Sentirsi nello spazio

Ogni passeggiata per le sale della Royal Academy di Londra è sempre un piacere. Le grandi e spaziose sale del palazzo di Burlington Gardens sono semplici volumi ampi e luminosi, di varie dimensioni, appena decorati con qualche fregio dorato e invasi da luce naturale che piove dai lucernari.

Come accadde qualche anno fa al Guggenheim di New York con Contempalting The Void, oggi la RA propone una riflessione sullo spazio, attraverso il lavoro di una serie di architetti di tutto il mondo a cui è stato assegnato il compito di reinterpretare, o meglio, “reimmaginare” le stanze della gloriosa galleria.

Il risultato è Sensing Spaces: Architecture Reimagined, in mostra fino al 6 aprile. Gli autori di queste nuove letture del senso dello spazio sono un dream team di architetti, ovvero Grafton Architects (Irlanda), Diébédo Francis Kéré (Germania, Burkina Faso), Kengo Kuma (Giappone), Li Xiaodong (Cina), Pezo von Ellrichshausen (Cile), Eduardo Souto de Moura e Álvaro Siza (Portogallo).

Tra gioco e visione, esperienza e pensiero, materiali e profumi, ogni lavoro è pensato appositamente per la Royal Academy. Un percorso talmente bello che fa venire voglia di immaginare una casa perfetta, un luogo straordinario, in cui vivere e interagire con gli altri.

Giada Flagship Opening in Milan

Giadamilan-2-thumb-620x465-66756My new article for Cool Hunting.

Giada is a unique case of Chinese-owned, Italian-designed fashion branding—and so far the only existing case in the world of luxury. The Asian side is invested in by RedStone Haute Couture, and the European anchor rests in Italy and was created by founder and designer Rosanna Daolio. After 13 years working at MaxMara, Daolio chose to establish a design consulting firm based in Milan in 2000, which slowly turned into a high-end womenswear brand. After a few years of activity, Giada was acquired by Yizheng Zhao, a Chinese entrepreneur with years of experience in luxury fashion trading. Expanding quickly, Giada now has 46 stores and is a reference point for low profile but exclusive style all over China.

Giada’s strategy is to express the best of Italian design and manufacturing: Everything is 100% made in Italy—clothing in the northeast and leather goods in Tuscany—with the best Italian fabrics. Cuts are clean and sleek, and Daolio’s research always moves in the direction of an understated “soft power”—an essential rigor. After years of ever-increasing success in China, Giada decided to launch their first ever European store. Tomorrow, 20 September, the flagship store in Milan—located in the prestigious Via Montenapoleone (the equivalent of NYC’s Fifth Avenue or Paris’ Champs-Élysées)—will open to the public.

The space is masterfully designed by architect Claudio Silvestrin, who is known for classic projects like the Armani flagship stores and new spaces like the Oblix restaurant at The Shard in London. Silvestrin’s approach to architecture is in tune with Giada’s view on fashion; it’s all about quality materials and sleek lines. The three-story space is divided into two retail floors and one showroom. Elegantly bare, the store has no visible furniture or storage, but leaves large areas for fitting rooms and a comfortable white VIP room. CH met with Silvestrin for an exclusive interview during the preview of the store.

Your attitude toward design is very similar to Giada’s. How do you feel about this fine-tuning?

When they approached me, I tried to understand in-depth what they were doing. When I saw the high quality of fabrics and materials and the clean lines, it seemed like they were going to feel my architecture was right because we share the same philosophical principles. I believe it is no coincidence that they have chosen me.

What materials did you use?

I used porphyry of the Dolomites, limestone from Portugal, cast bronze, and natural leather. The leather covers the fitting rooms and has not been treated, so it will have its own life. Even the stone is not polished, so you will see the passing of time.

Did you try to establish a stylistic link with the existing stores in China?

My approach is 100% new. It’s in my nature. They gave me carte blanche, because I have a lot of experience in retail and they knew that I know how to handle spaces. The whole design process took place in a fluid and natural way, without clashes or divergent ideas. Clearly, when I presented the project, they were surprised by the choice of rocks, cast bronze and the other materials. However, both Rosanna and Zhao had great confidence in me. They had trust and intuition; they came with some good insights, we shared them and we found ourselves on the same wavelength.

Plans for Giada’s expansion outside of China are quite ambitious: the opening of the Milan store will be followed by next year’s Madison Avenue store in New York, Sloane Street in London, Avenue Montaigne in Paris and Ginza in Tokyo.

La Selva

My new article from Cool Hunting

Lighting up Milan’s famed wallpaper studio Jannelli & Volpi last spring with their collection of mesmerizing “RGB” wall coverings, Carnovsky will continue to entrance gallery-goers with a new jungle-inspired series at London’s Jaguar Shoes, dubbed “La Selva.”

Founded in ’97 by Francesco Rugi and Silvia Quintanilla, the Milan-based duo create surfaces that change and interact with different chromatic inputs to a stunning degree. Using a layering technique to create various colorful and slightly baroque effects, the jungle’s dense vegetation makes the perfect subject for Carnovsky to work with next.

The superimposition of three different images—each a single color—creates a visual chaos where tones, lines and shapes overlap in an ethereal display of emotion. When viewed through a colored lens or shown under a different shade of light the individual layers can be shown or hidden to reveal the elements of the composition.

Karnovsky uses wallpaper as a sort of contemporary mural, creating completely immersive environments that feel like a surreal dream. The general theme of the subjects is metamorphosis, to narrate a story of the things through the idea of their unceasing mutation and transformation.

“La Selva” will be on view from 28 July through 21 September 2011 at Jaguar Shoes in Shoreditch.