The Lake Como Design Festival announces its fifth edition, inspired by the homonymous work by Pliny the Elder 'Naturalis Historia'. The open call for the Contemporary Design Selection section is also underway, curated by Giovanna Massoni and in collaboration with Catawiki

This year the Lake Como Design Festival will be held from 16 to 24 September 2023, with an imposing title that also acts as a leitmotif: Naturalis Historia.

The observation of nature will be the theme around which the entire event will revolve, precisely starting from the inspiration taken from the homonymous work by Pliny the Elder of which Como celebrates the two thousandth anniversary of its birth which took place in this city in 23 AD.

The Contemporary Design Selection section is also linked to this theme, the open call open from 13 December 2022 to 31 March 2023 to independent designers, artists, publishers and galleries dedicated to design contemporary curated this year by Giovanna Massoni; Also for this edition, all the works presented by the exhibitors will be sold through an online auction organized exclusively by Catawiki.

“Arriving at the fifth edition of the Lake Como Design Festival is a huge achievement for us,” says Lorenzo Butti, creator and artistic director of the festival.

“In recent years we have built a unique reality that manages to put design, art and architecture into dialogue through the contamination of the disciplines and by opening up to local, national and international visitors places with a high symbolic value that very often are closed to the public.

The two thousandth anniversary of the birth of Pliny the Elder offers us the opportunity to relate our activity to nature in its broadest sense and to investigate the relationship between human and natural in surprising and unexpected ways".

Naturalis Historia is the title of the only work by Pliny the Elder that has survived in its entirety to the present day.

In the 37 volumes that make up the collection, Pliny expresses his eclectic and curious character through a complex treatise that moves between geography and anthropology, between zoology and botany, passing through medicine, mineralogy, metalworking and the history of art.

This monumental encyclopedia, which for centuries has represented a fundamental source of knowledge for scientists and intellectuals, is the inspiration for the Lake Como Design Festival 2023 and its program of exhibitions, conferences, installations.

The theme is also the inspiration for the projects that will make up Contemporary Design Selection, the section of the festival dedicated to the proposals of independent designers and artists, publishers and galleries.

The works, selected by Lake Como Design Festival together with Giovanna Massoni among those sent through the open call, will be exhibited during the festival in a unique location, as well as being auctioned by Catawiki, the leading platform in the online auction sector. partner of the event.

The exhibition, curated by Giovanna Massoni, will focus on design as a shared and interconnected repertoire of objects and experiments, materials and technologies that challenge climate change and the scarcity of natural resources, thus updating Pliny's research and his work.

Design has always been a collaborative profession but today more than ever it is an anti-disciplinary exercise: a dialogue between the past and the future, between vernacular manufacturing practices and technological dematerialisation, between organic materials and new biocomposite materials, between reuse processes and future scenarios where our waste becomes fossils”, declares Giovanna Massoni.

“What in my opinion creates a surprising bond between Pliny and the new design is not just his insatiable curiosity. Pliny the Elder composed a masterful work that combines zoology, mineralogy, botany with the history of art in the great embrace of the Naturalis Historia, suggesting an interesting exegesis of production in close correlation with the living system.

The objects that we will present in this edition will contribute to creating an anthology of narratives that recount the transition towards a changing world: in progress, imperfect, fragile, where design – no longer the discipline of anthropocentric solutions – creates experiments and tells us how to know, evoke, repair and take care of our ecosystem".

Contemporary design is increasingly faced with the relationship between things and consumption with the difficulties that the planet experiences and with its very survival; for this reason the task of today's creatives is to consider materials, tools, the environment, nature and society in a new and different way. The new design therefore speaks of sustainability, circularity and bio-ecology, of regenerative materials, non-extractive processes and local resources, activating interdisciplinary collaborations and production systems with low environmental impact, which can be shared, adapted, modulated.

Eléonore Floret, senior design expert at Catawiki, says: “We are thrilled to join forces with the Lake Como Design Festival for the third time, offering an international digital platform to some of the most exciting contemporary, emerging and assert yourself.

Catawiki is a treasure trove for fans of hidden gems and special objects, so we are particularly excited to explore this year's theme, an homage to the writer and naturalist Pliny the Elder and his curiosity for things new and forgotten.

Our online auction will allow the work of these designers to reach millions of our users around the world, people who share a deep and forward-thinking love of design.”