Page 1

ARTS & CRAFTS & DESIGN

8

TRADITIONS

At the ancient mill on the river Canneto, in Amalfi, the Amatruda family produces handmade paper since the 15th century

DISTINCTION

The gentleman’s wardrobe inspires new creations by Vacheron Constantin

COVER A&C&D 8 STESA.indd 1

AUTHENTICITY

Japan: where the beauty of an object emerges from its own imperfection

CREATIVITY

Portugal’s heritage pulsates in the visionary works by artist Joana Vasconcelos

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Institut National des Métiers d’Art: Building the future of crafts



Under the supervision of the Ministry of Culture and Communication, the Ministry of State for Commerce, Craft Industries and Trades, Consumer Affairs, and Social and Solidarity based-Economy, the Institut National des Métiers d’Art (National Institute of Arts and Crafts) carries out a general interest mission on behalf of the arts and crafts professions. Like the five fingers of the hand, the role of the French National Institute of Arts and Crafts (INMA) is orchestrated around five missions: • State operator providing assistance to the arts and crafts: interface between the State, the local authorities and the professionals. • Laboratory of the future of arts and crafts: the driving force for the research-development which prepares the future of arts and crafts. • Networks operators and level of commitment: creator of exchanges between economy, education and culture, networks leader to update training, facilitate employment and entrepreneurship. • Source and place of Information for arts and crafts: at the service of professionals, young people and general public.

• Emissary of the new image of arts and crafts: proclaiming talents, organizing events. The National Institute of Arts and Crafts is working for the future of these professions of tomorrow. • To develop the expertise and research about arts and crafts, INMA organizes different types of conferences and events. The second edition of its international symposium, entitled “Arts and Crafts: challenges and economic outlook” (november 2015), has successfully demonstrated the economic potential of arts and crafts worldwide. The symposium’s proceedings will be published in 2016 • For over ten years, the European Artistic Crafts Days (Journées Européennes des Métiers d’Art) coordinated by INMA have showcased the diversity and enthusiasm of arts and crafts professions throughout France as well as in other European countries (19 participating countries in 2016). Scheduled from April 1st to April 3rd 2016, the 10th edition will be based on the theme “Gestes de demain” and will underline the universal values conveyed by arts and crafts

Institut National des Métiers d’Art Viaduc des Arts, 23 avenue Daumesnil, 75012 Paris, France Tel.: +33 (0)1 55 78 85 85 | info@inma-france.org | www.institut-metiersdart.org

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w w w. g e n e v e o p e r a . c h

Š GTG / CAROLE PARODI

In opera, every detail is a challenge

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9

Perspective

Sig

ned

by

los r a -C * n a Ju orres T

BRAVING THE FUTURE WITH THE FORCE OF THE PAST To interfuse timeless skills and the world of design is the answer to perpetuating the infinite source of beauty and wealth that the métiers d’art represent Artistic crafts have been inextricably entwined with the history of Vacheron Constantin for over 260 years. Driven by a certain sense of foresight, our Maison has consistently undertaken to kindle the flame of age-old skills, some of which are currently threatened with extinction. They are still very much at the core of our activity. Their message of perpetuating beauty enables them to foster unique social ties. They represent patient and splendid acts of resistance to an ever-faster, increasingly virtual world. Passed on through apprenticeships, they are a bridge spanning past, present and future. By forging strong and lasting values, they have a demonstrable socio-economic impact on the artisans of today as well as subsequent generations. Through the events we support, we intend to give artistic crafts the place they deserve, at the very heart of creative design. In 2016, we are proud to be partnering for the sixth consecutive year the European Artistic Crafts Days ( JEMA) that are gaining ever greater scope and international reach. With 18 countries now involved and stellar events that we support in major capitals such as Paris, Milan and London, the JEMA are an undeniable success.

tional Institute of Artistic Crafts (INMA) and which will be presented at the Musée des arts décoratifs in Paris. Likewise, in Italy and in cooperation with the Fondazione Cologni dei Mestieri d’Arte, Vacheron Constantin is supporting the “New Craft” Pavilion in the 21st Milan Triennial international exhibition, titled “21st Century. Design After Design”. During the event the city will also be hosting a large number of demonstrations by creative artisans. In London, over 130 workshops and art galleries will be open to the public. And in Switzerland, the Manufacture is naturally supporting the cantons of Vaud, Jura and Neuchâtel, as well as the city of Geneva – its home for over 260 years – in organising a discovery-filled programme of activities and exhibitions.

F

Vacheron Constantin is particularly involved in backing events that offer an initiation into the wealth of these crafts. They can provide powerful stimulus in sparking vocations for the exercise of skills to which we are deeply attached. Among other precious techniques, the Manufacture gives pride of place to guillochage, enamelling and tapestry, all of which are magnificently staged in a new “Métiers d’art” collection that we will be unveiling at the JEMA. “Elégance Sartoriale” unites them in embodying a timeless vision of the masculine wardrobe: modern, precise and perfectly balanced. On the occasion of the JEMA 2016, we are also proud to be serving as patrons of the inaugural exhibition “L’Empreinte du geste”, created in partnership with the French Na-

Finally, Vacheron Constantin is proud to be presenting, at the Geneva Museum of Art and History, “Arts & Crafts & Design. Time according to Alessandro Mendini and his artisans”. This exhibition, made possible by the support of our Maison and of the Fondazione Cologni dei Mestieri d’Arte, is designed to raise awareness by highlighting unusual connections between art and matter. Opening up the world of design so as to ensure the future of artistic crafts is our most cherished wish. This new edition of Arts&Crafts&Design that we invite you to peruse reflects this diversity-oriented mindset. It brings together traditional and iconoclastic talents. The virtuosity of a Parisian feather artist rubs shoulders with the Italian artificial marble decorations, along with the expertise of an historical hand-crafted paper-making workshop – all driven by the same determination to achieve excellence. Tomorrow is already here. Each passing day confirms the reality of a constantly changing world in which we can choose to reinvent ourselves. A kind of new “Renaissance” to which Vacheron Constantin is contributing in order to prepare a near future that is both audacious and fruitful.

*CEO Vacheron Constantin

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JEAN DUBUFFET – METAMORPHOSES OF LANDSCAPE 31. 1. –  8. 5. 2016 ALEXANDER CALDER & FISCHLI  /  WEISS 29. 5. –  4. 9. 2016 »24 STOPS« BY TOBIAS REHBERGER AS FROM SUMMER 2016 KANDINSKY, MARC & DER BLAUE REITER 4. 9. 2016  – 22. 1. 2017

FONDATION BEYELER www.fondationbeyeler.ch

160112_FB_ Arts & Crafts & Design_240x320.indd 1

Foto: Mark Niedermann

RONI HORN 2. 10. 2016  – 1. 1. 2017

12.01.16 18:04


11

by

E d i t o r ’s l e t t e r

n Fra

z

ré t o B

WE LIVE IN A PAPER WORLD AND BOOKS WILL NEVER DIE They warned us that we were heading towards a digital future. But a few daredevils have continued to invest time and money in books and magazines Notepaper, wallpaper, adhesive paper, wax paper, thermal paper, tracing paper, glossy paper. We live in a paper world, writes Ian Sansom in his treatise Paper: An Elegy. Paper is all around us, it is part of our lives: books, letters, newspapers, but also certificates, business cards, packaging, tissues, teabags... For years we have heard the mantra about ebooks supplanting paper publications. Not to mention newspapers... Sales of digital books have in fact increased by 1,260% between 2008 and 2012. Nevertheless, reckless people like myself, stubbornly allergic to fashions and to the pressure of obtuse standardisation, have never stopped investing their time, passion and money in paper. Foolish? Maybe. But it seems that time is proving me right: I have read that Amazon is planning to open between 300 and 400 bookstores in the United States. Yes, bookstores full of bookshelves, with tons of paper books. According to a report published by the New York Times last January, sales of ebooks have dropped by 10%, all to the advantage of the paper book market.

readers and give them a first-rate product. Even more important to me is the paper on which the magazine is printed: those who are familiar with my publications know that grammage and quality are my absolute priorities. But you only have to flick through the magazines at a newspaper kiosk to realise that quality cannot be taken for granted. The rough paper on which even some expensive magazines are printed causes colour bleeding: as a consequence, the words are hard to read and the illustrations are totally ruined (and the photographers’ work with them). Not to mention the poor quality paper of gossip magazines. I am therefore honoured to dedicate the cover of this issue to the celebrated paper mill of the Amatruda family, in Amalfi. Like me, they have not surrendered to progress. Like me, they have continued to believe in what they consider to be essential values. In the first half of the twentieth century, when industrialisation was systematically advancing and the paper mill seemed to be at the end of the line, the Amatruda family never gave up and managed to survive thanks to.... Sicilian cassata! In fact, the business overcame those difficult years producing a special kind of paper which was widely used in pastry shops and law firms in the south of Italy. Today, they continue to produce paper according to traditional techniques, dedicating great care to quality control: every impurity is removed by hand, sheet by sheet. Passing from the texture of paper to the texture of fabrics, a feature in this number is dedicated to Vacheron Constantin’s latest collection. Élégance Sartoriale offers us an illuminating example of a métier d’art within a métier d’art. The dials of these marvellous watches are decorated by the master craftsmen of the Geneva Manufacture drawing inspiration from the most exclusive cloths used in high-quality tailoring: pinstripes, tartan, windowpane, herringbone and Prince of Wales check. The mother-of-pearl subdials are finely engraved with designs that are reminiscent of the buttons of a shirt or of the pattern on a silk handkerchief peeking out from a jacket’s breast pocket. The passion for sartorial excellence celebrates style and elegance for men, also on the wrist.

B

This comes as no surprise to me. Looking beyond the numbers, which have never influenced my convictions, I have always wondered how we could possibly give up the pleasure of leafing through a book or a well-made magazine, breathing in the smell of the paper. Perhaps other people have realised, like me, that not everything can be crammed into the virtual mincer... Even though I am not one of the publishing industry’s bigwigs, I continue to make my magazines in the same way I did 45 years ago. A feature story develops in the head first, of course, but then it comes to life on a blank sheet of paper, on which the layout of the pages that compose the feature is sketched out: to determine the spatial relations between the photographs and the printed words, the way in which they create a rhythm, a dialogue... always rigorously applying - pencil and T-square in hand - the axonometric principles that I was taught at school (then, as today, with a sheet of paper spread out in front of me). Only then will the feature be fed into the computer. The ethics of publishing determines its aesthetics and enables us to achieve the ultimate goal: to create emotions in our

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9

22

30

ARTS & CRAFTS & DESIGN

DISTINCTION

The gentleman’s wardrobe inspires new creations by Vacheron Constantin

AUTHENTICITY

Japan: where the beauty of an object emerges from its own imperfection

CREATIVITY

Portugal’s heritage pulsates in the visionary works by artist Joana Vasconcelos

Artisans Books Awards Initiatives Fairs Shows ALBUM by Stefania Montani Cultural preservation THE COSMOS IN A BOX by In Jae Jeong

44

Discovering talents GLOBAL QUALITY by Akemi Okumura Roy

Living treasures TATAZUMAI, THE POWER OF AN OBJECT by Anthony Girardi

62 68

Generative dialogues REVOLUTIONARY IDEAS by Alberto Cavalli

Local heritage RENAISSANCE MADE IN NAPLES by Rosa Alba Impronta Minute decorations SARTORIAL PRECISION by Alberto Cavalli

88

Unexpected collections THE OTHER MOMA by Simona Cesana

96

Outstanding skills PARALLEL DIMENSION by Giovanna Marchello

Contemporary creators SIMPLY FOREVER by Giovanna Marchello

82 94

Enterprises PAPER, OLD STYLE by Alberto Gerosa

TRADITIONS

At the ancient mill on the river Canneto, in Amalfi, the Amatruda family produces handmade paper since the 15th century

78

by Juan-Carlos Torres

38

56

8

BRAVING THE FUTURE WITH THE FORCE OF THE PAST

Celebrating design TENDER STONE by Raffaella Fossati

50

72

Perspective

100 104 110

Special events TECHONOLOGY IN THE HANDS OF THE ARTISANS by Alessandra de Nitto Maîtres d’art IN FINE FEATHER by Julie El Ghouzzi Crafting with style MIRACULOUS MATERIAL by Raffaele Ciardulli Transmitting knowhow TRAINING GIFTED HANDS by Susanna Pozzoli Cathedrals of culture ONCE UPON A DESIGN by Maria Cristina Didero

11/03/16 12:04

On the cover, each sheet of paper undergoes rigorous quality control at the Amatruda paper mill (photo Francesco Squeglia).

Opinions 11 18

Editor’s letter by Franz Botré

WE LIVE IN A PAPER WORLD AND BOOKS WILL NEVER DIE

Made in art by Ugo La Pietra FILLING THE GAP OF ITALIAN-STYLE CRAFT

20 114

Historical thought by Daniele Fano PLATFORMS TO GUIDE THE EDUCATION REVOLUTION Re-turn by Franco Cologni THE FUTURE LIES IN OUR HANDS. IT’S TIME TO USE OUR HEADS!


To bear witness to forgotten peoples Two surveys and two publications per year

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14

Contributors

ARTISANS OF THE WORD GIOVANNA MARCHELLO

ROSA ALBA IMPRONTA

ANTHONY GIRARDI

JULIE EL GHOUZZI

MARIA CRISTINA DIDERO

ALBERTO GEROSA

STEFANIA MONTANI

RAFFAELE CIARDULLI

AKEMI OKUMURA ROY

SUSANNA POZZOLI

Grown up in an international environment, spacing from Japan to Finland and Italy, she is a lover of English literature. She lives in Milan, where she has worked in the fashion business for 20 years, specialising in licensing.

Both a photographer and a journalist, he is an expert in contemporary ceramics and artistic crafts, and writes for French periodicals Ateliers d'Art and La Revue de la Céramique et du Verre. He collaborates with the Mercier et Associés gallery in Paris, specialised in 20th century architecture and design.

An independent curator and freelance journalist, she has worked for over ten years with Vitra Design Museum and was director of the Fondazione Bisazza from 2011 to 2014. She currently collaborates with a number of institutions, both in Italy and abroad, as design curator.

A journalist, she has published two guides to Milan’s artisan ateliers, and a guide to the artisan ateliers of Turin. She was awarded the Gabriele Lanfredini prize by Milan’s Chamber of Commerce for her contribution to raising awareness of culture and craftsmanship.

After managing communication for major luxury brands, she left Tokyo and her native Japan to follow her husband, an English photographer, to London, where she is a correspondent for many Japanese media.

ARTS & CRAFTS & DESIGN Half-yearly – Year V – Volume 8 April 2016 Editor in Chief and Publisher: Franz Botré Editor at Large: Franco Cologni Creative Director: Ugo La Pietra Deputy managing editor: Andrea Bertuzzi Art Director: Francesca Tedoldi

Born in Naples, she holds a degree in Law and is member of the board of MAG JLT. Since 2001, with her husband Davide de Blasio, she has developed projects with artists close to the Tramontano company, eventually creating the Fondazione TramontanoArte for visual art and music.

She holds an MA in Philosophy from both the Sorbonne University and the University of Bologna and an MA in Art History. In 2007 she was appointed director of the Centre du Luxe et de la Création in Paris, the prestigious think tank and do tank for luxury and métiers d’art.

He earned a degree in Aesthetics from Ca’ Foscari University of Venice. He now teaches Russian literature at the University of Vienna. A professional journalist, he was editor-in-chief of the art periodical Goya and now contributes to magazines specialised in writing instruments and timepieces, including Penna.

He has worked in the Richemont group for 18 years, 11 as marketing director for Cartier in Italy, and then for Chantecler, Stefan Hafner and Roberto Demeglio. He dedicates his solid experience in marketing and communication to high-profile educational projects and consulting.

A photographer with an international experience of residences, long stays and prestigious shows, she consecrates herself to the study and recollection of stories and places told with a personal style. Her projects evoke precious hidden realities with grace. Photography is the tool of her in-depth artistic research.

Fondazione Cologni dei Mestieri d’Arte Director: Alberto Cavalli Editorial Director: Alessandra de Nitto General Organisation: Susanna Ardigò

Translations: Language Consulting Congressi Editing: Giovanna Marchello

Contributors to this issue: Texts: Simona Cesana, Raffaele Ciardulli, Maria Cristina Didero, Julie El Ghouzzi, Daniele Fano, Raffaella Fossati, Alberto Gerosa, Anthony Girardi, Rosa Alba Impronta, In Jae Jeong, Gianmarco Luggeri, Stefania Montani, Akemi Okumura Roy, Susanna Pozzoli

Arts & Crafts & Design is a project by Fondazione Cologni dei Mestieri d’Arte Via Lovanio, 5 – 20121 Milan © Fondazione Cologni dei Mestieri d’Arte. All rights reserved.

Images: Immagini: Katherine Dutiel, Anthony Girardi, Henrik Kam, Joe Kramm, Giuseppe Millaci, Maria Teresa Musca, Choongho Park, Susanna Pozzoli, Aurelia Raffo, Colin Roy, Francesco Squeglia

Original manuscripts and photos will not be returned, even if unpublished. Texts and images cannot be reproduced, even partially.

