Presented by Homi, the Salone degli Stili of Fiera Milano held in September at the fair in Rho, and then set up at Palazzo delle Stelline in Milan, the exhibition La magnifica forma 04 was based on the intention of combining design and fine crafts, for a new commitment to enhance the Italian heritage and cultural tourism.

The theme of the fourth edition of this experimental workshop invented and curated by the architect Anna Del Gatto was that of the historical banquet, so in relation to the theme of Expo 2015 seven tables were prepared, for seven different eras: Ancient Rome, Middle Ages, Renaissance, Baroque, Neoclassical, Futurist and Rationalist.

The seven installations were done by seven internationally acclaimed designers – Eliana Gerotto, Dorota Koziara, Raffaella Mangiarotti, Martina Meluzzi, Denis Santachiara, Luca Scacchetti, Carlo Rampazzi – under the artistic direction of Anna Del Gatto, who created tables and objects for the occasion, drawing inspiration from painting, sculpture and architecture of different historical periods.

The goal was to rethink design in relation to art history and to create, also through the most innovative technologies, new objects capable of attracting the interest of museum directors and administrators.

The initiative was supported by the Ministry of Cultural Assets, Tourism and Economic Development, the Lombardy Region, and the City of Milan.

by Nadia Lionello – photos by Simone Barberis

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Raffaella Mangiarotti
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Ancient Rome - Raffaella Mangiarotti: “I designed eight objects based on Roman culture and specially made for this table: a candelabrum, a pitcher, a glass, a vase, a series of three bowls, two trays, a stand; no plates, no flatware, because in ancient Rome they were not used. Vases, bowls and trays contained food and drink. Light came from lanterns and tall candle holders to light not just the tables but also the spaces. The candelabrum, the vase, the pitcher and the glass made with iron rod and glass stand out for a ring, a recurring feature in Roman vases, that develops naturally in the form of the object. The trays in silver plate play with reflections on surfaces, a reminder of the water that was used to transport foods at banquets. The tray with handles, a Roman archetype, has been reinterpreted with a repetition of slender sections that form a three-dimensional volume.”
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Partner companies of the project Ancient Rome by Raffaella Mangiarotti: Atipico, De Vecchi Milano 1935, Mobilferro. In the photo: silver plated trays with shiny and matte finish, designed by Raffaella Mangiarotti and made by De Vecchi Milano 1935.
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Eliana Gerotto
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Middle Ages - Eliana Gerotto: “Imagining the Middle Ages, a thousand years of history, from which to borrow forms, images and hues, was not so easy. I chose the late period, since it is closer, that of the fratina and pottery from Umbria, which I have always seen in my family’s homes. I thought about a strange duo, Venice and Umbria. Almost like the choice of thinking of a medieval table for the marriage between the spoon of the archaic tradition and the revolutionary fork imported to Venice from Constantinople, in the year 1004, with the dowry of Maria Argyropoulina who married the noble Orseolo. An imaginary wedding feast, featuring carafes, cups, flatware and cutting boards, alternating olive wood and acrylic crystal, taking the form of medieval items made of cowhide or wood. On plates, seashell-salt cellars and centerpieces, decorations from the tradition of Orvieto convey a serious yet playful and visionary character.”
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Partner companies of the project Middle Ages by Eliana Gerotto: Meccatronicore, Spisani, Venice Factory, Zirè. In the photo: cup from the Nozze Orvietane collection of Venice Factory, 3D-printed by Meccatronicore.
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Dorota Koziara
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Renaissance - Dorota Koziara: “Traveling often in Italy, I have visited many very beautiful, important museums, where I have realized that unfortunately there is no correspondence between the rich historical production of the objects on display and the offerings of crafts in local workshops. But this is not just an Italian issue. I decided to interpret the Renaissance period because it jibes with my research and studies over the last few years. The Renaissance started in Italy and influenced culture, philosophy and science in Europe and the world, and I think that in our time, not just in the field of design, there is a great need and desire for Rebirth. My intention in this show was to create a link between Italy and Poland, because in the Italian Renaissance Poland was ruled by Bona Sforza, born in Vigevano, who married Sigismund I. Bona Sforza was a very important queen for my country, who influenced its culture, sustaining and hosting outstanding architects, philosophers and scientists. As a tribute to this, Renesans, Renaissance in Polish, is the name I have chosen for the collection of plates and bowls I have designed for Manufaktura w Boleslawcu. I have invited young collaborators of my studio to take part, and they have designed some products in the installation which will then enter the catalogues of the companies involved in the project.”
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Partner companies of the project Renaissance by Dorota Koziara: Alessi, Ceramiche Sofia di Caltagirone, Manufaktura w Boleslawcu, Pimar, Velab. In the photo: Renesans, ceramic bowl designed by Dorota Koziara for Manufaktura w Boleslawcu.
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Luca Scacchetti
