tokujin Yoshioka, to name a few.
This self-proclaimed “big book of plastics” is strictly organized in chronological order, leading us through the astonishing shapes and space-age aesthetic of the ’60s, the experimentation of the ’70s, the almost subversive style of the ’80s, the “transparent revolution” of the ’90s and the sensorial approach of the last 10 years. Authors of the book include international design experts, museum directors, philosophers, journalists and artists such as Silvana Annicchiarico, Franca Sozzani, Gillo Dorfles, Deyan Sudjic, Chantal Hamaide, R. Craig Miller, Marie-Laure Jousset, Giovanni Odoni.
Kartell: The Culture of Plastics will be published on 1 March 2013 by Taschen in two editions, the first in Italian, Spanish and Portuguese and the second in English, French and German. The historic accuracy is also guaranteed by an index of each product and award. Find it from Taschen directly or pre-order on Amazon for $40.
My new article from Cool Hunting
In celebration of Italy’s 150th anniversary as a unified country, the marvelous Reggia di Venaria is hosting the exhibition “Fashion in Italy: 150 Years of Elegance” in the recently restored and equally ornate “Italian Versailles,” a few miles outside of Turin.
The long journey through the history of Italian fashion is divided in two parts. The first is curated by Academy Award winning customer designer Gabriella Pescucci and covers the years 1861-1970. The second section was conceived by Vogue Italia’s editor-in-chief Franca Sozzani, which illustrates the birth of Italian prêt-a-porter and the contemporary fashion industry.
The exhibition not only covers the recent history of Italy’s transformation in taste, but it also analyzes the constant change in the social condition of women. The 200 garments on display span Risorgimento to the years of Italian Reign, as well as the Fascist era and World War II, continuing to the birth of a truly national style in the ’50s and the rise of contemporary designers such like Capucci, Albini, Valentino, Armani, Versace, Prada, Dolce&Gabbana.
Most of the historic clothes come from the foundation for the celebrated costume atelier Tirelli Trappetti. Some are original items, meant for daily use or special occasions, while others are famous costumes from classics films like Luchino Viscont’s Il Gattopardo.
Architect Michele De Lucchi handled the overall display and settings, which are based entirely on mirrors. A symbol of vanity, mirrors also allow patrons to enjoy the clothes from every point of view and feel immersed in the the evolution of style.
To further enhance the experience, Laura Tonatto custom designed four different fragrances to underline the spirit of the different eras, used in the different room throughout the exhibit.
Even more images here.