Half-yearly magazine by SWAN GROUP srl

Editing, production and advertising: via Francesco Ferrucci 2 20145 Milan, Italy Phone: +39 02.31808911 info@arbiter.it www.arbiter.it www.fondazionecologni.it www.mestieridarte.it Printed by Tiber spa via della Volta 179 25124 Brescia, Italy


Vacheron - Chosen Precision ad 16 Sept_RBS 16/09/2015 15:28 Page 1

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Photo: Johan Persson


18

Certi

Made in art

fied b y

Ugo L a Pie tra

FILLING THE GAP OF ITALIAN-STYLE CRAFT While European craft was developing one-offs or limited series, for decades Italy continued to cultivate the more conventional, though much appreciated, discipline of industrial design: creating a distance that is still far from being bridged

For many decades, while Italy was specialising in the discipline of “industrial design”, much admired and studied around the world, elsewhere in Europe (but also in the United States and Japan) another cultural sphere was growing that was almost totally alien to us, in that it fully recognised the value of design combined with manual skills. This formula, which was based essentially on craftsmanship, was generating works that were one-offs, or almost, and was therefore far removed from the principles that accompanied our industrial design for decades. So, while on the one hand (in Italy) the half architecthalf designer “champions” of this specialty (Zanuso, Magistretti, Albini, Mangiarotti…) were establishing themselves, initially as the sole and absolute keepers of this practice, on the other (abroad), the arts and crafts were being enriched with schools, institutions, museums, galleries, collectors and authors with growing market value. For many years, both fields kept expanding independently and in parallel. Then, gradually, the first schools for industrial design started to appear also in Italy, and once they dropped the word “industrial”, Italian design began to take its first steps towards craftsmanship. Thus starting the slow rapprochement with European arts and crafts.

B

Italian design began to contemplate the possibility of one-off productions, or limited series, and when serial furniture production began to slump, it appeared that Italy too could join the large disciplinary, artistic and productive field that in many other European countries had been well rooted for a long

016_R-LA PIETRA_ENG.indd 18

time. We keep talking about cultured craftsmanship, of self-production, of the value of crafting objects, but the truth is that Italy is still very distant from the European craft culture: it is hard to find an Italian author in international magazines dedicated to the applied arts and no Italian ceramist is exhibited at specialist fairs, where a finely crafted piece of pottery can cost between 20,000 and 30,000 euro (and for most of them, to sell one of their works for at least 4,000 euro is still a dream). In fact, when we take a good look at our own production and compare it with what characterises European artistic crafts, we find that they are profoundly different: international artists have developed superior manual skills, which they have trained for many years, and this makes them more competent and competitive; while even our most creative artists have been brought up in the culture of design, which makes them less skilled from a manual point of view and decidedly more conceptual. Between us and them lies a wide gap that needs to be filled. A gap that, in Italy, starts in the lack of infrastructure: considering that we are talking about one-offs, or almost, the absence of workshops, institutions, museums and dedicated galleries ultimately affects also the widespread practice of collecting, which potentially involves a large segment of society. When can we hope to get together and talk about this situation and verify the state of evolution of Italian design? The last conference on this topic was the one that I organised at the Milan Triennale in 1996: it was entitled Fatto ad arte and it lasted four days.

09/03/16 12:26


Today, artistic crafts face three challenges visibility, understanding and heritage. Moreover these “savoir-faire” become “rare” or even “orphan” when there is no dedicated educational program and the transmission of know-how is only done between the Master and his / her apprentice. In April 2012, Vacheron Constantin, the oldest watch manufacturer of fine watches, launched Cercle 250, an initiative that strives to support and promotes the expertise of this exceptional know-how in order to protect them from extinction and oblivion. Cercle 250 is an association of corporate patrons with over 250 years of continuous activity to their name. Its mission is to encourage and promote the values of excellence and commitment to manual skill through an Annual Project. The Annual Project will celebrate the excellence of one or more Artistic Masters through the renaissance of a material or immaterial culture heritage. An example of an immaterial heritage can be the skills used by a master craftsman that can be transmitted to an apprentice in a spirit of trust and generosity. It is a mirror image of material heritage and its scope for recreating or restoring a work – a rare object or monument – in its most material form. Cercle 250 will expand its initiatives by inviting people behind the scene to explore the creative process of the Maisons involved, offering them, so to speak, real moments, suspended

©Sophie Zénon

www.vacheron-constantin.com

© Mobilier national

in time, in the company of fascinating works and skills.


Today, artistic crafts face three challenges visibility, understanding and heritage. Moreover these “savoir-faire” become “rare” or even “orphan” when there is no dedicated educational program and the transmission of know-how is only done between the Master and his / her apprentice. In April 2012, Vacheron Constantin, the oldest watch manufacturer of fine watches, launched Cercle 250, an initiative that strives to support and promotes the expertise of this exceptional know-how in order to protect them from extinction and oblivion. Cercle 250 is an association of corporate patrons with over 250 years of continuous activity to their name. Its mission is to encourage and promote the values of excellence and commitment to manual skill through an Annual Project. The Annual Project will celebrate the excellence of one or more Artistic Masters through the renaissance of a material or immaterial culture heritage. An example of an immaterial heritage can be the skills used by a master craftsman that can be transmitted to an apprentice in a spirit of trust and generosity. It is a mirror image of material heritage and its scope for recreating or restoring a work – a rare object or monument – in its most material form. Cercle 250 will expand its initiatives by inviting people behind the scene to explore the creative process of the Maisons involved, offering them, so to speak, real moments, suspended

©Sophie Zénon

www.vacheron-constantin.com

© Mobilier national

in time, in the company of fascinating works and skills.


18

Certi

Made in art

fied b y

Ugo L a Pie tra

FILLING THE GAP OF ITALIAN-STYLE CRAFT While European craft was developing one-offs or limited series, for decades Italy continued to cultivate the more conventional, though much appreciated, discipline of industrial design: creating a distance that is still far from being bridged

For many decades, while Italy was specialising in the discipline of “industrial design”, much admired and studied around the world, elsewhere in Europe (but also in the United States and Japan) another cultural sphere was growing that was almost totally alien to us, in that it fully recognised the value of design combined with manual skills. This formula, which was based essentially on craftsmanship, was generating works that were one-offs, or almost, and was therefore far removed from the principles that accompanied our industrial design for decades. So, while on the one hand (in Italy) the half architecthalf designer “champions” of this specialty (Zanuso, Magistretti, Albini, Mangiarotti…) were establishing themselves, initially as the sole and absolute keepers of this practice, on the other (abroad), the arts and crafts were being enriched with schools, institutions, museums, galleries, collectors and authors with growing market value. For many years, both fields kept expanding independently and in parallel. Then, gradually, the first schools for industrial design started to appear also in Italy, and once they dropped the word “industrial”, Italian design began to take its first steps towards craftsmanship. Thus starting the slow rapprochement with European arts and crafts.

time. We keep talking about cultured craftsmanship, of self-production, of the value of crafting objects, but the truth is that Italy is still very distant from the European craft culture: it is hard to find an Italian author in international magazines dedicated to the applied arts and no Italian ceramist is exhibited at specialist fairs, where a finely crafted piece of pottery can cost between 20,000 and 30,000 euro (and for most of them, to sell one of their works for at least 4,000 euro is still a dream). In fact, when we take a good look at our own production and compare it with what characterises European artistic crafts, we find that they are profoundly different: international artists have developed superior manual skills, which they have trained for many years, and this makes them more competent and competitive; while even our most creative artists have been brought up in the culture of design, which makes them less skilled from a manual point of view and decidedly more conceptual.

B

Italian design began to contemplate the possibility of one-off productions, or limited series, and when serial furniture production began to slump, it appeared that Italy too could join the large disciplinary, artistic and productive field that in many other European countries had been well rooted for a long

Between us and them lies a wide gap that needs to be filled. A gap that, in Italy, starts in the lack of infrastructure: considering that we are talking about one-offs, or almost, the absence of workshops, institutions, museums and dedicated galleries ultimately affects also the widespread practice of collecting, which potentially involves a large segment of society. When can we hope to get together and talk about this situation and verify the state of evolution of Italian design? The last conference on this topic was the one that I organised at the Milan Triennale in 1996: it was entitled Fatto ad arte and it lasted four days.


VISIT ONE OF SWITZER lAND’S LARGEST MUSEUMS MUSÉE D’ART ET D’HISTOIRE

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RUE CHARLES-GALLAND 2, 1204 GENÈVE Open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., closed on Monday

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@mahgeneve blog.mahgeneve.ch 


20

Historical thought

PLATFORMS TO GUIDE THE EDUCATION REVOLUTION A portal where educational institutions can signal their skills: Cologni Foundation’s visionary project is discussed with Nobel laureate Michael Spence

DANIELE FANO: I am currently working on a project supported by the Cologni Foundation, which envisages an “information kit” that every school or training institution should use for its recurring courses. The kit will be based on three pillars plus one: selection, quality of infrastructure and teachers, outcomes after graduation, plus the ability to interact with employers and a changing labour market. The kit will be the basic tool for each institution to signal its qualities. Schools that are able to reach certain standards will enter a Portal dedicated to those who want to invest in their own skills and to employers looking for institutions capable of training suitable candidates. MICHAEL SPENCE: I can see various challenges. One is making sure educational institutions have continuity in time. I suspect that, from this point of view, some correlation with government involvement is positive. Institutions that survive have some sort of funding. Once some degree of continuity is assured, the most powerful factor will be represented by endorsements from employers. DF: Tracking continuity is in fact one of the building blocks. The idea is to build cohorts by student classes and to follow them across time.

Another issue is that nobody, not even the best schools, likes being evaluated. MS: Sure. In fact the valuation revolution in higher education started in the United Stated in the late 80s. It was led by the media because it sold magazines and newspapers. Furthermore, the information was valuable, and was of general interest. Institutions ended up being more or less forced to disclose data, including the information from the students. How did they get away with it? If you didn’t disclose you were not listed. Of course, now the information is moving on-line. Platforms are very powerful solutions. The five recent most successful private equity growth-oriented investments have been in platforms. Why? Platforms are relevant for two reasons. One is the audience: because of the network structure, they “make” the information market. Second, even more important, is that every party gets in repeated games (Ed.- repeated games study the effect of repetition on strategic behaviour) where they accumulate information about each other, in situations where (take the case of Airbnb) the information gap can be two-sided. Thus platforms allow to address and solve huge information problems through the reputation effect or, as some call it, the “trust issue”.

M

* Daniele Fano, economist and manager, holds degrees from the universities of Siena and Harvard, and currently focuses on employment and human capital. Michael Spence received the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences 2001 for his contribution to education and the labour market. He is currently investigating the areas of growth, information and new technologies.

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09/03/16 12:22


by

o* n a F iele n a D

You can call it signalling, but it is really solving the problem in a different way. DF: Combining a variety of signals? MS: Yes. In the labour market, as I studied it many years ago, the gaps and the asymmetries remain and are real. However, the point is that in many cases the repeated game context changes the incentive structure enough to quasi-solve the signal problem. Once repeated games validate a signal, anybody coming later will benefit. Some platforms like LinkedIn allow people with skills to have them endorsed, that is to signal that they have acquired specific skills. This provides an important incentive to acquire those skills. DF: And what about the broader labour issues, such as unemployment, under-employment etc.? MS: I believe that globalisation has essentially run its course in terms of its impact on developed economies. The effects of technology are a completely different story and we can easily make an argument that they are nearer to the start than to the end. What are the pieces to that? One is 3D printing, which is localised production, relatively efficient, and “production on demand” as opposed to “forecast demand”: this means there is no unsold inventories at retail. The second is robotics. I show the students in my course what a robot can do now and could not do five years ago, like assembling a razor. The third one is a major set of breakthroughs in artificial intelligence. The vision used to be: “If we know something, then we can write it down and the machine can do it.” The blockage used to be: “If we don’t completely understand how we humans do something, then we can’t ‘tell’ the machine how to do it.” At a certain stage, scientists realised that a machine can learn to do something via pattern recognition using access

to gigantic databases where, for example, it can scan millions of chairs and learn how to recognise them. This has produced surprising increments in what machines can now do: things like language translation. A closely related field is big data analytics, which uses large databases and computing power to identify patterns and regularities that are difficult or impossible to find otherwise. DF: In your opinion, what could be a possible key factor in tackling our project? MS: The key, for the kind of project you are trying to engineer, is to have a component about anticipating trends in demand for skills. You want to encourage the acquisition of skills that are complementary to evolving trends. If you know that some specific innovation is going to be implemented, you can prepare the necessary skills in advance. A plan to build human capital supported by the appropriate infrastructure will eventually attract both the tradable and the non-tradable sector: both will need high skills. The area of defining an appropriate set of skills is coming to be perceived as the major challenge in the US, maybe because some other major challenges have been, at least in part, already addressed. In Europe, getting a leg up this would represent an advance. Speaking in broader terms, I believe there is a lot of work to do on complex networks, how to understand them and how they interact. In complex networks, pieces, connections have to be built. These connections are all investments. The more I think of it, the more I believe the next version of microeconomics will be radically different and will view markets as networks. We will need a completely different conceptual apparatus with information flows as the centrepieces and connections giving them structure.

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A plan to build human capital supported by the appropriate infrastructure will eventually attract both the tradable and the non-tradable sector

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by Stefania Montani

Artisans Books Awards Initiatives Fairs Shows


ALBUM COSTANZA ALGRANTI via Guglielmo Pepe 20-28, Milan The “Isola� quarter is one of the pulsing hearts of the Milanese craft and design scene. This is where Costanza Algranti set up her showroom-workshop twenty years ago, launching an innovative project: to give a second life to used building materials such as gutters, copper drain pipes, metal sheets, wooden railings from old scaffolding. Each of her creations, which she designs and forges herself, is unique, because the material she uses is also unique. She has an ability to see the potential of their essence, the soul of these abandoned materials, and to transform them into tables, lamps, kitchen cabinets, chairs, picture frames. Her work with copper is particularly remarkable: after opening up gutters and flashings by hand, she carefully flattens them with a hammer. Then, armed only with brushes, she brings out the patterns and colours that the years and the weather have created on the metal. The copper plates are finished with flatting and beeswax, and used to cover the surfaces of tables and cabinets, to which she fixes them with nails that form rows of stitching. In 2012, Costanza Algranti received the Green Culture Award for renewable energy, promoted by the Province of Potenza. She has passed on her passion for her craft to her nephew Pietro, who has been working with her for the past five years. costanzaalgranti.it


ALBUM artisans BENJAMIN CINA & FILS Route du Clovelli 14 Crans-Montana (Switzerland) In the centre of the Swiss town of Montana, in a large chalet several floors high, rises a traditional woodworking enterprise that was founded by Benjamin Cina in the 1950s. Following in Benjamin’s steps, his three sons Stéphane, François and Lionel have also become cabinet makers, continuing and developing the business. Stacked up against the walls in the large room near the entrance is a wide variety of seasoned wood (mainly spruce, pine and walnut), while the centre of the room is occupied by the machines that are used to cut, saw, plane and finish the wood in the first, preliminary phases of the production process. In the neighbouring workshop are the long workbenches with the chisels, files, hammers employed by the craftsmen to masterfully execute all the finishing steps by hand. Everything here can be made to measure: from bookcases to kitchens with shelves and cabinets, from small hi-fi tables to radiator panels, from banisters and balconies to entire wall and ceiling boiseries. The Cina brothers also skilfully restore furniture damaged as a result of age, including chairs and armchairs. cinabsa.ch

DESRUES BIJOUX ZA du pré de la Dame Jeanne Plailly (France) A very well-known name in France is that of the maison Desrues, founded in Paris in 1929. Originally the business was run by a craftsman called Chandelier, from whom Georges Desrues took over when the former retired. The workshop was specialised in accessories and costume jewellery for the city’s couturiers, and very soon it became the sole supplier of Madeleine Vionnet, followed by Christian Dior, Jeanne Lanvin, Yves Saint Laurent and Coco Chanel who entrusted Desrues with the entire production of her accessories. Maison Chanel

acquired the firm in 1984. In recent years, production has expanded to the point that the workshop was moved to larger premises in the north of Paris. In the modern building at Plailly, in the department of Oise, 200 specialised artisans aided by sophisticated instruments, carve, chisel, enamel and gild fine accessories for the top luxury brands. The creativity of maison Desrues is extraordinary: a hundred new models are presented to the public eight times a year, ranging from earrings to cufflinks, pearl necklaces, belt buckles, jewel buttons and chains. desrues-paris.com

CRIZU corso Magenta 31, Genova Cristina Corradi Bonino has always had a great passion for books, for the texture of paper, for typeface. As well as a rare talent for paper restoration. One day, in a New York gallery, she came across a Chinese book that had been carved and turned into sculpture... This sparked her imagination, starting her adventure in the metamorphosis of old books - the ones that are doomed to be reduced to pulp - to which she gives a new form preserving their integrity. Because the pages are not cut, but only folded, to transform each book into a sculpture, a lamp, a decorative object: real works of art, as unique as the books from which they are made. This beautiful project has been carried on by Cristina’s daughter, Anna Bonino, who has skilfully mastered the technique that she learned from her mother, from whom she also inherited the passion. The folding and “styling” is carried out inside the workshop, whereas two skilled craftsmen make the wooden bases for individual creations and the Plexiglas display cases. Recently, the sculpture books have also been joined by a collection of limited edition jewellery, such as earrings and necklaces, made with book pages to which various ornamentations are applied: pearls, semi-precious stones, crystals. These creations are entirely handmade in the workshop and can be ordered online. crizu.it


ALBUM books COSTRUTTORI DI VALORE. IL RUOLO STRATEGICO DEL SAPER FARE ITALIANO by Maurizio Dallocchio with Alessandra Ricci and Matteo Vizzaccaro (Marsilio Editori). Commissioned by the Fondazione Cologni and supported by Vacheron Constantin, this study investigates the relationship between artistic craftsmanship, creation of value and economic growth, identifying the promotion, training and support activities that are necessary to sustain this business model.