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Carlo Rampazzi
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Baroque: Carlo Rampazzi has decided to propose a combination of forms and colors, finishes and decorations, shaped on different materials, where the classic Baroque tradition resurfaces in a contemporary guise. “The true accessories and objects that are part of the banquet are displayed on a table, which becomes – also due to its convivial character – the fulcrum of the project,” Rampazzi says. “The installation features three risers that maintain their overall uniformity, while presenting different kinds of workmanship and materials; three harmonious elements that bring out and rethink Baroque audacity and exuberance. One of the constituent parts of the table is in transparent polycarbonate lit with LEDs, a tribute to new lighting technologies and to 2015, the International Year of Light.” The table was made by Sergio Villa Mobilitaly, a company founded over ten years ago thanks to the encounter between the Swiss architect Carlo Rampazzi and the crafts workshop of Sergio Villa, in Brianza.
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Partner companies of the project Baroque by Carlo Rampazzi: Arte Fabris, Barettoni, Cereria Introna, E.T.T. Led, Garavaglia, GiòRa by Giovanna Raspini, G.T.P. Arredamenti, Lalique, Marcello Bertazzo, Linda Cutarelli, Ottofficine, Rebirth Ceramics, Seguso, Senta Nussberger Muanda, Sergio Villa Decorazioni, Sharra Pagano, Sicis, Spisani. In the photo: plate in ceramic and gold designed by Alice Giacone, made by Rebirth Ceramiche in collaboration with Carlo Rampazzi.
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Neoclassical - Luca Scacchetti : “Fantasy architecture, summing up all neoclassical archetypes, is the start of the project. A very narrative and representative design that taken in fragments generates something completely different: an abstract design, almost Mondrian, made of clear lines and primary geometric forms. Neoclassical architecture is the matrix behind the Partenos centerpiece and the Bianca chair, while it is the subject represented on the Verona fabric. Its fragments, instead, form the decorative motif of the table service, known as Frammenti, and the Pyxis vases, where the abstract decoration contrasts with the rich forms and precious finish. The project plays with the continuous passage from neoclassical forms to abstract design, to demonstrate that in the end they come from the same principles, the same lines.” The project and products are the result of a “round table” between the architect Luca Scacchetti and four young designers: Emanuele Colzani, Carlo Flagiello, Andrej Misic and Giada Torchiana.
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Partner companies of the project Neoclassical by Luca Scacchetti : Budri, Carla Lega Ceramiche d’Arte, Kohro Inspiring Interiors, Laboratorio Paravicini, Rossato Gino & C. In the photo: Frammenti, handmade table service with digital printing, produced by Laboratorio Paravicini.
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Martina Meluzzi
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Partner companies of the project Futurism by Martina Meluzzi: Allusider Proget, Carlo Moretti, Madeamano, Meccatronicore, Missoni Home, Richard Ginori, Spadari Lab. In the photo: candelabra in metal designed by Martina Meluzzi and produced by Allusider.
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Futurism - Martina Meluzzi: “I worked on the design of this table together with Alessandra Ienca, with the aim of creating a unified, dynamic piece composed of interpenetration of planes, lines and colors. We followed the guidelines of the text ‘Material Construction of the Plastic Complex’ by Balla and Depero, identifying our ‘necessary means,’ and we then assembled them in a set of blades of light and refractions, to give expression to the universal vibration, the goal of Futurist research. All the pieces come from the philosophy of the movement and are composed with means we believe are consistent with it: iron cylinders, steel rings, colored glass, lavic stone, mirrors, metal foil, celluloid and ‘all the gaudiest substances.’ In particular, two works are connected with specific creations of Giacomo Balla: the covering of the table in glazed lavic stone by Madeamano comes from the work Compenetrazioni iridescenti and the modular tray in painted iron, made by Spadari lab, is based on Linee spaziali n.9.”
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Denis Santachiara
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Rationalism - Denis Santachiara: “The Modern Movement, in its intention to plan functional quality and aesthetics, wound up producing a formal, plastic style, thus deserving a super-formalistic, citationist contrast, with an eye on the past, namely the ‘Postmodern.’ Both have in any case expressed only a formal and ideological confrontation. The idea of the third industrial revolution is to get beyond this confrontation completely, towards a super-modernism whose aesthetic is developed by new industrial processes 4.0 – processes like digital fabrication and download design – which permits and promises a new modernity based on total freedom, ‘open design’ and ‘mass customization,’ getting back to the very idea of design culture. The modernist table illustrates all this, showing certain examples of production in tune with Cyrcus, an e-commerce site that sells signature design based on professional digital fabrication. Each product is an original work, personalized, but with industrial costs and timing.”
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Partner companies of the project Rationalism by Denis Santachiara: Cyrcus.it, La Lattoneria, Opizzi di Opizzi Gianpiero &C. Snc, Sironi. Laser-cut bowl by Sara Ricciardi designed for personalization, and sized according to the wishes of the client.