La casa touch

Oggi si parla tanto di touch, ma poco di soft. La mostra La Casa Morbida, voluta da Foscarini e curata da Beppe Finessi, colma questa lacuna.

Il luogo scelto e il tema della mostra creano un’accoppiata più unica che rara. Il Museo Poldi Pezzoli è prima di tutto una casa, ma anche un luogo di collezione ed esposizione di tessuti preziosi e rari. Gran parte dell’esperienza sta nell’attraversare gli austeri luoghi del museo con le sue durezze (marmi, bronzi, stucchi, armature, legno, vetro) e vederli riempiti di mobili imbottiti, tappeti, ricami, lane. Scovando i pezzi della mostra tra i pezzi della collezione si scopre che la scelta è curata all’ossessione, tra oggetti unici o quasi (come il sorprendente “Tappeto Volante” di Ettore Sottsass) e oggetti visti mille volte (ad esempio i “Feltri” di Gaetano Pesce per Cassina), tra essenzialità grafica (il tappeto “Untitled” di Rosemarie Trockel) e iperboli kitsch (la “Piesces Chair” di Carla Tolomeo).

La Casa Morbida di Foscarini non è una smart home: è un abbraccio da abitare. In un’epoca in cui tutti tocchiamo da mattina a sera freddi monitor di vetro, avere a che fare con un tocco caldo e soffice apre il cuore e la mente. Si torna piccoli inventori, si scoprono esperimenti di ogni sorta, si ammirano lavorazioni magistrali, si resta sorpresi dalla semplicità di alcune idee, ci si scopre a violare il “non toccare” che vige nei musei più tradizionali.

La mostra è aperta a Milano, in via Manzoni 12, fino al 5 maggio.

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.

Paolo Ulian for Le Fablier

My new article from Cool Hunting

Italy’s Le Fablier, known for its impeccably-crafted classic wood furniture, in recent years has worked with a host of innovative designers to show how traditional style can translate in the future. In 2010 they collaborated with Gaetano Pesce on a series of architectural sculptures and now they’ve tapped Paolo Ulian to demonstrate his talents using marble.

A natural fit for the project, Ulian was born in the Tuscan town of Carrara, the capital of sculptural white marble. Deciding to use medium quality marble, he explains, “I think it’s even better than what’s considered to be the first choice: it’s more robust and humble, perfect for my projects.”

Ulian’s limited collection consists of bookshelves and tables, all of which were designed and produced in order to minimize or totally eliminate waste. “Marble is a sacred material, it will not last forever, so I have a deep respect for this material,” he told us. Sustainability and irony are present in the entire line, but a real standout, the “Numerica” bookcase, subtly reproduces Roman numerals in standard marble tiles.