PHILIP TREACY 69 Elizabeth Street, Belgravia (London) He says that every hat he has ever made has always sprung to life directly in his mind, like a photograph: he can imagine it on the model’s head before he even picks up the materials and starts to work. One of the most innovative and brilliant creators of hats of the last 20 years is Irish by birth and a Londoner by adoption. Philip Treacy has created models for Alexander McQueen, Givenchy, Karl Lagerfeld, Chanel, Valentino, Ralph Lauren, Donna Karan. His hats are worn by stars of the entertainment world and the aristocracy, including the British Royal Family at the wedding of Prince William. Treacy’s incredible manual skills enable him to model all sorts of materials, and he will use even the most unusual ones, provided that the result is harmonious. His Belgravia workshop is strewn with silk, Plexiglas, felt, leather, Swarovski crystals and pearls. Thanks to his mastery of the techniques of an ancient craft and to the genius and modernity of his inspiration, Philip Treacy always creates new and extraordinarily original headpieces. In 2007, Treacy was awarded an honorary OBE in recognition of his services to the British Fashion industry. philiptreacy.co.uk

LIVING WITH ART by Ugo La Pietra (Corraini Edizioni) This Italian/English volume covers the Italian designer’s research and works from the 1960s to the present day. In the 16 chapters that span from Arts’ Synaesthesia to Disequilibrating System and from Neo-Eclecticism to Living the Time, the book highlights Ugo La Pietra’s significant contribution to the evolution of design and to the development of applied arts. THE GENTLEMAN OF STYLE by Michele Bönan (Assouline) Architect and interior designer Michele Bönan likens each of his ventures to a film script. Beautiful pictures illustrate his projects for some of the most exclusive residences in the world, including yachts, hotels and restaurants: from his first project for the home of tennis player Adriano Panatta to boutique hotels such as J.K. Place in Capri and the Marquis Faubourg Saint-Honoré in Paris. GASTONE RINALDI DESIGNER ALLA RIMA edited by Giuseppe and Jacopo Drago (Capitolium Art) With his remarkable creative vitality, Rinaldi has been one of the great protagonists of Italian design, together with his friends Ponti, Zanuso, De Lucchi, Mollino and Gardella. He is best known for the many chairs he designed, among which the DU30 that won the Compasso d’Oro prize in 1954. The book, published in Italian with English texts, contains original documents from the Archivio Gastone Rinaldi. LOUIS VUITTON. THE SPIRIT OF TRAVEL/ L’ÂME DU VOYAGE Patrick Mauriès and Pierre Léonforte (Flammarion) The people, places, objects, the evolutions in technology and design that have made the Louis Vuitton brand the epitome of travel and a global success. From the classic travel chest to Nicolas Ghesquières’s trunk-inspired collection and from the emblematic monogram to the house’s recent creations. Available in English or French. MADE IN MILANO LE BOTTEGHE DEL CINQUECENTO Various authors (Franco Maria Ricci) Published with the support of Cariparma Crédit Agricole, this splendid volume illustrates the production of Milan’s workshops in the days of the Visconti and Sforza dynasties. Renowned for its treasure of extraordinary savoir faire, the capital of Italian luxury supplied the courts of Europe with fine silks, hand-embossed silver, rock crystal and gemstones.

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ALBUMfairs 1

CREMONA MONDOMUSICA Cremona, CremonaFiere 30 September - 2 October 2016 The world’s largest and most qualified showcase of handcrafted musical instruments takes place in the homeland of the greatest violin makers of all times: Stradivari, Amati and Guarneri. The unique musical tradition of Cremona is presented on the international stage in an important annual exhibition with many high-profile collateral events, courses, meetings and concerts. The new CRFiere app is very useful to visitors for practical operations and to find the right people to deal with. cremonamondomusica.it

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ARTIGIANATO & PALAZZO Florence, Palazzo Corsini 12-15 May 2016 Created in 1995, the fair provides a contemporary context for artisans and their crafts: from hand-woven canes and aquatic leaves to jewellery, from silver embossing to iron forging, from glass milling to the working of leather, from weaving to wood carving. The event aims at promoting the excellence of knowhow internationally, dedicating ample space to young artisans and innovative crafts. The “Blogs&Crafts” contest is aimed at promoting young Italian craftspeople on the global market. artigianatoepalazzo.it

LONDON CRAFT WEEK London, 3-7 May 2016 The craft event successfully launched last year, of which Vacheron Constantin is founding partner, will showcase exceptional craftsmanship from around the world through a journey-of-discovery programme of over 130 events across the city, featuring hidden workshops and unknown makers alongside celebrated masters, famous studios, galleries, shops and luxury brands. Visitors will experience the magic of true creativity, see what real quality means and meet some of the world’s most respected makers and artists. clerkenwelldesignweek.com 2

100% DESIGN London, Olympia Conference Centre 21-24 September 2016 Interiors, workplace, kitchens & bathrooms, design & build, sustainable furnishings, established and emerging brands and designers: a whole district

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PARIS DESIGN WEEK Paris, 3-10 September 2016 From the Docks-Cité de la Mode et du Design to the Marais-Bastille, from Barbès-Stalingrad to OpéraConcorde-Etoile, the city of Paris will be invaded by the many events of the international showcase of design, now in its sixth edition. Coordinated by Maison et Objet, the event hosts companies and creative talents from all over the world, presenting their latest creations. For five days, Paris Design week will offer exciting new insights into decoration, design and the art of living. maison-objet.com

of London comes alive to participate in this four-day event dedicated to contemporary design. The exhibition also features talks with many international icons of architecture and design. 100percentdesign.co.uk

SALONE DEL MOBILE Milan, Rho Fiera 12-17 April 2016 The 55th Furniture fair of Milan is a stimulating international showcase of the latest in furniture and design, offering a wide selection of the finest products and service. Three collateral exhibitions and a short film by Matteo Garrone (to be screened in one of the pavilions) contribute to the attractions of the fair. The Salone del Mobile will be animated also by the EuroCucina biennial, the collateral event “Technology For the Kitchen” and the Salone internazionale del bagno, entirely dedicated to bathrooms. “Space&interiors” is organised at The Mall (in the heart of the Porta Nuova Design District)


ALBUM awards initiatives PRIX AVENIR MÉTIERS D’ART The annual contest promoted by the Institut National des Métiers d’Art (INMA) in Paris rewards creativity, talent and dexterity of young craftspeople up to the age of 26, helping them to realise their projects. The competition is held with the support of the Fondation Michelle et Antoine Riboud and Banque Populaire. Participation is restricted to students from vocational schools and technical institutes in France. Applications are accepted until 15 June 2016 at http://institut-metiersdart.org/actions/prix-avenirmetiers-d-art-inma.

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by MADE expo, the trade show for architecture and the building construction industry: surfaces, flooring, doors and interior finishings will be featured in a distinctive display curated by Migliore+Servetto Architects. The Salone Satellite will present the innovative works of selected young designers. With an app for iPhone, iPad and the most popular Android devices. salonemilano.it

ASSOCIAZIONE STUDIO DI TESSITURA PAOLA BESANA The aim of this new non-profit association is to promote and transmit the theory and practice of weaving design. Paola Besana weaver, designer, textile artist and scholar of ethnic fabrics and looms - is an undisputed expert of this art. Besana organises many courses from beginner to advanced level, including weaving theory, two-block threadings with supplementary wefts, rug-weaving on a rigid-heddle loom, advanced double weave on eight shafts. The Association organises also workshops on textile design and objects. Course students work on individual looms and are provided with the necessary yarns, a handout, a bibliography with useful addresses and access to the artist’s personal library, containing 1,500 volumes on textiles from around the world. paolabesana.it

HOMI Milan, Rho Fiera 16-19 September 2016 The lifestyle fair develops over 10 satellite areas, each dedicated to a specific sector: living habits, home wellness, fragrances & personal care, fashion & jewels, gift & events, garden & outdoor, kid style, home textiles, hobby & work, concept lab. A dynamic itinerary for a new conception of trade fair that revolves around the individual, his styles and spaces. homimilano.com 3

MOSTRA INTERNAZIONALE DELL’ARTIGIANATO Florence, Fortezza da Basso 23 April - 1 May 2016 For more than 80 years, Florence has hosted the event that showcases the greatest artisans in the magnificent venue of the 16th-century Fortezza da Basso. Here, tradition and innovation merge in the unique creations of the most important master craftsmen of the world. mostraartigianato.it SALONE DELL’AUTO Turin, Parco del Valentino 8-12 June 2016 The open air car show presents the very latest models in the splendid setting of the Parco del Valentino. parcovalentino.com/salone-auto-torino

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A NEW MUSEUM IN BRUSSELS Last December, the Adam (the new Art and Design Atomium Museum) was inaugurated in Brussels. Its permanent collection, called Plasticarium, contains over 2,000 designer objects in plastic dating from the 1960s, collected by Philippe Decelle, a Belgian engineer. Many famous designers are exhibited: Joe Colombo, Eero Aarnio, Ettore Sottsass, Marco Zanuso, Richard Sapper, Anna Castelli Ferrie-

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ri, Kartell. Designed by Lhoas & Lhoas, the new museum covers a surface area of 5,000 square metres and will alternate temporary exhibitions to the permanent collection. adamuseum.be IDA, ITALIAN DESIGN AGENCY A London-based start up was recently launched with the purpose of promoting Italian creativity and knowhow. Ida-Italian Design Agency is the brainchild of Federico Baldelli, Francesco Santilli and Dario Martelli, three young men who met at the Luiss University of Rome. The agency connects businesses and designers, who access the site through dedicated areas: “I am a designer” and “I want to hire a designer”. So far, Ida has selected 200 designers out of 1,500 candidates. italiandesignagency.com

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ALBUM shows L’EMPREINTE DU GESTE Paris, Les Arts Décoratifs 29 March - 3 April 2016 On the occasion of the European Artistic Crafts Days, Vacheron Constantin and the Institut National des Métiers d’Art are organising an exhibition to spotlight the work of 18 outstanding artist-artisans. Passion, creativity, inventiveness, sense of beauty and the importance of dialogue will be the protagonists of this exceptional exhibition. lesartsdecoratifs.fr 1

EERO AARNIO Helsinki, Design Museum 8 April - 25 September 2016 Professor and interior architect Eero Aarnio, now 83, is one of the most internationally known names in the history of modern design. Helsinki celebrates the explosive career of the eclectic Finnish designer with the most comprehensive overview of his work in furniture, lamps, small objects, chairs: the famous Ball, Bubble, Tomato, Pastil, Formula (below)... and unique one-off pieces from the 1950s to the present, along with original drawings and sketches. designmuseum.fi ROOMS. NOVEL LIVING CONCEPTS Milan, Triennale di Milano 2 April - 12 September 2016 Beppe Finessi curated the exhibition showcasing interior architecture as interpreted by leading architects who address the most meaningful and profound issues of contemporary society, which the

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philosopher Francesco Cataluccio has drawn from philosophical and literary works. 11 rooms designed by 11 architects for different functions and purposes: Umberto Riva, Alessandro Mendini, Manolo De Giorgi, Lazzarini and Pickering, Marta Laudani and Marco Romanelli, Andrea Anastasio, Fabio Novembre, Duilio Forte, Elisabetta Terragni, Carlo Ratti, Francesco triennale.org Librizzi. 2

TISSUS INSPIRÉS PIERRE FREY Paris, Les Arts Décoratifs Until 12 June 2016 Concurrently with the Faire le mur! exhibition, the museum pays tribute to eighty years of world-famous wallpaper publishing house Pierre Frey: featuring the finest creations produced by the French maison since 1935, with a special homage by seven artists of different nationalities working in different fields. lesartsdecoratifs.fr VESTAE Milan, Albergo Diurno Venezia 12 - 17 April 2016 Using sponges, soap and waffle fabric, the 20 students of the Creative Academy (the international postgraduate School of Design promoted by the Richemont group) are elaborating a collection dedicated to

wellness, under the direction of Eligo. The Vestae project is developed with the Fondazione Cologni dei Mestieri d’Arte, the support of Van Cleef & Arpels. creative-academy.com 3

MATERIA PRIMA, LA CERAMICA DELL’ARTE CONTEMPORANEA Montelupo Fiorentino Until 30 June 2016 Montelupo was one of the main centres for ceramics in Europe during the Middle Ages up until the Modern Era, reaching its golden age between 1490 and 1550. The whole town is involved in this open-air exhibition that goes from Piazza Vittorio Veneto to Piazza Centi, from the old town walls to the embankment of the river Pesa, from the old furnace of Palazzo Podestarile to the ancient well that supplied the communal washhouse. The project, organised by the Fondazione Montelupo onlus with the support of the Centro per l’arte contemporanea Luigi Pecci, was curated by Marco Tonelli and focuses on works created for the event by contemporary artists Ugo La Pietra, Hidetoshi Nagasawa, Fabrizio Plessi, Gianni Asdrubali, Loris Cecchini, Bertozzi & Casoni and Lucio Perone, in collaboration with local artisans. Palazzo Podestarile, the former seat of Montelupo’s ceramic museum, will host an exhibition dedicated


29 to Leoncillo (of whom the 100th birth anniversary recurred last year) and his influence on artists who, like him, expressed their art through the medium of ceramics. Palazzo Podestarile will also host a Project Room and a “Raw Materials” section dedicated to young artists. museomontelupo.it MANUS X MACHINA. FASHION IN AN AGE OF TECHNOLOGY New York, The Met Fifth Avenue 5 May - 14 August 2016 The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute explores the impact of new technologies on fashion and how designers are integrating the hand-made and the machine-made in haute couture and avant-garde readyto-wear. The exhibition offers a fresh vision of hand (manus) and machine (machina) not as antagonists but as equal protagonists. Through more than 120 garments dating from an 1880s gown by Worth to a 2015 Chanel suit, the show will trace the evolution of haute couture in the 19th century and the emergence of a distinction between handcrafting and automation at the dawn of mass production. The exhibition also presents the traditional métiers of haute couture (embroidery, featherwork, artificial flowers, pleating, lacework, leatherwork)

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alongside innovative processes (3D printing, circular knitting, computer modelling, laminating, laser cutting, ultrasonic welding). metmuseum.org FASHION FORWARD. TROIS SIÈCLES DE MODE (1715-2015) Paris, Les Arts Décoratifs 7 April - 14 August 2016 With its 150,000 works from across history, France’s foremost national fashion collection is the result of the union of two admirable collections: that of the Musée des Arts Décoratifs (since its creation in 1864) and that of the Union Française des Arts du Costume, founded in 1948. To mark the 30th anniversary of the opening of the Musée des Arts de la Mode, set up on the initiative of Pierre Bergé and the French textile industry, Les Arts Décoratifs pays tribute to this collective adventure with 300 exhibits - including bags, shoes and accessories - selected from three centuries of fashion for men, women and children: from the late 1600s to the contemporary creations by Balenciaga and Elsa Schiaparelli. The exhibition recreates the human, artistic and social context of the different periods, including 18th-century wood panelling and scenic wallpapers by Zuber. lesartsdecoratifs.fr

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ENGINEERING THE WORLD: OVE ARUP AND THE PHILOSOPHY OF TOTAL DESIGN London, Victoria & Albert Museum 18 June - 6 November 2016 Ove Arup (1895-1988) was one of the most influential engineers of the 20th century. The exhibition features his designs and digital animations, and focuses on his philosophy, his theories of collaborative working, total architecture and design as a humanistic and technological tool for social responsibility. vam.ac.uk 4

UNDRESSED: A BRIEF HISTORY OF UNDERWEAR London, Victoria & Albert Museum 16 April 2016 – 12 March 2017 The exhibition explores the function of underwear for men and women from 1750 to the present day, looking at its practicalities and highlighting its sensual appeal. From 19th-century corsets that created a “wasp waist” silhouette to 18th-century whalebone hoops used to support the fullness of skirts, right up to lacy garters and the leotard: inventions that not only changed fashion but also our way of life. vam.ac.uk


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This page, Korean master craftsman Myung Bae Park employs the Somok technique, traditionally used to make magnificent pieces of furniture and objects. Opposite page, 500-year-old zelkova wood undergoes various processes to enhance the durability of the HAM.


Cultural preservation

THE COSMOS

IN A BOX by In Jae Jeong

photos by Choongho Park

TO CELEBRATE ITS 260TH ANNIVERSARY, VACHERON CONSTANTIN SUPPORTED THE MAKING OF A TRADITIONAL KOREAN HAM: A PRECIOUS CASE THAT ENCAPSULATES THE ETERNAL DIALECTIC BETWEEN HEAVEN AND EARTH

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According to a very ancient and fascinating conception of the cosmos that is deeply rooted in East Asian cultures, heaven is round and earth is square: Cheon Won Ji Bang is a dialogue between shapes that is also the powerful expression of life and fecundity. References to this philosophy can be found in numerous traditional Korean cultural heritage: in the royal clothing of the Chosun dynasty, for example, and also in the local architecture and artistic objects. Of these, one of the most representative is the HAM, which in Korean means “precious box”. This finely decorated, hand-made wooden case holds a brass circular board mounted on a square base. The eternal dialectic between heaven and earth and the perpetuity of time are summed up in the harmo-

Heaven is round and Earth is square: a conception of the cosmos that is deeply rooted in East Asian cultures ny of these elementary shapes, and these intangible elements are materialised in the form of a HAM. In 2015, Vacheron Constantin, the oldest fine watchmaker in the world, partnered with the Korea Cultural Heritage Foundation and the Ministry of Culture and Tourism to launch a project for the making of a HAM. The occasion was the 260th anniversary of the Geneva maison, and the

purpose of the project is to safeguard another important traditional artistic craft of the world, a cause to which Vacheron Constantin is relentlessly committed. The task was entrusted to the expert hands of three Korean master craftsmen, specially selected for the project, who are all titled as National Intangible Heritage Assets: Myung Bae Park, a wood furniture artisan, Dae Hyun Sohn, a lacquering artisan, and Moon Yeol Park, a metal craft artisan. Through them, the quintessence of Korean tradition is reflected in every single element of the box. The project took shape through a generative dialogue between Vacheron Constantin, the Korea Cultural Heritage Foundation and the artisans. The design draws inspiration from a watch box

Above, from left: details of the HAM’s joints; master craftsman Moon Yeol Park uses the Jeong, a traditional Korean chisel, to engrave the ornamental hinge of the box with good fortune symbols. Opposite page, Moon Yeol Park’s tools are similar to those traditionally used during the royal Chosun dynasty.


