Sergio Rossi FW 2016/2017

“My shoes are Rossi, Sergio Rossi”. Here’s what we could be saying next winter.

The FW 2016/2017 collection designed by Angelo Ruggeri is almost completely black and clearly inspired by secret agents, spies, soldiers and trekkers.

This is going to be the perfect line of accessories for a charming man in need to go to an exclusive party, run away, fight, catch an helicopter jumping from the terrace, climb a mountain, kill the evil guy and then lay in front of a fireplace.

Maybe this is not daily life, but for many a daily dream.

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Making Louboutin

A few months ago I was in Naples for a rare occasion to visit one of the factories that make men’s shoes for Christian Louboutin. I love to witness the making of things, in particular when it comes to handmade stuff.

In the past few days the official Louboutin Homme Instagram account is showcasing some of the pics I took at the factory. Seeing those wise hands at work, in the act of transforming those precious materials into pure beauty, makes me live once again those wonderful days. And understand why #CLLovesNapoli.

If this is not enough and you want to read the full story I wrote for Cool Hunting, just follow this link.

FULL of nice stuff

In questo momento, FULL è sicuramente il più interessante negozio di abbigliamento maschile a Milano. Ricerca, prezzi accessibili, molti marchi nordici, qualche bestseller (ma in edizione limitata), rarità varie: questi gli ingredienti del bellissimo mix di marchi che Luca e Eugenio (con la direzione creativa di Simone) hanno scovato in giro per il mondo. Un luogo piccolo piccolo da cercare, da trovare, da scoprire, in cui passare un po’ di tempo a provare, curiosare con calma.

Emozionare e convincere, ad arte

foto arteficiDa anni la Fondazione Cologni si dedica con esemplare tenacia alla salvaguardia e alla promozione dei mestieri d’arte, elemento fondamentale di tutto quello che definiamo come Made in Italy. Tra le diverse attività dell’associazione, una delle più interessanti è la realizzazione di libri e studi di settore.

Il più recente è “Artefici di bellezza. Mestieri d’arte nella moda italiana“, a cura di Paolo Colombo con Alberto Cavalli e Emanuela Mora. Si tratta una ricerca che la fondazione ha commissionato al Centro di Ricerca “Arti e Mestieri”  e a Modacult, entrambi parte dell’Università Cattolica di Milano. Si tratta di un interessante e completo regesto del significato, della diffusione e della varietà dei mestieri d’arte che tanto contribuiscono alla definizione e alla sostanza della moda italiana.

La qualità e le qualità del fatto ad arte, del fatto in Italia, emergono come i due elementi portanti di uno stile legato al sapere e al saper fare. Le mani artigiane sanno fare bene e fanno stare bene, realizzano oggetti e lavorazioni meravigliosamente belle, capaci di sorprendere ma non solo: la questione fondamentale sta nel fatto che questi manufatti sono “intelligenti”. Ed è questa chiave “smart” che rende una borsa più avanzata di uno smartphone, un abito più multitasking di un paio di smart glasses, un accessorio più utile di un qualsiasi smart watch.

L’artigiano è dunque un artista ma anche un ingegnere, un operaio ma anche un designer, un creatore ma anche un meccanico. Il maestro d’arte – come scrive Alberto Cavalli – incarna il meglio della millenaria tradizione italiana attraverso la capacità di emozionare e di convincere. Senza entrambi questi elementi, il futuro dell’italianità, in qualsiasi sua forma di espressione, è seriamente in pericolo.

Milan in B&W

In questi giorni la luce a Milano è magnifica…

Gli indignati e i silenziosi

pradadg.001-219 luglio 2013: i negozi milanesi di Dolce&Gabbana chiusi per indignazione.

20 luglio 2013: apre il nuovo negozio di Prada in Galleria Vittorio Emanuele.

In due soli giorni si sono visti due eventi molto diversi, difficilmente paragonabili, geograficamente vicini, ma che hanno espresso due stili distanti, due approcci forti e opposti nel concepire il rapporto tra moda e città, tra stilisti e Comune di Milano. Si è vista la differenza tra chi grida e chi sussurra, tra chi si scompone e urla per una (brutta, bruttissima) frase fuori posto e tra chi cerca accordi e fa qualcosa di vero e duraturo per la città. Se da una parte c’è chi inizia un percorso di lungo termine, che proseguirà nel progetto di creare spazi inclusivi e gratuiti per Milano (la Fondazione Prada), dall’altra c’è chi è solito comprare edifici per trasformarli in spazi privati, aperti su invito solo in occasione di feste esclusive (il Metropol).