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THREE MASTER ARTISANS COLLABORATED ON THE HAM PROJECT, TO


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SAFEGUARD AND PERPETUATE KOREA’S HERITAGE OF TRADITIONAL CRAFTS


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and then developed into something more rooted in the tradition of the Chosun dynasty: the Bo Rok, which was a bigger box that stored a smaller HAM containing the royal seal. The artisans worked for more than a year on the project, which was divided into three main phases: Somok, a traditional woodcraft technique that emphasises the inherent beauty of the material in the natural grain of the wood, which must not be less than 500 years old; Ot-Chil, the term used to describe the typical Korean brushing and lacquering process, which requires more than 30 layers of lacquering to obtain a refined quality and to prevent the surfaces from distorting; and, finally, Dusoek, a technique used to make the brass hinges of the box and the decorations

The design of the box developed into something rooted in the tradition of the Chosun dynasty bearing good fortune symbols for the owners of the precious object. The brass round board inserted on the centre of the supporting board at the bottom of the HAM was made with a traditional forging technique called Danjo, which makes the thickness of the board even and balanced. The completed HAM was presented on 3 September 2015 in Seoul, the capital of South Korea. “This

project was our own, special way of celebrating the brand’s 260th anniversary,” says Christian Selmoni, artistic director of Vacheron Constantin, “and we will continue to support and protect Korea’s traditional artistic crafts.” Seo Dosik, chairman of Korea Cultural Heritage Foundation, added: “Geneva watchmaking and Métiers d’Art artisans, and Korea’s traditional craft artisans have something in common: making an artwork of their technical and artistic achievement through a long-suffering work.” After the inaugural presentation at the Korea Furniture Museum, the exhibition will be repeated in other cities around the world, to present the beauty of this precious object and pass on the great philosophy that it represents.

Above, in a preliminary phase, master lacquerer artist Dae Hyun Sohn covers the wood with a hemp cloth. Opposite page, the HAM project was launched by Vacheron Constantin to protect and transmit Korean traditional artistic crafts. Earlier pages, the hands of master craftsman Myung Bae Park.


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One-off alabaster objects designed by Ugo La Pietra in the 1990s and now restored and reissued by the Milanese art gallery Fatto ad Arte; in the background, a view of the Arco della Pace in Milan. Top, illustration by Ugo La Pietra.

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Celebrating design

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REFINED LIKE PRECIOUS MARBLE, TRANSLUCENT LIKE OPAL AND ALMOST AS CLEAR AS GLASS. AN EXHIBITION IN MILAN UNVEILS THE SECRETS OF ALABASTER FROM VOLTERRA, WITH WHICH UGO LA PIETRA AND ANGELO MANGIAROTTI HAVE CREATED CONTEMPORARY WORKS

STONE by R affaella Fossati

photos by Aurelia Raffo


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This page, Ugo La Pietra’s “Cactus” vase refers to roots and nature. Opposite page, a 1980s design by Angelo Mangiarotti: the dark veins and translucence of the stone are typical of the Scaglione, a type of alabaster that has been excavated since antiquity.


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Around alabaster revolve all the activities of the little town of Volterra, in the heart of Tuscany. The art of alabaster and the splendour of Volterra developed during the Etruscan civilisation

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To dedicate an in-depth exploration to the fascinating medium of alabaster from Volterra and to display the results in an exhibition of contemporary works that have, in the meantime, become part of history, is a cultural choice that is consistent with my vision and with my gallery’s identity. In fact, over the course of two decades, the Galleria Fatto ad Arte (that is opening a new venue in Milano for this exhibition from 7 April to 7 May) has encouraged the renovation of Italy’s traditional artistic craftsmanship through various cultural and commercial initiatives. The choice is cultural because the exhibition aims at familiarising visitors with the work of Angelo

Mangiarotti and Ugo La Pietra - two of the most representative protagonists of the international design scene - through a series of objects from our best handcrafting tradition. Significantly, in the same historical period (between the 1980s and 1990s) though at different moments, both Mangiarotti and La Pietra chose alabaster from Volterra to give shape to their artistic and conceptual research. It is no surprise that this material fascinated and inspired them in equal measure, because alabaster is many things at the same time: historical and cultural stratification, transparency and compactness, fragility and solidity, malleability, preciousness and variability of the


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Celebrating design

This material is so soft and malleable that it can be worked with simple tools, similar to those used for wood. The skilled hands of the artisan-artist can transform alabaster into the most diverse and precious shapes

stone’s natural veining and clouding. Sharing identical objectives and approach, Mangiarotti and La Pietra gave shape to their expressive language working side by side with the master craftsmen of Volterra, pushing them into unknown territories that are indispensable, today, for whoever wants to experiment with this extraordinary material from a creative perspective. Their quest resulted in unique works that are, unfortunately, little known and that the Fatto ad Arte gallery has collected, restored and catalogued over the years, thanks to the precious contribution of the Mangiarotti Foundation, the Ugo La Pietra Archive and Alessandro Corda of Ali Alabastri Italiani.

The latter has carried out meticulous restoration work with the collaboration of the other artisans involved (Cooperativa Artieri Alabastro, Giorgio Pecchioni), using the alabaster originally employed by Mangiarotti and La Pietra, known as “Scaglione di Volterra�, which is no longer excavated. We can now admire these objects, unaffected by the passing of time, knowing that, unfortunately, it will be increasingly difficult to find artisans who can master this ancient technique. At the same time, we hope that this exhibition will stimulate the encounter of creativity and manual skill without the false representation of an Italy that does not exist.


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On the right, “Bonsai� cake stand by Ugo La Pietra. Opposite page, a design by Angelo Mangiarotti. Mangiarotti seeks pure, sculptural forms, La Pietra investigates the expressive potential of the material in a domestic dimension.


by Akemi Okumura Roy

photos by Colin Roy

IAN LAWSON

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Discovering talents

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GLOBAL QUALITY ENTIRELY HANDMADE IN THE WESTERN ISLES BY 150 REGISTERED WEAVERS. HARRIS TWEED IS THE ONLY FABRIC IN THE WORLD THAT IS REGULATED BY ITS OWN ACT OF PARLIAMENT

AUTHENTICITY, STANDARD AND REPUTATION The Harris Tweed Act 1993 prescribes that Harris Tweed must be hand-woven by the islanders at their homes in the Outer Hebrides, finished in the Outer Hebrides, and made from pure virgin wool dyed and spun in the Outer Hebrides. The Harris Tweed certification mark can only be borne by material that has been officially authenticated as genuine.


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Discovering talents

Clò Mòr, Big Cloth, is the Gaelic name for Harris Tweed. To this day, this famous and magical fabric is entirely handmade in the Outer Hebrides, the remote island chain off the west coast of mainland Scotland. Harris Tweed is the only fabric in the world governed and protected by its own Act of Parliament: in 1993, the Harris Tweed Act established the Harris Tweed Authority, successor to the Harris Tweed Association founded as far back as 1909. The “Orb”

family use. Then, in the mid-19th century, Lady Dunmore inherited an estate on the Isle of Harris from her late husband, the 6th Earl of Dunmore. Having foresighted the potential of this splendid fabric, Lady Dunmore endeavoured to promote and develop it, thus initiating the Harris Tweed industry. Harris Tweed Hebrides, at Shawbost, is the biggest of the three remaining tweed mills in the Outer Hebrides and it accounts for 75% of the industry output.

street clothing and luxury ladieswear. Many leading designers and fashion brands use Harris Tweed, including Alexander McQueen, Chanel, Saint Laurent, Ermenegildo Zegna, Margaret Howell, J Crew, Rag and Bone and Vivienne Westwood. The company was named Textile Brand of the Year in 2009 and 2011 at the Vogue.com Scottish Fashion Awards and has won national accolades for both production and exporting, including UK Fashion

trademark - one of the oldest in the United Kingdom, originally registered in 1910, bearing a globe surmounted by a Maltese cross - protects, preserves and certifies genuine Harris Tweed worldwide. To be authentic, Harris Tweed must be made from pure virgin wool and hand woven at the home of the weaver, and all stages of the process must be carried out in the Outer Hebrides. The Harris Tweed Authority issues the Orb trademark only after strict inspection. In the old days, this tweed was hand-woven by crofters for

The old mill closed in 2005, when the whole industry was at a low ebb, and it was taken over by the new company in 2007. The mill has been revitalised through the hard work of the Harris Tweed Hebrides team, who have made important changes both on the creative and on the commercial side, transforming it into a very dynamic company. The Shawbost mill formed a number of key collaborations with the fashion industry for high-end men’s clothing and also in new market sectors, including interiors, furniture, accessories, footwear, high-

and Textile Company of the Year 2013 and Scottish Exporter of the Year 2015. What is interesting and very unique about Harris Tweed is that the weaving takes place only at the weaver’s home, while the mill does the dyeing, blending, carding, spinning, warping, darning, washing, finishing and stamping. Margaret Macleod, Brand Development Director at Harris Tweed Hebrides, explains that the whole industry is based on three basic elements: the Harris Tweed Authority, the mills and the self-employed hand weavers. None of

CLÒ MÒR, THE BIG CLOTH This page, independent weaver Norman Mackenzie uses a traditional Hattersley loom (right) from the 1920s. Specifically designed for hand weaving, this loom is not powered by electricity but by a foot treadle operated by the weaver. Opposite page, most Harris Tweed is now woven on double-width Griffith looms, introduced in the 1990s to meet commercial demand for a wider, lighter cloth.


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Discovering talents

the three can operate in isolation. When the industry was declining, at the turn of the 21st century, it skipped a whole generation. Fortunately, the situation has changed and, as with all artisan skills, the most successful learning comes through experienced colleagues and personal dedication. Today there are about 150 official Harris Tweed weavers registered with the Harris Tweed Authority, nineteen of whom are under the age of 30. The majority comes from Outer Hebrides

ing is very relaxing and really enjoyable.” Mackenzie takes the weaved cloth to a darning lady, who darns it, and then to the tweed mill, where it is washed and finished, inspected and stamped with the Orb mark before it is returned to him. “Harris Tweed is my blood,” declares Mackenzie. “I was born in a family of weavers and brought up here. As a child, I spent my time watching them weave and learning how to do it. I love to see the loom run. It will remain in

place at the mill are very creative, and this is what makes Harris Tweed different from any other tweed. The skills of dyeing, blending, carding, spinning, warping and finishing are taught through a shadowing process. Ken Kennedy is Head designer at Harris Tweed Hebrides; in his work, every phase in the production process is important and, he explains, he has to be aware of what happens in each department in order to obtain that unique blend of tradition and innovation

weaving families. Most Harris Tweed is woven on a double width loom called “Griffith Loom”, which was introduced in the early 1990s. It produces a lighter, softer cloth in a greater variety of designs. Before that, the 1920 “Hattersley loom” was widely used, which made a cloth that was 75cm wide. Norman Mackenzie is an independent weaver who still uses an old Hattersley model. Mackenzie was born and brought up on the Isle of Lewis. He designs, makes and sells his own tweed. “I weave 3 to 4 meters in one hour when I work non-stop,” he says. “Weav-

my blood until I die. I am very attached to this rare Hattersley loom, with which I like to keep the old tradition of single-width weaving alive. At the same time, weaving allows me to do a little bit of exercise, which does not do any harm!” Mackenzie also teaches weaving to young people. In the past, hand-weaving skills were transmitted by family members, but more recently, as less people had weaving experience, a formal accredited training course was introduced with experienced mentors. Even the production stages that take

that Harris Tweed Hebrides stands for. The Shawbost mill is now running with about 90 employees. Over one third are under the age of 30 and the mill regularly receives applications from many young people. In 2015, Harris Tweed Hebrides has been awarded the Investors in Young People accreditation in recognition of the company’s commitment and investment in training their younger workforce: thus contributing to rescue, preserve and transmit the distinctive qualities of tradition that are unique to Harris Tweed.

DISTINCTIVE FEATURES OF TRADITION This page, from left, Angela Smith is training in tweed design with Ken Kennedy, Head designer of Harris Tweed Hebrides; a wooden shuttle weaves in the weft yarn between the threads of the warp on a Hattersley loom. Opposite page, the final process of “stamping”: after strict examination by an inspector from the Harris Tweed Authority, the Orb trademark is ironed onto the tweed.


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by Giovanna Marchello

ARTIST JOANA VASCONCELOS DRAWS FROM THE REALM OF DOMESTICITY TO REINTERPRET EVERYDAY OBJECTS AND THE RICH CRAFT HERITAGE OF PORTUGAL

PARALLEL

DIMENSION


DMF, LISBON/©UNIDADE INFINITA PROJECTOS

Outstanding skills

«Valquíria Enxoval» (2009) was exhibited in the Battles Gallery of the Palace of Versailles, in an exhibition dedicated to the artist in 2012. This enormous textile body was produced with techniques that range from felt appliqués, bobbin lace, handmade woollen knitting and crochet. (joanavasconcelos.com).

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Above, «Gary» (2015), faience with ceramic glaze and Azores crocheted lace. Below, a portrait of Joana Vasconcelos. Opposite page, top, specialised artisans masterly assemble the artworks in the artist’s Lisbon studio. Below, «True Faith» (2014), handmade woollen crochet on canvas, exhibited at Manchester Art Gallery.

general, regardless of their provenance. As a Portuguese woman, living and working in Portugal, the Portuguese heritage comes easily as a starting point for my work, which arises from the critical observation of the world that surrounds us, inspired by life’s day-to-day aspects. Since a lot of my work relates to the idea of domesticity, it is natural that I often resort to products and crafts of the Portuguese heritage. My works with local artisans began to grow and develop as I had the opportunity to be in touch with different forms and techniques that are realised throughout Portugal, which led me to work particularly with a special form of felt embroidery and crochet that is characteristic of Nisa, in the Alentejo region, and a very sophisticated form of cotton crochet worked on the Pico Island, in the Azores. GM: Are the products/crafts of the Portuguese heritage the end or the means? JV: These are a means for the ideas and concepts I intend to develop, and I work these through a contemporary perspective. Through my work, these ancestral techniques are preserved but given a new life. Traditional techniques have often quite standardised forms, but I challenge these to broaden their own horizons, through colour, scale, new and original drawings... These products/crafts function as

ALFREDO CUNHA - LUÍS VASCONCELOS / COURTESY UNIDADE INFINITA PROJECTOS

Portuguese artist Joana Vasconcelos has gained international recognition with works that captivate and shock, amuse and amaze, move and involve, and never leave indifferent. Nothing in her world is small, minimalistic or understated: drawing from the realm of domesticity, Joana Vasconcelos recreates a colourful and outsize parallel world which speaks directly to the emotions and carries a universal message. To do so, she uses everyday objects and the wealth of Portugal’s craft heritage, which she decontextualises and reinterprets with deep respect for the authentic and original values they represent. Her studio, located in the docks of Lisbon, is a workshop of mirabilia where fifty-odd collaborators (artisans, carpenters, electricians, painters, architects, engineers, photographers...) knit, sew, cut, assemble and light up her visionary world. To remind us that, as José Saramago wrote in his Journey to Portugal: “The end of one journey is simply the start of another... You have to go back to the footsteps already taken, to go over them again or add fresh ones alongside them.” GIOVANNA MARCHELLO: The Portuguese heritage is central to your work. From what intuition did it arise and how did it develop? JOANA VASCONCELOS: I’m very interested in artisanal techniques and works in


LUÍS VASCONCELOS / COURTESY UNIDADE INFINITA PROJECTOS

Outstanding skills

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Outstanding skills

formal elements, much like a painter may use paint or a sculptor may use stone. It is very characteristic of my work, in general, to use everyday, recognisable objects to create new ones, igniting a discourse that goes far beyond their local nature. It’s not about direct relationships, but about forging new possibilities. The way I use crochet, for instance: I am especially interested in the ambiguity between the notions of protection and confinement, and in crochet as a second skin that both decorates and restricts. Practically speaking, I use it as a pattern, like pieces of a puzzle. GM: Which of your works do you feel represents this relationship more strongly? JV: The “Valkyries” series and, in particular, Valquíria Enxoval [Valkyrie Trousseau] (2009), a piece developed with local artisans of Nisa, a small town in the Alentejo region of Portugal renowned for its arts and crafts. Suspended from the ceiling, these large, strange and unusual textile bodies seem to hover over the spaces they inhabit, prospecting noble material for “divine tasks”. The creation of a “trousseau” capable of interpreting the craftsmanship of Nisa, rescuing it from an abandonment announced by the distraction and indifference of younger generations in relation to the values of a rich, unique and irreplaceable

Above, «Mistress» (2015). Below, Joana Vasconcelos at work. Opposite page, «Coração Independente Vermelho» («Red Independent Heart», 2005): measuring nearly four metres in height, this work is entirely made of translucent plastic cutlery and is inspired by the gold filigree hearts typical of Viana do Castelo.

heritage, seems to be the fate of Valquíria Enxoval. Shifting these single objects from their usual functions and subverting the familiarity and domesticity with which they are usually presented, I reinterpret, in light of contemporaneity, the aesthetical values evidenced through different techniques and themes characteristic of the artisanal work of Nisa. GM: Do these collaborations enable the artisans to have a more contemporary approach, for example, which can generate a new interest in the public for a production that would otherwise be relegated to the role of “folklore”? JV: My experience tells me that artisans face an artist’s intervention with some curiosity and suspicion. However, when we genuinely understand and respect their trade, their art, the result ends up conquering their interest and admiration. Some of the more significant advantages that arise from these collaborations is, actually, the fact that creatives can emphasise an identity, standing out among their peers; this also allows to maintain alive a precious field of memory and creativity. By taking advantage of the ability to claim and at the same time disseminate what is local - made possible through globalisation -, the products of these trades may be open to new audiences, and, thus, have the opportunity to evolve through time.

MATT CROSSICK/PA WIRE | COURTESY HAUNCH OF VENISON, LONDON - LUÍS VASCONCELOS / COURTESY UNIDADE INFINITA PROJECTOS

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LUÍS VASCONCELOS / COURTESY UNIDADE INFINITA PROJECTOS | CHÂTEAU DE VERSAILLES

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THE AESTHETICS OF IMPERFECTION Ancient Japanese design objects have inspired the vase-vessels (this page) by ceramicist Yoko Terai. Opposite page, ceramic artist Masanobu Ando made the plates that were presented at the Galeria Selene, in the city of Fukutsu, Fukuoka prefecture. The spoon is by the metal artist Yuki Sakano.


Living treasures

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TATAZUMAI

THE POWER OF AN OBJECT

JAPANESE CONTEMPORARY CRAFTS GENERATE AN IMPERFECT BEAUTY THAT FREES THE CREATIVITY OF THOSE WHO CONTEMPLATE IT

When we talk about Japanese arts and crafts, the most meaningful are the ones that have developed from time-honoured practices. If we consider pottery, for example, there are two schools that stand out: one more traditional, relating to the activities of the so-called Living National Treasures, the other more popular, celebrated and sacralised at the beginning of the 20th century by the Mingei folk-craft movement led by the philosopher Soetsu Yanagi. If we analyse contemporary crafts, however, the situation is quite different and less known. Non-traditional artisan production is influenced by the SoÂŻdeisha movement that formed in opposition to the Migei: in 1948 a group of ceramic artists led by Yagi Kazuo, Yamada Hikaru and Suzuki Osamu resolutely challenged the aesthetic and formal academicism of Soetsu Yanagi. Abandoning traditional forms and techniques in favour of conceptual sculptural works, they deliberately freed themselves from practical functionality. Keisuke Iwata and Masanobu Ando were young art students at that time and clay was already their material of choice. The wind of change was blowing in Japan and the influence from the US was particularly strong. The idea of breaking with the past fascinated them, prompting them to dream of becoming sculptors unburdened by the weight of history.

text and photos by Anthony Girardi


58 the surrounding atmosphere, creating a feeling of calm and inducing silence. Keisuke Iwata finds Tatazumai in the imperceptible changes that, from one day to the next, make the clay change the way in which it responds or resists, allowing shapes or invisible lines to appear that were not there moments earlier. Likewise, every morning master glassworker Hideki Yokoyama records the atmospheric pressure and humidity level in his notebook, as both elements affect the objects he makes. Tatazumai is not found in objects born of repetition, but it is released in the inherent power of form at the very instant in which it

Eliminating the boundaries between the visible and the invisible, the void and the solid

Their creative path was studded with sculptural works. Yet, in the changing climate of post-war Japan, Iwata and Ando also perceived the void that the Mingei and the boom of industrial design were leaving in the crafts. Contemporary Japanese arts and crafts, also known as Life Industrial Art, aim above all to restore the bonds between the artists and craftsmen, the users (or customers) and nature. Far removed from the aesthetic and hierarchical fixity of popular craftsmanship, these masters have sought first and foremost to rediscover the pleasure of using an object. Without rejecting any influence, they are also inspired by their own experience, by the need to create manufactured items that are suited to everyday use, that are practical and reflect a lifestyle. Masanobu Ando, for example, associates the practice of Life Industrial Art with the Zen-inspired tea ceremony: just as every tiny detail in our everyday lives must reveal a great profundity, so must the boundaries between the visible and the invisible, between the void and the solid be eliminated. Transposed onto the object, this philosophy defines the aesthetic of non-perfection, of non-symmetry, of the accidental: an imperfect beauty that frees the creativity of those who contemplate or use it. Simplicity, minimalism and the absence of ostentation thus become the characteristics of contemporary craftsmanship, fulfilling the aim of Tatazumai: this untranslatable word alone is enough to sum up the manifesto of Life Industrial Art. The famous wood artist Ryuji Mitani defines Tatazumai as the power of an object standing on a table to modify

REFLECTIONS OF A LIFESTYLE Top, Masanobu Ando, ceramicist, gallery director and tea ceremony master, has contributed to develop the Tatazumai philosophy. Centre, jug by ceramic artist Keisuke Iwata (bottom), co-founder of the contemporary craft spirit. Opposite page, before firing the objects in his wood kiln, Toshihisa Ishihara covers them with a special mixture to obtain a porous terracotta aspect.


Living treasures

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Living treasures


61 Eschewing the aesthetic and hierarchical fixity of popular craftsmanship, they restore the bonds between artists, customers and nature

materialises. While skill is honed, it gradually becomes the science of the senses, and great importance is given to the nature of the materials that every object reveals. Hence Tatazumai is a true lifestyle that translates into the search for a total aesthetics. This is undoubtedly what seduces the growing number of young artisans who seek to express themselves in an everyday object, be it practical or contemplative. Tradition returning to the philosophy from which it originated, rather than to the set of rules that have ensued: through this process, contemporary crafts have found a permanent place in the world of Japanese arts and crafts, responding to the needs of a generation that, in the turmoil of our troubled age, seeks simplicity in a harmonious everyday life. An extensive international network of galleries supports the exponents of this movement and contributes to the diffusion of its aesthetics. In October 2013, for example, the Mercier et AssociĂŠs gallery hosted the exhibition entitled Objet (mono, in Japanese), which presented seven contemporary Japanese ceramists (Masanobu Ando, Keisuke Iwata, Eiji Uematsu, Toshihisa Ishihara, Seiko Wakasugi, Yoko Terai and Tamiko Ishihara) under the direction of artist Michiko Iwata. The project resulted in other exhibitions, both in Japan and in France. More recently, in September 2015, the famous Japanese brand Muji, renowned for its minimalist and rational design, sponsored an exhibition with the very title Tatazumai, bringing together the six artists of Life Industrial Art: Ryuji Mitani (wood), Keisuke Iwata (ceramics), Masanobu Ando (ceramics), Kazumi Tsuji (glass), Akiko Ando (textiles) and Michiko Iwata (boxes and objects). The exhibitions have succeeded in reuniting all the disciplines of contemporary crafts under the same roof and have been much emulated, prompting fruitful exchanges of ideas. Whether made of wood, metal, glass, clay or fabric, the objects of Japanese contemporary crafts do not need words to be explained: in their presence we perceive a powerful emotion and an irresistible desire to possess them. A clear sign of the power of Tatazumai.

OFF THE BEATEN TRACK Top, Ryuji Mitani is a famous wood artist and a leading figure in the contemporary craft scene. Centre, small bottles made by glass artist Hideki Yokoyama in his workshop (bottom), where he has developed a very personal relationship with the molten matter. Opposite page, vase-sculpture by ceramicist Takesi Oomura, who uses the visual mimetism of metal to create unconventionally functional objects.


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At Amatruda, quality control of paper is rigorously performed sheet by sheet on the upper floor of the mill, with the aid of natural light. Opposite page: the ancient paper mill on the River Canneto (in the area known as the Valley of the Mills) as it appears to those coming from the centre of Amalfi.


Enterprises

A visit to an ancient mill on the River Canneto, in Amalfi, where the Amatruda family continues the timeless tradition of hand-made paper. Preserving techniques that have remained unchanged since the Middle Ages

paper OLD STYLE

by Alberto Gerosa photos by Francesco Squeglia

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Enterprises

With special thanks to Sicilian cassata. This famous and delicious dessert, typical of the island, played an important role in the survival of the Amatruda paper mill. In the first half of the 20th century, when systematic industrialisation and the development of more modern commercial arteries were heavily penalising the increasingly isolated Amalfi, Ferdinando Amatruda and his son Luigino (the same “Don Luigi” who, in his later years, was highly revered among the most sophisticated publishers) succeeded in keeping the family activity alive thanks to a particular white paper known as “briglia”, which was widely used by pastry shops in Southern Italy, as well as by law firms. Even today, at the zenith of email and ebooks, it is not easy to keep afloat; but luckily, luxury books and wedding announcements have replaced Sicilian desserts and legal folders. Don Luigi’s daughter, Antonietta, carries on the family trade with philological rigour, in keeping with her father’s principles and with the history of the Amatruda family, who have been associated with paper production since the 15th century. Antonietta is ably assisted by her sister Teresa, her brother-in-law Lucio and her nephew Giuseppe Amendola, as well as by a handful of employees who have been working with the company for decades. Indeed, the production of handmade paper at the ancient bridge mill on the River Canneto has substantially remained unchanged since the Middle Ages, when paper was made from rags (“Bambagina”, as it was called around here). Now, as then, the water that descends from the heights of the Amalfi hinterland through the Valle dei Mulini is used to produce a cotton or cellulose pulp almost without impurities. Also bearing witness to the many centuries of the mill’s activity are the ancient stone

tubs, called vats, into which the water was conveyed by opening a stopper that was linked to a chain; the water flowing into the vat moved a wheel that put into motion a transmission shaft attached to a spiked wooden mallet that pounded and reduced the rags to pulp. Today, as centuries ago, the artisans make the sheets of paper and determine their grammage by dipping a mould called “cassio” (a thick net of bronze wires with a wooden frame of maritime pine and a watermark in the middle) into the vat. The pulp sticks to the mould forming a sheet, which the “ponitore” (literally the “placer”) transfers onto felt, and the process is repeated to form a pile of sheets alternated to felt. This pile is then pressed to remove excess water. The drying phase takes place in large, 19th-century airing rooms known

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This page, from top: special oven with frames; removal of an impurity during quality control. Opposite page: an artisan who has been employed at the Amatruda paper mill since 1990 dips the mould in the vat containing the pulp; he then removes the sheet from the bronze grid and places it onto the felt. The watermarks are visible on the moulds.


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Enterprises

This page, from top: the airing rooms (“Spandituro”) with the frames (“tese”) where the sheets were traditionally hung to dry; examples of Amatruda’s rich production. Opposite page: a view of the oldest room in the mill with the 19th-century cylinder mould machine and, in the background, the stool with the felts and the mallet that was used for smoothing.

as “Spandituro”, located at the top of the building, where the necessary ventilation is guaranteed by big windows. The characteristic frames, or “tese”, made of galvanised iron wire where the damp sheets were hung to dry are now aided by the warm air produced in special ovens, also fitted with frames. Traditionally, the manufacturing process also included the addition of a glue obtained from boiled animal hides, a special pressing phase and the final smoothing of the paper with a smooth-headed hammer (“o’ maglietto”). Amatruda employs a variety of production methods with machines that come from many different eras, and the rooms of the paper mill are like a compendium on the evolution of the paper industry, from the 17th-century innovation known as the

“Hollander beater”, which had a wheel fitted with metal blades that beat the rags to pulp, to the cylinder mould machine that was introduced in the 19th century. This paper making machine was based on the principle of manual production, replacing the mould with a cylinder that had a similar net of bronze wire and with which it was possible to produce continuous sheets that were laid on felt, pressed by means of a granite roll and gathered by a wooden “mallet”. Although Amatruda possesses an original cylinder mould machine in iron, today the paper mill opts for a more recent version, which differs from the 19th-century machine in the steel structure (more reliable than the iron one, reducing impurities on the sheets), in the vibrating screen that replaces the sedimentation tank and, above all, in the production of single sheets, thus avoiding unnatural fraying due to tearing. As a result, Amatruda can make paper in a vast range of formats (from business cards to 70 x 100 cm sheets) to a standard of quality that is almost beyond compare, as ascertained by philosopher and politician Massimo Cacciari, who knows something about paper and books... Pure white sheets of paper that speak eloquently of the land where they saw the light of day, with its nature, its waters and its hand crafting heritage stemming directly from the times when Amalfi’s merchants learned the technique from the Arabs, around a millennium ago, who in turn picked up the secrets of paper as they travelled along the boundless trade routes of Asia. It is only a pity that Antonietta Amatruda and her family do not sell the special sheets they make adding into the mixture the wildflowers (borage, elder, snapdragon, onion flowers with a mother-of-pearl effect...) that are picked in May in the woods surrounding the mill... Well, perhaps they may reconsider!


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Generative dialogues

Designer Matteo Zorzenoni (right) with Piero Nason inside the historic Murano glassworks Nason Moretti. Their collaboration has generated vases made with a very rare and delicate technique, to which the designer has given a contemporary interpretation.


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THE SALONE DEL MOBILE WELCOMES «DOPPIAFIRMA»: SIXTEEN UNIQUE WORKS CREATED BY RENOWED DESIGNERS WITH EXCEPTIONAL ARTISANS by Alberto Cavalli photos by Laila Pozzo

Revolutionary

IDEAS

di Susanna Pozzoli


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DoppiaFirma (DoubleSignature) is the evocative and effective name chosen by Fondazione Cologni dei Mestieri d’Arte, Living magazine and yoox.com to identify one of the most eagerly anticipated debuts of the Salone del Mobile: a collection of sixteen works expressly created through the combined effort of preeminent designers and outstanding Italian artisans. The works will be exhibited in the Veneranda Biblioteca Ambrosiana, within the august palace that was built on the orders of Cardinal Federico Borromeo and that treasures exquisite masterpieces of art and literature. Significantly situated on the floor beneath the Sala Federiciana, where Leonardo da Vinci’s splendid and awesome Codex Atlanticus is showcased, the objects of DoppiaFirma fearlessly weave a narrative between what is beautiful and what is new. As Franco Cologni, President of the eponymous Foundation, reminds us: “This collection was conceived to emphasise the dialogue that can turn an idea into a generative project: the dialogue between the designer’s vision and the craftsman’s skill. In this process, their dynamic and interacting competences turn the spotlight on rare, unknown and often forgotten crafts. An illuminating spark ignites this refined rarity, in which authorship is certified by the double signature of the protagonists. At a time when everything is carelessly duplicated, extracted and synthesised, the combined work of hand and mind passionately raises the issue of the preciousness of resources.” Thus hand-crafted excellence and creative talent continue their ongoing dialogue, made all the more original by the choice of materials and, above all, of the techniques that these artisans so skilfully master. Indeed, the ateliers selected for the project distinguish themselves for their rare and often complex workmanship, or for a savoir faire pervaded with the character of uniqueness: these very features have stimulated the designers to experiment with something that has never been done before, producing objects that are at once extraordinary and plausible. As underlined by Francesca Taroni, editor-in-chief of Living magazine, DoppiaFirma is not “a mere celebration of individual skills, but a real cooperation. In a mutual exchange, tradition meets modernisation.” Tradition is challenged to evolve, so that it may speak a contemporary language. A language that yoox.com, partner and supporter of the initiative, speaks fluently. The Internet and digital technologies, the domain of the group founded by Federico Marchetti, are in fact the ideal ground for a fertile exchange between arts and crafts and design. An exchange that, in the words of Marchetti, aims to “connect what may seem like remote worlds. For the sake of innovation, we have dreamed of lofty visions and then put them into practice. Much like these artists and craftsmen, we, too, seek to preserve excellence and creativity, to enhance and spread beauty.” The beauty that emerges from the union of two brilliant creative minds and from their ‘double signature’. Living magazine selected the designers. “Along with big names like Michele De Lucchi, Ugo La Pietra, Marco Zanuso jr, Giorgio Vigna and Francesco Simeti,” says Francesca Taroni, “the project encompasses young talents with proven experience in experimenting with materials. Among them Giacomo Moor, who personally conceives and realises wooden furniture, and Matteo Zorzenoni, who works with widely different materials like cement and glass.” With Pietro Russo, Eligo, Matteo Cibic, Davide Aquini, Lorenzo Damiani, Germana Scapellato, the teams of Analogia Project, Studio Pepe

Designer Giorgio Vigna and master glassmaker Claudio Tiozzo have operated a radical revision of murrina glass.

Domenico Rocca and Alberto Nespoli of Eligo with Fabio Pozzoli (left), who specialises in traditional basket weaving.

and Studio Blanco, the 16 designers of DoppiaFirma represent a selection of the best creative minds of today. Fondazione Cologni identified the workshops of fine craftsmanship that have investigated the expressive potential of materials and techniques with the 16 designers: glass, bronze, soapstone, alabaster, paper, but also lustreware and bucchero pottery, Lunéville embroidery, “Grand Feu” enamel and cabinet making. The legendary names of Pino Grasso (embroidery), Gabriella Gabrini (enamel), Antica Stamperia Carpegna (rust printing), Atelier Bianco


Generative dialogues

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Paper wooden sculptor Daniele Papuli reinterpreted the iconic houses designed by Michele De Lucchi’s.

Scagliola was used by Elisabetta and Alessandro Bianchi to shape the design by Sara and Valerio Tamagnini of Studio Blanco.