Icona di questa vicenda saranno le immagini scattate da giornalisti e turisti, ma anche le due pagine uscite lo stesso giorno su La Repubblica: quelle di Prada che raccontano di un progetto snob e celebrativo, quelle di Dolce&Gabbana in cui si racconta (con un tono da melodramma e un’impaginazione approssimativa) il perché dello stato d’animo piccato, con tanto di intervento degli avvocati.

Entrambi i marchi cercano il profitto facendo cose belle: questo è il loro lavoro. Ma con una visione dell’impresa e dello stile diametralmente opposte. Che si esprimono non solo in scarpe e accessori, ma anche nel modo di comunicare e di mettersi in relazione con clienti e istituzioni.

Torre David / Gran Horizonte

My new article for Cool Hunting

Torre David is an abandoned 45-story skyscraper located in Caracas, Venezuela. After the death of the developer in 1993 and the collapse of the Venezuelan economy a year later, the office tower was almost complete, but the construction was suddenly and inexorably interrupted. Today Torre David is a real vertical slum occupied by a community of more than 750 families. The residents of the tower have spontaneously created a sort of city within a city with areas for sports, leisure, worship and meetings—an extra-legal community whose organization has been studied by Alfredo Brillembourg and Hubert Klumpner, along with research and design teams at Urban-Think Tank and ETH Zürich.

The exhibit Torre David / Gran Horizonte is one of the most incredible surprises at this year’sArchitecture Biennale in Venice. It wasn’t by chance that this project was awarded with the Golden Lion for the Best Project of the Common Ground Exhibition, the true core of the Biennale curated by David Chipperfield.

In the Venetian exhibit and in their book Torre David: Informal Vertical Communities (due to release October 2012), Brillembourg and Klumpner analyze this reality and other similar informal settlements, coming up with concrete ideas for sustainable interventions aimed to transform and take these places back to the urban landscape.

The center of the exhibition is far from a didactic space. The fully functioning arepa restaurant, Gran Horizonte, acts as a traditional place to eat and create community, like those created by the inhabitants of Torre David. The exhibit also displays some breathtaking pictures by Iwan Baan that describe the thin line between everyday life and this one-of-a-kind situation, where despair and beauty coexist in every shot. The Common Ground Exhibition runs through 25 November 2012 at La Biennale.

Image courtesy of the U-TT Archives and Daniel Schwartz.

La Rinascente Design Supermarket

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My new article from Coolhunting.com

The Design Supermarket, a new floor entirely devoted to design in its multiple expressions, debuted recently as part of Milanese shopping icon La Rinascente’s ongoing renovation. Over the past four years, international architects and designers such as Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands, Cibic & Partners, Dordoni Architetti, Vincent Van Duysen and Future Systems, have been transforming the seven-floor department store with the basement-level design shop as the latest facet of its reinvented identity.

Directly linked to the nearby Duomo metro station, the new space houses a wide range of products from microelectronics to lighting, technological gadgets to office accessories and kitchen and tableware to small pieces of furniture. Starting with objects for just a few Euro to several hundreds, the range of prices makes the store the perfect place for both a little souvenir and important gifts.

Claudio Silvestrin Giuliana Salmaso Architects designed the 2,000 square-meter space, which creates the contemporary equivalent of a city square. The perimeter hosts various shops within the shop, including Alessi, Conran Shop, Kartell, Georg Jensen, Tumi, Samsonite and Nespresso, while long white stands run along the center. The display closely recalls a museum, with hundreds of objects from more than 200 different brands.

Overall, the boutique feels airy and bright, inviting browsers to touch and experiment with all the objects, like in a real supermarket. In the center of the floor, a colorful and cozy cafeteria designed by Martino Berghinz stands in contrast with the rest of the space, lending a bold splash of purple and dark grey with furnishing and fifties-inspired graphics.

Alex Pinna: Big Pinocchio

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My new article from Coolhunting.com

If Sardinia’s beautiful seashores aren’t alluring enough, the little town of Tortolì is hosting Alex Pinna‘s giant sculpture, “Big Pinocchio.”

At over 50 feet long, the huge iron Pinocchio—painted white and lying on his side—is a new landmark for the Italian town. A permanent addition to the Parco delle Sculture del Museo Su Logu, Pinna’s Big Pinocchio is a grand accompaniment to a retrospective of his work, curated by Vittoria Cohen.

The exhibition displays the artist’s ability to create lightweight, imaginary characters—like the tenacious men made out of rope, his bronze shadow-like figures or ceramic half moons which hide mysterious bodies.

“Fun and irony are always the protagonists of Alex Pinna’s work,” writes Cohen in her introduction to the exhibit. “And this gigantic Pinocchio lands to the Sculpture Park with the usual aplomb that the artist is able to infuse.”

Founded in 1995 thanks to the initiative of director Edoardo Manzoni, Su Logu displays works of art by Maria Lai, Mauro Staccioli, Umberto Mariani, Massimo Kaufmann, Hidetoshi Nagasawa, Alfredo Pirri and many more.