Ugo La Pietra and Giovanni Mengoni made a small collection with the ancient and rare “bucchero” technique.

Bianchi (scagliola) and Ceramiche Biagioli (lustre decorations); the new protagonists of craft Daniele Papuli (paper) and FabsCarte (hand-painted wallpaper); the high-level workshops of Fabio Pozzoli (basket weaving) and Giovanni Mengoni (bucchero pottery); the network of Cooperativa Artieri Alabastro of Volterra; the time-honoured workshops of the Gadda (brass), Lucchinetti (soapstone) and Carati families (bronze) and Giordano Viganò (cabinet making). The creation of glass objects was entrusted to Nason Moretti and Claudio Tiozzo.

Arianna Lelli Mammi and Chiara Di Pinto (Studiopepe) with rustprinting artist Emanuele Francioni (Antica Stamperia Carpegna).

“The double signature conveys a revolutionary message: it underlines the value of the dialogue between artist and craftsman, between creator and artificer, between a visionary inspiration and its translation into a wondrous objective correlative. At the same time, it bears witness to a genius loci that only the hand of man can reveal,” concludes Cologni. “The DoppiaFirma project embraces design and métiers d’art, experimentation and the alchemy of thought, because the energy that drives our lives can only be generated through an exchange of ideas.”


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SIMPLY MADE IN FRANKFURT The collection launched to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the jewellery is also a tribute that Marc-Jens Biegel pays to his home town. The Louisa line takes its name from a famous park in the south of Germany’s financial capital. The light reflected on the facets of the intensely green peridot gem evokes the gentle swaying of wind-blow leaves.


Contemporary creators

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IN FRANKFURT AM MAIN, BIEGEL IS A SAFE HAVEN FOR CONTEMPORARY JEWELLERY AFICIONADOS. WITH BESPOKE, READY-TO-WEAR AND DESIGNER COLLECTIONS OF LONG-LASTING BEAUTY

FOREVER by Giovanna Marchello


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BIEGEL COLLECTIONS ARE CREATED BY MARC-JENS OR DEVELOPED FROM The Biegel jewellery store in Frankfurt am Main is an exemplary expression of fine craftsmanship at the confluence of tradition and design. The business was founded in 1964 by Werner Biegel, a master goldsmith whose father had been a diamond cutter in Idar-Oberstein, the gemstone capital of Germany. Today, the shop stands in the central Börsenplatz, where the bronze statues of the Bull and the Bear symbolically mark the seat of the Frankfurt stock exchange. The Biegel jewellery has specialised in making bespoke fine jewellery for its many loyal customers as well as creating very personal ready-to-wear collections. But it is thanks to the innovative approach of Werner’s son, Marc-Jens, that the Biegel jewellery has also won a high reputation in contemporary designs. Marc-Jens Biegel did his goldsmith’s apprenticeship with his father at the end of the 1980s. Since he was curious to explore the potential of jewellery beyond the point of view of the craftsman, after his apprenticeship he went on to study jewellery design. “But I realised that the teachers came from the same business, so it wasn’t bringing me any further,” he explains. “After studying in Frankfurt, I got a scholarship for the faculty of furniture and product design at Kingston University, in England, where many talented people like Jasper Morrison, James Irvine, who passed away a couple of years

ago in Milan, and other outstanding English designers have also studied.” When he went back to his father’s shop in Frankfurt, he was persuaded that a change was necessary, because the world was evolving quickly, while the jewellery business seemed frozen in its status quo. “Jewellery is always a very individual expression of one’s personal identity, and there was no such thing for contemporary people. I began to ask myself: What would jewellery look like, if it were designed by a product designer, someone who would normally design furniture, for example? I never understood why nobody in this business had done this before, because to me it seemed such an obvious idea. So I thought that I would be the first!” he laughs, remembering those days. “That was my idea when, in 2002, I created the project that I called Bodysign: a contraction between Body, because you wear it, and Design. And I wanted it to be high-end jewellery, using luxury materials, because that is what we are specialised in and I was not interested in working with alternative materials, like plastic.” Marc-Jens Biegel started his project with three German designers who were already working with top-notch Italian and international furniture and lighting brands. Uwe Fischer designed Molekular, a gold and pearls creation inspired by the structure of a molecule. Konstantin Grcic created Grand

AT THE CONFLUENCE OF DESIGN AND TRADITION Top, Oyster ring designed by Saskia and Stefan Diez for the Bodysign collection: a thin gold sheet holds a pearl without any other technical device, just like the noble clam that inspires the line. Opposite page, Marc-Jens Biegel (top) designed the Panaurea ring and earrings (bottom): shiny and matt finished surfaces combined with Australian pearls and honey-coloured citrines from Sri Lanka create rich, golden-brown shades.


Contemporary creators

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ORIGINAL DESIGNS BY HIS FATHER, WHO OPENED THE BUSINESS IN 1964


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A SIMPLE DESIGN TURNED INTO A SIMPLE-APPEARING PRODUCT Prix, which was based on an elongated chain link, an element that comes from the furniture industry. Axel Kufus came up with Loop, a simple knot in 24k gold which is actually a very difficult piece to make: after the soft gold wire is welded together, it has to be forged by hand using three different sizes of hammers. “Bodysign was attracting interest from the press and it was also selling quite well, but I knew that I needed to show it to more people than just the ones who passed my shop.” So Biegel decided to present his project at the Cologne Furniture Fair, and he involved other international designers: Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec, Shin and Tomoko Azumi, and the late Hannes Wettstein. “It was the idea of my life because it totally changed our company. After that launch in Cologne, in 2003, everything exploded and opened up a new horizon. I got a lot of attention and reviews with this project and it so happened that a number of museums came to me to exhibit my works: the Triennale Design Museum in Milano, the Museum for Contemporary art in Frankfurt, Art Institute Chicago, the V&A. Over the years, I involved more designers in the project, like Tom Dixon,

Alfredo Häberli, Saskia and Stefan Diez and young designers at the beginning of their career, like Benjamin Hubert, to always have a very contemporary access.” The designer creations represent only one part of the Biegel business. “Last year we celebrated our 50th anniversary with a collection that we called Made in Frankfurt: my way to say thank you to my home town. All the pieces are designed by me or developed from my father’s old designs and entirely made in-house by my cousin, who is the master in the workshop that is situated on the mezzanine, right in the heart of our store.” The newest collection, dedicated to diamonds, is called Härte 10 (Hardness 10), the highest level on the hardness scale: an elegant range of tension rings, solitaires and memory rings. “The most important thing to me is to make a design that is as simple as possible. It may sound a bit strange, because precious jewellery makes you think of opulent and highly decorative pieces. But I am not like that at all. What I want is a simple idea translated into a very simple-appearing product. Making it look so simple is the most difficult thing! This is what drives me: to make products with which you will be happy for a long, long time.”

THE BULL AND THE BEAR Top, the Biegel jewellery is located on the Börsenplatz, opposite the seat of the Frankfurt stock exchange. On the mezzanine, in the very heart of the store, is the workshop where the master goldsmith crafts the jewels. Centre, the 24k gold of the Loop ring designed by Axel Kufus for the Bodysign collection is expertly hand-forged with three different sizes of hammers.


Contemporary creators

LIKE LEAVES IN THE WIND Louisa earrings designed by Marc-Jens Biegel. The arrangement of tourmalines from Namibia and peridots from the Kashmir mountains creates a lively game with many shades of green. Fine glittering diamonds enhance the rich forest colours as they sparkle like the morning dew (biegel.biz).

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Local heritage

The site of the Made in Cloister project: the wooden structure constructed during the Bourbon period in the middle of the 16th-century cloister of Santa Caterina a Formello is a rare example of industrial archaeology. Opposite page, detail of the frescoed lunettes under the colonnade (madeincloister.it).


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Renaissance

Naples made in

THE MAGNIFICENT CLOISTER OF THE CHURCH OF SANTA CATERINA A FORMIELLO HAS BEEN RESCUED FROM DEGRADATION AND TURNED INTO A HUB INTEGRATING CRAFTS, DESIGN AND DECORATIVE ARTS by Rosa Alba Impronta


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“Made in Cloister” is a dream becoming reality. It is the dream of a group of passionate, dedicated visionaries (Davide De Blasio, Antonio Martiniello and Rosa Alba Impronta) who have joined forces to undertake the ambitious project of saving the magnificent Renaissance cloister of the Church of Santa Caterina a Formiello, in Naples, from total deterioration, converting it into a centre dedicated to art, design and craftsmanship under the guiding principles of tradition and innovation, heritage conservation and contemporary outlook. This unique location has become a rare example of the coexistence of Renaissance and industrial archaeology. Abandoned for 150 years, the cloister’s extraordinary history and setting have inspired and defined the project’s mission of conversion and urban renewal: to recover part of the city of Naples’ cultural heritage and use it to relaunch deeply rooted artisan traditions, renovating them with a highly contemporary spirit through the creation of projects involving international artists and designers. The cloister of Santa Caterina a Formiello is part of the monumental complex of the Lanificio, near the gate of Porta Capuana, considered one of the city’s finest examples of Renaissance architecture. In the 19th century, the complex was seized from the Church by Ferdinand I

of the Two Sicilies and transformed into a workshop for the production of wool and military uniforms. The cloister and surrounding area, which has hence been referred to as the Lanificio (woollen mill), became a factory employing more than 400 workers at the peak of production. The complex is a good example of the industrial activities supported by the Bourbons within a progressive “industrialisation programme” that had been initiated in those days. During the Lanificio’s most active period, the so-called small cloister was also confiscated from the monks, in order to further expand the mill’s production areas. A covered wood truss structure that has survived to this day was constructed within the small cloister, adding a beautiful touch of charm. After the Italian unification, in 1861, and the advent of the House of Savoy, the orders for uniforms from the Lanificio were suspended, causing the Sava family who ran it to go bankrupt, since they did not succeed in diversifying production. Very soon, what had originally been one of the most important monuments of Renaissance art in Naples and later an example of 19th-century industrial progress became a disused area. The degradation of the buildings and of the artisanal production sites that had characterised the entire area advanced inexorably. The cloister was converted into a soap factory, a garage,


Local heritage

a carpenter’s workshop, progressively deteriorating to a state of total ruin: the frescos were completely covered up, the arcades were closed off, new constructions were built inside the cloister... to the point that the 16th-century Piperno stone columns were demolished to allow access for lorries! These are the conditions in which this jewel of Neapolitan architecture was found by the promoters of “Made in Cloister”, who took upon themselves the mission to save and revive the location and transform it into a centre of creative excellence, a place where time-honoured skills could be renovated through the vision of important artists and designers. While the restoration works were being carried out with the participation of the Naples Academy of Fine Arts, the promoters developed a project to transform the cloister into a hub for meetings, experimentation and craftsmanship, where artists and designers can work side by side with the master artisans. Many international artists who have visited the location, even during the restoration works, have demonstrated their enthusiasm by becoming “friends of Made in Cloister”: these include Laurie Anderson, Lou Reed, Saturnino, Harry Pearce, Mimmo Palladino, Jimmie Durham, Maria Thereza Alves, Chris Rucker... The space will not only host artists in residence and artisan work-

shops but also exhibitions, musical and theatre performances and cultural events. The ancient refectory will be devoted to Made-in-Cloister food and drinks, where a food experience based on the flavours and seasonal ingredients typical of the Neapolitan culinary tradition will be interpreted with a contemporary twist. The coordination of the project has been entrusted to New York studio Lot-EK. For the first time ever, the Made in Cloister Foundation is also conducting a survey of the artisans in the territory of Campania, with a view to cataloguing and collecting information on the region’s traditional heritage of expertise. The relaunch of craftsmanship must begin in the very history of the territory and its vocation. The historic centre of Naples is the largest in Europe, and was nominated Unesco World Heritage Site in 1995: this is where the most ancient forms of manual skills were developed, giving rise over the centuries to splendid artisanal traditions that have been handed down from generation to generation. Made in Cloister is a complex project that involves a big network of players, from artists to artisans, from creative enterprises to museums and the territory’s cultural and educational institutions. The project is very significant even in terms of its social impact in an area that is in particular decline despite its extraordinary wealth of history and cultural heritage.

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Maria Rosaria Galeano paints on glass in the Studio Cembalo. Top right, Tiziana Grassi in the historic “Ospedale delle Bambole” (Doll Hospital) workshop. Centre, the monumental complex of Santa Caterina a Formiello, known as the Lanificio. Opposite page, students on the restoration course at Naples Academy of Fine Arts. Below, wood carver Umberto Cervo in his workshop.


82 Pinstripes, tartan, windowpane and Prince of Wales checks characterise the dials of Élégance Sartoriale, the new collection in the Métiers d’Art series by Vacheron Constantin.

SARTORIAL THE SOPHISTICATED FABRICS OF A GENTLEMAN’S WARDROBE ARE INTERPRETED ON THE DIALS OF VACHERON CONSTANTIN’S NEW MÉTIERS D’ART COLLECTION


Minute decorations

PRECISION by Alberto Cavalli

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Minute decorations

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There is a distinctive feature that is common to the best-dressed men in history, from Petronius to Beau Brummell and Edward VII, to the contemporary (and often anonymous) protagonists of The Sartorialist, the site that has become a world reference for style: personality. If it is true that details make a gentleman, it is also true that these details are never chosen at random, or casually: every choice is the product of reasoning and intuition. Elegance is a feature that belongs to the person, never to objects, which are always the result of a selection, a vision, an inspiration. Objects contribute to creating an idea of style that is based on authenticity and taste: two aesthetic and, also, deeply cultural factors. Indeed, style and culture, authenticity and personality have generated Elégance Sartoriale, Vacheron Constantin’s new collection of watches in the Métiers d’Art series. With its unique heritage of elegant designs, refined movements and superlative workmanship developed in 260 years of history, the Geneva-based Maison interprets the masculine wardrobe on the dials of five limited edition watches, creating a virtual connection with the best bespoke tailoring. The hour circle in the mother-of-pearl dial is decorated with motifs that recall the buttons on a shirt, or a pocket handkerchief peeping discreetly from a jacket. The alligator strap evokes handmade shoes, the pride of every gentleman. For each model, the Maison has also produced a pair of gold cufflinks with patterns that echo the subdial tapestry motifs. These exquisite objects represent a stylish and tasteful interpretation of haute horlogerie, suitable for any time of day or night. Once again, Vacheron Constantin has succeeded in pushing the skill and talent of its master artisans one step further, putting their knowhow at the service of a highly original aesthetic vision. The dials are decorated with precious guilloché motifs, each requiring up to six hours of work, plus the two hours needed to engrave the subdial. The patterns created in the Manufacture are absolutely original and recall the textures of the finest cloths used for sartorial suits: to recreate the volumes, the structure and the light and deep effects of fabrics was a new and enticing challenge for Vacheron Constantin’s master craftsmen. The use of translucent Grand Feu enamel highlights the dial’s technical and chromatic flawlessness: it is necessary to find the

perfect shade for each dial, in a process that can take up to four hours of painstaking work. Every stylistic choice is perfectly complemented by a combination of colours (in the rose or white gold case and strap), communicating a sense of laid-back harmony, as befits true elegance. The Prince of Wales check is the legendary woollen twill fabric that the

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Below, details of the gold subdial with a tapestry-like motif which picks up the paisley, floral and geometrical patterns of pocket squares. Opposite page, the motif, rimmed by a chapter ring, is engraved using a finely adjusted dedicated graving tool.


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Minute decorations

Below, the subdial’s tapestry motif. Bottom, the crescent-shaped dial is coated with Grand Feu enamel. Opposite page, each watch is equipped with the mechanical manual-winding Caliber 1400 developed by Vacheron Constantin.

British associate with sport and leisure. To recreate its texture was a remarkable feat for the Maison’s master craftsmen, who reproduced all the elements that make up this iconic plaid with the technique of guillochage: the intersecting hound’stooth check pattern, the thin vertical and horizontal lines… A rich raspberry red enamel enhances Vacheron Constantin’s

chromatic choice, intensifying the geometric perfection of the individual squares, while the small mother-of-pearl champagne-coloured subdial reveals a delicate floral motif. The texture of herringbone cloth was recreated in shades of lavender and blue that accentuate the three-dimensional effect obtained by the guillocheur. The contrasting zig-zag motif replicates what actually happens in the weaving process: the light square indicates where the warp thread passes under the weft, while the dark square marks the opposite operation. This alternation emerges elegantly and discreetly on the dial: the rose gold case adds a warm tone, while the subdial is decorated with a paisley motif reminiscent of a pocket handkerchief, or a highly original tie. Edward VII’s exquisite style is associated with the typical crossed pattern of windowpane cloth, with vertical and horizontal lines that intersect to form boxes on the lighter-tone background. The elegance and grace of the result is highlighted by a sandy grey enamel, applied by the guillocheur with awe-inspiring mastery. The subdial is decorated with a floral motif reminiscent of Art Nouveau. Pinstripes are the timeless symbol of every businessman: in the Élégance Sartoriale collection this tailoring classic is presented in shades of beige and hazelnut brown fading into gold. The thin vertical lines, echoing those traced in chalk by the tailor, are graphically rendered in an even more interesting way by the guillocheur, who manages to replicate them without making them too pronounced. The subdial’s geometrical pattern is another great classic in ties. Finally, a pattern that is quintessentially Scottish and indelibly associated with the clan: tartan. Vacheron Constantin chose the refined and eloquent tone of a cerulean blue enamel to enhance the depth of the tartan’s crisscrossed bands, superbly engraved by the guillocheur. The white gold case accentuates the splendour of the dial, underlined by the geometric decoration of the subdial. Bearing the prestigious Hallmark of Geneva, the watches of the Élégance Sartoriale collection create a dialogue between two great passions of the sophisticated man: tailored clothes and fine watches. Two worlds in which excellent workmanship is always at the service of elegance and style. A style that is timeless and that has been brought to perfection by the expert in measuring time for more than 260 years: Vacheron Constantin.