Wozzup Mutazionidinterni Design

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My new article from Coolhunting.com

In Milan it’s unusual to find “non-Milanese” design, meaning design that’s not linear, clean or somehow a reinterpretation of classic pieces and brands. Decidedly untraditional, Wozzup Mutazionidinterni is the refreshing exception to this rule.

Former set designer Luca Porcelli and Maurizio Duranti, an ex-graphic designer, founded Wozzup in 2007. They work and exhibit their furniture, paintings and objects in the neighborhood of Porta Venezia. Not easy to define, their style incorporates elements from traditional pieces and graffiti, silk and leather, wood and steel, manga and baroque. Is it Grandeur Pop? Or maybe Rococo Comics?

CH met the two designers in their Milan store to get a handle on the sources of their inspiration and the origins of their unconventional approach.

How was Wozzup born?
We come from the worlds of theater and communication and we had the idea of doing something that could help us to freely express our creativity while having fun. The objects and the furniture we have in our showroom are our “business cards.” These pieces of furniture and decoration are conceived for the elite, since we use precious materials (from rare woods to leathers and fur), which come from all over Italy.

The majority of our products are made-to-measure and one of a kind. Usually the customers come to us, fall in love with a piece, which is then made brand new for them, with colors, materials, processes and finishing in harmony with their own space. Everything is fine-tuned on the needs and taste of our client.

Why do your products look so differnt from the average Milanese style?
We don’t care about following the main trends or styles in design. In Milan it seems there’s only Armani or Ikea, too linear and essentially similar. Even kitsch here in Italy is not interesting, since it’s too heavy and vulgar and often is industrial production. For us it’s different. If we like a project, we put it together—even if it takes weeks of working, even if we know it’s going to be very hard to sell it. For this reason it’s impossible for our designs to be mass-produced.

As a result our taste is unique. It can be defined as kitsch or baroque, but essentially it’s a splash of energy into your home. Everything here is handmade and unrepeatable.

Do you guys work directly on your objects?
We design and produce here. We have a big laboratory in the basement, where we make most parts of the work. Of course we have a network of carpenters, blacksmiths, tanners, weavers. The raw pieces and materials are delivered here and we modify and finalize the projects. In this way we are also able to guarantee the highest quality.

Have you ever worked on entire houses or apartments?
We mostly work on small areas of a space, but we also put together entire rooms. Recently we have designed and furnished a teenager’s room. His passions are swords and he has a small collection of toy rifles. The leitmotif is steel, with which we have made the prison-like door, a closet with a handle in the shape of a sword and a panel with the rifles. Since he wanted to add a street style touch, a small TV table has been painted with a ’80s style portable stereo.

In general, if our clients have clear ideas, we are pleased to develop them together, otherwise we feel free to suggest and give directions. We don’t want to play the part of those architects and interior decorators that impose their vision. If the clients want something we don’t really like, we do it anyway. If they are satisfied with their choice, we are happy too.

Where do you take your inspiration?
Our inspirations are quite diverse, including movies like “The Forbidden City,” natural elements, ad campaigns, TV series, circuses, comics and music. Life itself is our inspiration. Even if Wozzup is rare and unique, the starting point is always daily life. This is the reason why each one of our products has a name, tells a story or recalls a memory.

We never forget that our objects have to be used and experienced. When asked to make chairs for the kitchen we avoid using real leather, since it would be difficult to keep it clean. It’s not only about style, but also practicality.

Of course, we are always attracted by the hidden details, like the closets with the back side covered with studded leather. It can be a secret, but in this way a cabinet could become another wall in the room. We also have other pieces of furniture, which are pink and mirrored on the outside and covered with a precious red leather on the inside.

Surprise, narration, fun—could we say these are the keywords for Wozzup?
Everything people buy for their homes is not only for self-satisfaction, but also for friends. We love the idea of our designs being told and described by those who saw, wanted, co-created and bought them. As an example, we have found a very rare transparent snakeskin. The production process is very difficult and now forbidden as it’s very dangerous for the tanners. That’s real piton skin, but if you do not tell the entire story it can be considered cheap and banal since it can look like plastic.

Who’s your typical client?
There’s not an average customer in our store. We sold to a young couple who saved money to buy a Lady Oscar painting, to VIPs, to millionaires and to old Milanese women. We’ve been surprised by the amount of over-60 clients. We started addressing to a young clientele, but we have made many projects for the elderly and probably the craziest ones. We don’t have to forget that Milan is the least conservative city in Italy, which is still a conservative Country—in particular when it comes to design and interior decoration. Considering this context, we have been really surprised by the requests of seniors, in particular by those of women.

Check out Wozzup Mutazionidinterni’site for more information on products and ordering.