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by Simona Cesana

A view of the new San Francisco Museum of Modern Art from the Yerba Buena Gardens: in the foreground, the 1995 brick-clad building designed by Mario Botta; behind it, the new expansion designed by Snøhetta studio. Right, Sleeping Woman by Charles Ray (stainless steel, 2012).

ENRIK KAM, COURTESY SFMOMA

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Unexpected collections

IN SAN FRANCISCO THE WEST COAST ’S MOST IMPORTANT MUSEUM FOR CONTEMPORARY ART REOPENS AFTER MAJOR EXPANSION WORKS

COURTESY MATTHEW MARKS GALLERY

The other

MOMA

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Above, untitled (to Barnett Newman) two by Dan Flavin (red, yellow, and blue fluorescent lights, 1971). Top and opposite page, renderings and interior views of the new ten-storey SFMOMA, with its essential, open-spaces. The outdoor terraces will be used for installations (sfmoma.org).

The popular acronym MoMA makes us immediately think of the famous Museum of Modern Art in New York, where Italian art, architecture and design have long established themselves in the museum’s permanent collections and temporary exhibitions. Across the country, on the opposite coast, rises another MoMA. Founded in 1935, it was the first museum on the West Coast entirely dedicated to contemporary art. The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art will reopen in renewed and expanded spaces on 14 May 2016, with a collection of modern and contemporary art, architecture and design that has significantly grown in recent years, thanks to donations from important private collections and a major fundraising campaign that has involved more than 500 donors. The new expansion of the SFMOMA has been developed by Snøhetta studio, based in Oslo and New York. It is grafted on the original 1995 building designed by Swiss architect Mario Botta,

which features the recurring elements in Botta’s architectural language, from the terracotta brick cladding to the pure geometric volumes culminating in the truncated cylinder. Despite its large volume, the building is characterised by fluid lines created by the fibreglass panels that cover the main facade, whose rippled surface appears to move with the changing light, evoking water and fog, the natural elements of the San Francisco Bay. The interior spreads over ten floors, with essential, open spaces designed specifically to accommodate the museum’s collections, as well as areas for temporary exhibitions, performances, events and educational activities, and outdoor terraces that will house the sculpture installations and will offer spectacular views of the San Francisco cityscape. In addition to the new acquisitions of modern and contemporary art, this expansion is dedicating considerable attention to design. We have spoken with Jennifer Dunlop Fletcher, cu-

STEPHEN FLAVIN / ARTISTS RIGHTS SOCIETY (ARS), NEW YORK; PHOTO: DON ROSS/KATHERINE DU TIEL

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HENRIK KAM, COURTESY SFMOMA

Unexpected collections

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92 plored and tested new technologies from post-WWII to today, positioning SFMOMA well to assert itself in the years ahead as an expert in contemporary visionary design.” Regarding the role of design and applied arts in a major institution such as the SFMOMA, Dunlop Fletcher declares: “The Bay Area holds many significant collections of design and applied arts. To complement these existing collections, I am interested in projects by designers who question or critique the rapid mass adoption of the latest technology without considering its greater cultural impact. Often these are projects by designers who return to or investigate a ‘lost art’ or craft”. The exponents of contemporary applied arts may then find a home in this great museum, committed to giving recognition to their work alongside the other noble arts that have already settled down in this beautiful city on the Pacific.

HENRIK KAM, COURTESY SFMOMA / KATHERINE DU TIEL

Top, Copper armchair by Donald Judd (copper and aluminium, 1984). Bottom and opposite page: internal renovation works; wavy-shaped fibreglass panels covering the external facade; the central body of the structure designed by Mario Botta.

rator and head of the department of Architecture and Design, who is engaged in developing the museum’s collection with a selection of works made from 1980 to the present day: “The Art and Design collection spans from 20th century modern to 21st century contemporary design, and has built notable concentrations in experimental architecture, graphic design, iconic chairs and interactive product design. The collection has a deliberate geographic balance: a third of the works are by Bay Area designers, a third by national designers - mostly from the West Coast - and a third by international designers. In recent years, the department has focused on strengthening SFMOMA’s holdings of works that have profoundly impacted their respective fields and/or contemporary culture. The collection effectively traces the evolution of how designers have ex-


U En ce cxepl el ce tnezde cdo al l e m c toi no dn os

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by Alessandra de Nitto

MILAN RETURNS TO THE CENTRE OF THE WORLD CULTURAL SCENE WITH THE 21ST EDITION OF THE INTERNATIONAL EXHIBITION OF DESIGN

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While the success of Expo 2015 is still reverberating, Milan remains firmly at the centre of the world cultural scene with the 2016 Triennale. Returning after a break of twenty years, the 21st edition of the International Exhibition of Design heralds unprecedented visions of project development in the new millennium, encapsulated in the prophetic title “21st Century. Design After Design”. From 2 April to 12 September 2016, the exhibition will settle into the historical seat of the Triennale in the Parco Sempione, and invade many other significant locations symbolising research, design and art. The sprawling event will unfold in numerous exhibitions across the city of Milano: from the Triennale to the Fabbrica del Vapore, from the Museum of Cultures to the National museum of Science and Technology, from the Permanente and the Diocesan museum to the Villa Reale in Monza, the original venue of the first triennial international exhibitions. This long-awaited rebirth, with its ambitious and visionary programme, restores the Triennale’s role in promoting innovation and culture, fostering an across-the-board exploration of the current and future evolution of project development and production models in a multidisciplinary dimension. The exhibition “New Craft”, a project curated and conceived by Stefano Micelli, will have a central role within the extraordinary and multiform Triennale event, which engages the very best energies and personalities of the Italian and international cultural scene. The potential of cross-pollination between the crafts and the global economy is a central theme in the work of the well-known Venetian economist, who has long concerned himself with studying

and promoting the role of design and creativity as competitive advantages of Italian businesses. The Milan Triennale has therefore asked the author of the highly successful book Futuro artigiano (Artisan Future), published by Marsilio Editori, to investigate the relationship between design and craftsmanship, tradition and innovation in the multi-faceted context of contemporary crafts. The result of Micelli’s work will be presented in the charming post-industrial spaces of the Fabbrica del Vapore. Thanks to the creative art direction of Studio Geza, the exhibition will showcase, in a spectacular and captivating way, the often surprising relationship between technological innovation and top-quality workmanship. “New Craft,” explains the curator, “showcases the original combination of artisan knowledge and new technologies. The aim is not so much to exhibit a selection of objects, but rather to involve visitors in an experience where they can discover the processes that characterise new product design and high-end manufacturing. We often think of technology as an instrument of rationalisation that excludes human intervention. Highlighting the mutually beneficial encounter between technology and traditional knowledge, this exhibition will try to persuade visitors that, in fact, the opposite is true.” The technological revolution has radically transformed design itself, and today we see a new generation of artisan producers capable of employing new technologies to create high-quality products that spring from a more cultured and conscious creativity. The project encompasses a wide and diverse range of production sectors: from cars to jewellery, from clothing to furniture, from bicycles to letterpress printing…

TIPOTECA ITALIANA, CORNUDA

TECHONOLOGY IN THE


Special events

Each production process will be illustrated in digital workshops and by the artisans themselves, who will demonstrate their skill in creating exceptional objects in limited spaces. The purpose of the exhibition is to enable visitors to understand the integration that is possible between digital manufacturing and manual knowhow, in a relationship that is creative, rather than confrontational. The exhibition will offer many significant moments: the spectacular production of an automobile prototype; a huge table that will serve as the focal point of dialogue and creativity as well as being the setting for video projections and graphic information, hosting a succession of workshops during which objects will be created and subsequently exhibited; large vertical installations at the entrance to the Fabbrica del Vapore (also known as “the cathedral”) will be dedicated to nine outstanding crafts; a large multilab area will host an array of contemporary craftsmanship of excellence; there will be an area dedicated to themed exhibitions, which will change every month, from self-production to the Italian “indie” scene, from the project of a table to the relationship between designer and craftsman. Conferences and meetings will be organised in the area of the “Porcellino”, behind the Fabbrica, including regular workshops - organised with the collaboration of the Cologni Foundation - that the master craftsmen of the “Cinque Vie” (a historic quarter of Milan characterised by a vocation for craftsmanship) will dedicate to young students of the city’s schools. “New Craft” is made possible by the support of Vacheron Constantin, renowned manufacturer of luxury watches and lifelong patron of artistic crafts. Combining its own vision of excellence with a sensitivity towards the contemporary expressions of creativity, Vacheron Constantin has embraced this new project on the occasion of the European Artistic Crafts Days 2016.

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THE POTENTIAL OF CROSS-POLLINATION This page, sintered nylon and silver necklace by Paola Volpi. Opposite page, from the left: ExNovo’s Rhizaria lamp comes in a table and a suspended version. It is made in sintered polymer and Murano glass mouth-blown at Vetreria Salviati; lead types by Tipoteca Italiana; textiles production at Berto Manifattura 1887; components used in the home decoration objects produced by Baldi Design.

HANDS OF THE ARTISANS


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AGENT D’ARTISANS / JOSEF RUZNAK

Eric Charles-Donatien in his Parisian atelier. Opposite page, a sumptuous decoration on a dress designed by London fashion house Sorapol in 2015.


MaÎtres d ’art

IN FINE FEATHER

SORAPOL

Eric Charles-Donatien is a talented plumassier whose formal vocabulary is as delicate as it is rigorous. His wonderful feathers decorate the creations of the greatest couture houses by Julie El Ghouzzi

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“Madlight” is a lamp inspired by the light produced by candles; the feather wings evoke purity and freedom. Right, a dress by Christophe Josse (2011), decorated with hand-painted feathers.

“Take the tip of a downy ostrich plume and a fluffy fragment of marabou.” What would otherwise sound as a bizarre invitation is actually perfectly normal in the atelier of a maître d’art who has dedicated himself for more than 20 years to an unusual material that is charming and coquettish, soft and caressing, but that can also prove capricious and difficult to handle: feathers. Eric Charles-Donatien is an acclaimed feather master and designer who has built his career in exceptional contexts. For 15 years he was the artistic director of the famous Maison Lemarié (the last plumassier in Paris, acquired by Chanel in 1996), in whose effervescent atelier, as he likes to recall, he had to continuously invent new and spectacular ways to sew, cut and dye feathers to decorate the most beautiful haute couture dresses. How did it happen that this young maître started working with feathers? By chance, but also thanks to his passion for this material. He enjoys remembering the years at the school of applied arts and, later, at the École de la Chambre Syndicale de la Couture Parisienne: “I was not very good at drawing, so for me to work directly on the materials was a way to make up for this deficiency. My vision is based on colour, and this allows me to understand the structure of things.” Charles-Donatien presented one of his first projects in Lebanon in 1995, at a salon dedicated to artistic decorators. Thanks to a series of fortuitous and fortunate events, his project, which also included feathers, was shown to André Lemarié. “If you can make more of these, we will certainly ask you for some samples,” he was told. Eric Charles-Donatien, who was then working as an intern at Hermès, succumbed to the charm of the legendary feather virtuoso and to the prestige of his atelier. “The little old ladies, the impressive collection of coloured and multiform feathers, the dust: it was like a couture version of Émile Zola!” Thus began a great adventure for the young creator, who had preferred the modesty of a workshop to a career as designer at one of the leading maisons. “I thought I would only

be there for a few months. But I ended up staying 15 years,” he says. At Lemarié, Eric Charles-Donatien was appointed artistic director and in charge of all the atelier’s operations. At the same time, he felt the strong desire to learn how it was done and acquire the knowhow. “I used to play hide and seek, just to spend a little more time in the workshop,” he pleasantly remembers. No doubt, his precise and accurate knowledge of the techniques allows his creations to fully unfold their spectacular nature. It must be said that Eric Charles-Donatien is without doubt one of the most talented plumassiers of his generation, and an exhibition dedicated to his works will soon be held in Paris. Charles-Donatien explains that very early on he was more attracted by the materials than by the forms. But this alone cannot explain the brilliance and uniqueness of his talent. He certainly possesses the capacity to cooperate closely with the creative heads of fashion houses, often remaining hidden in their shadow. When the greatest designers impart their wishes to Charles-Donatien, he and his team have to understand their (sometimes decidedly ambitious) decorative intent and know how to interpret it with feathers: mastering the technical difficulties of this craft, Charles-Donatien transforms an idea into a (beautiful) product. Chanel, Dior, Saint Laurent, Jean Paul Gaultier, Roger Vivier, Vera Wang and Roberto Cavalli are just some of the prestigious fashion brands for whom he has brought this vibrant material to life. In 2010, after the death of André Lemarié and before the atelier moved to its new and modern premises, Eric Charles-Donatien started his own business and founded a company, which he perceives and lives as a creative workshop. Feathers cut in the form of scales, colourful and iridescent aigrettes: his formal vocabulary is as delicate as it is rigorous, and it knows no boundaries. He transforms everything he sees, everything he hears, into absolutely original creations. “I have found that the way I work is very similar to a digestive process: it takes me some time to use what I see. Immediacy is not useful to the result.” In addition to the feather atelier, Eric Charles-Donatien works with leather and metal on his accessories collection, thus adding always new materials to his creative vocabulary that sums substance to sense. His workshop is also a place where knowledge and skills are passed on: it is a point of honour for Eric Charles-Donatien to offer young people the opportunity to see and learn a trade. Because his spirit is light... like a feather. (ericcharlesdonatien.com)

JEAN-YVES THIBERT

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CHRISTOPHE JOSSE

Maîtres d ’art

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Crafting with style

MIRACULOUS Some examples of the beautiful artificial marble varieties by the Laboratorio del marmo artificiale di Rima (clockwise from top left): Breccia di Aleppo, Lapis lazuli, Portasanta and Breccia Verde Alpi. Opposite page, an amphora in imitation malachite (marmoartificiale.com).

LABORATORIO DEL MARMO ARTIFICIALE DI RIMA

The technique of artificial marble decorations was developed in the 19th century by the By mixing scagliola and pigments they created fine stuccos, and their skill was appreciated


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MATERIAL

master craftsmen of Rima San Giuseppe, a Walser village in the Italian region of Piedmont. across Europe, as far as Russia. Thus humble farmers became artisans, artists and entrepreneurs

by Raffaele Ciardulli


Crafting with style

In the Alpine region of Valsesia, some 90 kilometres north of Turin, lies the val Sermenza. At the end of this small valley sits the Walser village of Rima: a gateway to the world for the mountain community that inhabits it. A world that they have travelled at the rapid pace of those who, for generations, have crossed the mountains with the sharp and patient eyes of a hunter who respects life because he knows its many hardships. A world that they have braved with strong hands and keen minds. In the rigours and beauty of these valleys, the master artisans of Rima have cultivated the rare and precious art of “artificial marble”: an ancient decorative technique, of which they have become outstanding exponents since the 1830s, when they brought their skills across Europe, along the migration routes, reaching as far as Tsarist Russia. Artificial marble has the power to transform. It transforms “scagliola” (a type of stucco) and pigments into a precious veneer. Above all, it turns farmers and breeders into artisans, artists and entrepreneurs. Viotti, De Toma, Axerio-Cilies, Ragozzi, Axerio-Piazza, Giavina, Dellavedova ran businesses that employed hundreds of workers. But the celebration of the mystery of artificial marble was performed only by chosen craftsmen, in secret and behind closed doors. These entrepreneurs opened construction sites in Europe’s religious, political and financial corridors of power. They travelled to Norway, Sweden, Romania, Bulgaria, Russia, Austria, France, Serbia and Germany. Their works can be admired in Vienna, inside the Parliament and in the halls of the University, in the royal palace of the Kaiser, on the Museuminsel in Berlin, in the palaces of Bucharest and St. Petersburg. Later, they pushed southwards to Spain, Morocco and Algeria. After World War II, they arrived at the Pinacoteca di Brera, where they contributed to important restoration works. In 1871, a holidaymaker in Rima wrote: “At the age of 9-10, the children are sent abroad to work as plasterers and they return after they have made a colossal fortune…”. Artificial marble transformed and brought wealth to the community: at the beginning of the 20th century, Rima was the municipality with the highest per capita income in the young Kingdom of Italy. Artificial marble transformed Rima and its houses. Among traditional Walser dwellings, extraordinarily preserved in their secular and warm simplicity, rise houses built in the architectural styles that were popular in France, Germany and Russia between the 19th and 20th centuries: artificial marble plays with the wooden panelling in the Ragozzi chalet, gives a surreal charm to the lounge of the Alpino hotel, triumphs in the church of St. John the Baptist, and is the absolute protagonist in newly constructed buildings such as the Laida Weg experience hotel. Artificial marble transformed Rima and its territory, to which the village’s entrepreneurs remained very attached. They left signs of their devotion to their Heimat in the fountains and mule tracks that lead to the alpine pastures, and in the letters that they wrote home, asking their families to send them local delicacies. Art invaded the meadows, and the works of sculptor Pietro Della Vedova were collected in a plaster cast museum created with the contribution of the whole community. A community that has also managed to update its extraordinary legacy: the artificial marble “mine” is far from being exhausted, thanks to

the institution, in 2004, of the “Laboratorio del marmo artificiale di Rima”, an association that was set up by the Municipality of Rima and funded by the Piedmont Region with the purpose of preserving the memory of the past and reviving the techniques of the master craftsmen. Rima’s mine contains a wealth of knowledge that is condensed and sublimated in patient and exact gestures, permeated with emotions, experiences, teachings. Though rooted in the present, these gestures contain a vision of the future and a memory of the past. It is no coincidence that some of the master craftsmen – Silvio Dellavedova among them - who reveal the secrets of artificial marble to the young apprentices arriving here from faraway places, like the art schools in London, were born in families that have long practised this art. A mine of skill and patience. A single square metre of artificial marble requires about twelve hours of work. The process begins by mixing scagliola, glue and pigments on a board. As it dries, the mixture naturally forms cracks that are filled with materials to imitate the veining of marble. The composite is then transferred onto the surface to be decorated, and to which it has to adhere perfectly (an operation that is particularly

The smoothing of Rima marble is a wonderful example of the exceptional skills that are included in the concept of “excellence” difficult in the case of columns or uneven surfaces) and it is finally smoothed. The smoothing of Rima artificial marble is a wonderful example of the exceptional skills that are included in the concept of “excellence”: incredible patience and attention to detail that passes through the fingertips and the eyes. The surface is first scraped with a metal spatula and coarse sandpaper, and then with seven different types of stone of increasing hardness: coarse pumice stone, fine pumice stone, a stone called “terza verde”, a fine soapstone from Scotland, antique black marble, a reddish stone from the Elbe and, finally, natural hematite. Between one operation and the next, the surface is grouted or touched up with a brush dipped in pure glue. A generous dose of straw oil and beeswax is used for the final finish. Rima’s mine can offer solution even for more contemporary sensitivities: artificial marble has an environmental impact that is by far inferior to that of real marble coming from conventional quarries. Artificial marble is also less cold to the touch than the marble it imitates. Lying somewhere between art, craft and artifice, it not only reproduces the colours of the real stone - from red Verona marble to lapis lazuli, from Siena yellow to Alpine green, from Portuguese pink to Carrara white - but it also enables the artist or architect to create shades and colours that spring directly from their imagination, allowing them to reach beyond the worldly limits of nature.

LABORATORIO DEL MARMO ARTIFICIALE DI RIMA

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This page, clockwise from top left: stuccos made by Rima craftsmen in Romania (Bucharest, Casa Monteoru, 1887-89, Axerio-Cilies workshop); a training course at the Laboratorio del marmo artificiale di Rima; stuccos in the Music Academy of Bucharest (1886-97, Axerio-Cilies workshop); the staircase of the Laida Weg hotel in Rima is decorated with imitation lapis lazuli by Laboratorio artisans superintended by master craftsman Silvio Dellavedova. Opposite page, craftsmen from the Giovanni Dellavedova workshop pose for a picture in the 1930s; sphere and pedestal in polychrome alabastrine limestone. The photographs of Casa Monteoru and of the Music Academy are taken from “La via del marmo artificiale da Rima a Bucarest e in Romania tra Otto e Novecento” by Enrica Ballarè (Edizioni Zesciu, 2010).


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The restoration of antique furniture is one of the skills taught at École Boulle. The Parisian institution dedicated to fine artistic crafts is appreciated all over the world (ecole-boulle.org).


Transmitting knowhow

TRAINING

GIFTED HANDS IN THE THIRTEEN FULLY-EQUIPPED WORKSHOPS OF THE GLORIOUS ÉCOLE BOULLE, FOUNDED IN PARIS IN 1886, 200 TEACHERS PASS ON THEIR KNOWHOW IN 23 DIFFERENT PROFESSIONS: FROM CRAFTS TO DESIGN text and photos by Susanna Pozzoli

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Transmitting knowhow

École Boulle is an educational institution founded in Paris in 1886. It is appreciated the world over for the variety of courses it offers, the professionalism of its staff, the wealth of knowledge it transmits and for its spirit of innovation. Josiane Giammarinaro was the first woman to be nominated Principal of the school in September 2015. She explains that the original intent of the City of Paris (under whose jurisdiction the school still lies) was to create a national centre where the métiers d’art could be taught and trained. For this reason, the school was opened close to the Faubourg Saint-Antoine, a quarter that was bustling with the most important cabinetmakers’ workshops. Named after André-Charles Boulle (1642-1732), the creator of sumptuous furniture for the French Court, the school was initially run by renowned cabinetmakers, thus remaining closely tied to the world of furniture and wooden objects. Later, the school expanded its curriculum to include upholstery, leather, engraving. Together with École Duperré (devoted to textiles and pottery), École Estienne

The Principal of École Boulle, Josiane Giammarinaro. Top, ornamental engraving on bronze. Opposite, some of the courses offered by the school: jewellery, restoration, upholstery, design of leather goods and fabrics, cabinetmaking.

(specialising in printing and book-making) and the ENSAM (École Nationale Supérieure des Arts et Métiers), École Boulle is a member of the Conference des Écoles Supérieures d’Art de Paris, the aim of which is to create common projects to increase awareness of these prestigious educational institutions. The school is housed in two large buildings on the Rue Pierre Bourdan (the historical seat, with a magnificent inner courtyard, and a more modern one) where thirteen perfectly equipped workshops are available to students training in 23 different professions, ranging from the most celebrated and traditional métiers d’art of France to design: cabinetmaking, jewellery, upholstery, sculpture, chasing, engraving, watchmaking, furniture restoration, turning, lacquer works, inlay, product design, lighting design… One thousand one hundred students attend École Boulle under the guidance of around 200 teachers and staff. The school also hosts various evening courses for professional qualification or life-long learning. The school offers training from secondary-level education to Master’s degrees, and the courses are based on the transmission of the specific knowledge and skills of each trade. Much attention is dedicated to the study of historical works, research and innovation, with a focus on interdisciplinary integration: traditional workshops are complemented by digital technologies, with cutting-edge design and development tools. But, as Principal Josiane Giammarinaro highlights, respect for tradition is central to the school’s activities. The purpose of the school is to incorporate time-honoured craftsmanship with contemporary design. In other words, to encourage designers to work with those who possess the manual skills, in order to create objects that are the result of a true collaboration. The school can also count on prestigious partnerships, among which Vacheron Constantin and Van Cleef &


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Arpels, to enable the young trainees to make a practical work experience in the sector that will most likely welcome them once they have earned their diplomas. The genuine spirit that characterises the way in which knowhow is taught and transmitted is called Boulliste: also thanks to the uniqueness of this approach, the ties with the school remain very close even after the students complete their courses. In the workshops, the students can be at different stages of their educational path, since they are not divided by class: they each work on their individual project and the teachers oversee and coordinate their progress. Teamwork is strongly encouraged to develop complex and multidisciplinary projects. The connections that are created in this context often last a lifetime: those who were taught at the Boulle will be Boullistes forever. Former students often set up ateliers together and return to École Boulle as teachers or to share their own successes, because their strong sense of belonging goes hand in hand with their wish to transmit and share knowledge.

Centre, the internal courtyard of École Boulle. Top, student and teacher in the antique furniture restoration class. Opposite page, a student assembles an armchair made of wood, metal and fabric.

The École’s students come from all five continents. The school is in fact planning to intensify its exchanges with Japan, and also to continue to open up to the world, while maintaining its teaching method unaltered. Whether French or foreign, all the students at École Boulle are highly motivated, because the training that awaits them is extremely intense. They must work hard and with perseverance, and the teachers urge them to give the best of themselves: the students must develop a relationship with time that is completely different from what young people would normally have outside of school. According to Giammarinaro, what is magical about the Boulle is that the students easily accept the dedication that is asked of them, the long hours that are necessary to learn how to work with their hands, how to approach the materials... The students are extremely focused on their projects, and they work with their bodies (the physical aspect is of course central to the training) and at the same time they have to engage their minds, their memory. They must be inventive and cooperative. Today, more and more girls are enrolled in the courses: 70%, even in the traditionally male crafts. “Artistic crafts require a complex training path,” explains the Principal. “Craftspeople who create magnificent objects must develop high-level manual skills, but they must also be capable of imagining, designing, organising their work, selecting the materials... There are many competences involved. Our society often tends to distinguish between manual and intellectual work, but the truth is that there is an ‘intelligence of the hand’.” Design is at the basis of the new positive vision that is now taking root: “Design has revived fine artistic crafts, giving them a new guise. At institutional level, the métiers d’art in France are being encouraged and supported, also thanks to an increasingly clear political focus on this subject.” École Boulle plays a leading role in this moment of renewed energy.


Transmitting knowhow

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by Maria Cristina Didero

This page, the “Thaddeus Wolf” exhibition that was held at R & Company (82, Franklin Street, New York City) in 2015. Opposite page, “Bill-iam Oneyearbor” from the “Afreaks” series (South Africa, 2015). Niki and Simon Haas (known as The Haas Brothers) created sculptural furniture and objects in collaboration with The Haas Sisters, a group of women from South African townships. The expressive forms in this series embody the history of indigenous beading cultures as well as the Haas’ unique design aesthetic.

JOE KRAMM

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Cathedrals of culture

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ONCE UPON

a design

JOE KRAMM

One of the most prestigious galleries on the international design scene originated among the stalls of a flea market in New York. The remarkable story of R & Company, launched at the end of the 90s, was written by two enterprising glass artists, the worthy heirs of Aesop...

R & Company in New York is recognised internationally as one of the leading design galleries, and among the first in the United States to dedicate its entire exhibition programme to this discipline. Its genesis is reminiscent of one of Aesop’s fables, an inspirational story that is a model for everyone. A happy-ending entrepreneurial experience which demonstrates that, in order to succeed in life, it is necessary to work very hard, have courage and insight, and – first and foremost – be willing to go without sleep. When glass-blowing performance artists Evan Snyderman and Zesty Meyers were travelling across the US in a pick-up truck (a 1961 International Harvester that went no faster than 40 mph) back in the 1990s, the idea of opening a gallery specialised in design in the heart of Manhattan was certainly far from their thoughts. Meyers and Snyderman were both free spirits and undoubtedly the idea of settling down permanently went well beyond their imagination. As often happens, it all started for fun (and out of necessity). But, in this case, what made the difference was their capacity to understand the potential of a specific market

at a time when it was still pretty marginal: in other words, they managed to create a business that they enjoyed in the sphere of creativity and culture, by definition exciting, adventurous and dynamic. Snyderman was born in Philadelphia into a family of gallery-owners, while Meyers came from Providence, Rhode Island. They met in 1991 at the Rochester Institute of Technology, where the B Team (Meyers’ performance art group) had been invited to deliver a lecture to the students. Snyderman, who was interested in the subject, turned up in his huge white 1968 Cadillac (with enormous leather seats, Zesty remembers). For one reason or another, the two have continued to work together since then. Initially as professional glassmakers, helping each other in the production of works that had been commissioned to them. Later, they shared an adventure that was built on hard work and plenty of intuition. In 1996, when he was offered a teaching post at UrbanGlass, in Brooklyn, Snyderman understood that it was time for him to move to the Big Apple, leaving his native city and his huge loft located in a disused fire station, stacked with


112 projects, objects of all sorts and piles of books (which he allowed his guests to consult in situ, but never take off the premises). But how could he get rid of all those objects, paintings and tools many of which were valuable - that he could not take with him? A friend who had a market stall on 11th Street and Avenue A, in Lower East Side, invited Snyderman to share it, to help him get rid of all that stuff. Since Myers also had some odds and ends that he wanted to dispose of, the flea market became their shared adventure and, very soon, a success for both. They started to sell their possessions on the ground floor (the free lot beneath the pay lot, where you pay a dollar to enter) and immediately recognised the great potential of this market. Once they had disposed of their own stuff, they set out to look for more objects and put up an efficient cellar clearance organisation; thanks to their taste and instinct, they managed to accumulate truly interesting merchandise, selected according to their own strict criteria. They would glean the information in newspapers, look up the addresses and get up at 4am to drive there in their van in order to be the first in line at 5am, and have first choice on the goods. They bought and resold easily, initially for modest sums, between $5 and $40. With time and passion, this activity became

so methodical and consistent that it guaranteed them constant and continuous sales. They would manage to sell, on the same day, something that they had bought 400 kilometres away on that same morning. Meyers and Snyderman became more and more confident and in 1997 they decided to buy a warehouse in Williamsburg (which at the time was off the beaten paths) where they opened up a small shop, without ever abandoning their market stall at weekends. The income was growing, and a name was needed. Until that moment they were known as EZ Pickins (playing on the assonance with “easy pickings”). R & Company was officially born during a trip to Upstate New York, in a dusty backroom where the two ran into a large, bright red neon light in the shape of the letter R. Being wellknown among the market stalls on 26th Street, they successfully built a stable clientele, which grew (also financially) along with them. Meyers and Snyderman are proud to underline that many of today’s collectors were among their first customers, back in the early days, and that most of the people who cross the threshold of their large gallery in Tribeca (inaugurated in May 2000, at 82 Franklin Street) are old friends. At the beginning of the new millennium, the direction to take was clear

Above, from left: “Collage” side table in bronze with crystal top, a unique specimen designed and produced by David Wiseman (USA, 2013); “Beddy White” daybed from the “Beast” series: a unique specimen created in white Icelandic sheep fur, with wooden horns and cast bronze camel feet. Designed and produced by The Haas Brothers (Los Angeles, 2015).


Cathedrals of culture

JOE KRAMM

The name of the gallery was inspired by a large, bright red neon light in the shape of the letter R

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to them, and they set about broadening their horizons: they travelled extensively, particularly to Scandinavia, where they filled container-loads with Eero Saarinen or Tappio Wikkala objects that they shipped back to the United States to resell. They needed staff and an organisation, and it was necessary to keep on investing in order to grow. The rest is history. The gallery currently works with influential contemporary artists, including Wendell Castle, David Wiseman and the colourful Haas Brothers, in addition to dealing with the most diverse historical designers, from Gruppo Strum to Joe Colombo. Snyderman has a passion for radical Italian design, Meyers for Latin America. R & Company is invited to participate in the most prestigious art and design fairs worldwide, and Meyers and Snyderman are active more than ever: they promote Design Miami ever since the debut of this very successful event, publish highly prized books, organise exhibitions, curate events on all five continents and are constantly developing collaborations with museums and personalities, without ever losing the spirit of adventure and fun that they set out with. Meyers and Snyderman sometimes still wake up at the four in the morning, but only to go to the airport.

This page, bottom, “Leotard” table in hand worked red gel-coated fiberglass-reinforced plastic, made in a limited edition of six, originally designed in 1968 by Wendell Castle (Rochester, New York); unique “Assemblage” pendant lamp in hand-blown, cut and polished glass, designed and produced by Thaddeus Wolfe (USA, 2015). Top, a view of the “Difficult” exhibition curated by Jim Walrod (2015). In the foreground, a work by Masanori Umeda.


u

Re-turn

nique economic, productive and cultural resources: this is what the métiers d’art represent for Italy’s growth. Provided we are willing to give up sterile and dualistic conceptions

THE FUTURE LIES IN OUR HANDS. IT’S TIME TO USE OUR HEADS!

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The opening of the 21st Milan Triennial international exhibition - and, in particular, of the “New Craft” pavilion at the Fabbrica del Vapore - highlights a topical issue: the métiers d ’art are of central importance not only in relation to luxury goods but, more in general, to all the top-end products that characterise today’s dialogue between fine craftsmanship and technology. One might take this one step further, and trace the unmistakable touch of the master craftsman even where one least expects to find it: in the biomedical field (I’m thinking of high-tech prostheses, for instance), in contemporary art restoration (does anyone know what it takes to restore a work of art that is made with perishable organic materials?) or, more in general, in the daily lives of those who want a beautiful and functional object that does not necessarily have to be connected with the mythology of luxury. To perceive the métiers d ’art as key economic, productive and cultural resources for the growth of our country is of fundamental importance, if we want to guide them into the future. But the centrality of this role calls for composite, complex, multi-faceted features. It has to reflect the interpretative skills of a cabinet maker who translates the project of a designer into a beautiful

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piece of furniture; the intuitiveness of a seamstress who gives life to the sketch of a fashion designer; the inventiveness of a set-designer who gives form to a filmmaker’s vision. At the same time, it has to be able to integrate and highlight the possibilities that technology not only offers, but almost imposes. A technology that does not relegate man to the role of someone who simply carries out the work, but, on the contrary, must develop man’s creative potential and perfection of execution. The risk we run, as always, is that of remaining frozen in a sterile narrowmindedness: like believing that 3D printers or digital technology have nothing in common with the production of handmade beauty, or regarding a Maître d’Art as a relic of the past, a figure who, at best, can be evoked with nostalgic compassion. This Manichaean conception is reactionary and harmful, as it prevents us from concentrating on the fundamental resource that would, instead, enable us to develop fine craftsmanship in the future: that is, the young generations. These are the master craftsmen of tomorrow. The sorcerer’s apprentices of today. Who, independently and often surprisingly, feel the urge to discover the extraordinary dexterity that comes from tradition. And, in an equally spontaneous way, they filter it through the prism of digital technology: a prism that is an integral part of their lives and which will, we hope, enable them to give new colours to the beautiful and refined insignia of the most authentic métiers d’art. As Nobel peace prize laureate Ellen Johnson Sirleaf wrote: If your dreams do not scare you, they are not big enough. I do not know if the master craftsmen of tomorrow are scared by their own dreams, but I do know that we should respect them, because the beauty of the 21st century will spring from their dreams, and it will be made by hand. As is always the case, when beauty is involved.

09/03/16 12:18


Institut National des Métiers d’Art: Building the future of crafts



Under the supervision of the Ministry of Culture and Communication, the Ministry of State for Commerce, Craft Industries and Trades, Consumer Affairs, and Social and Solidarity based-Economy, the Institut National des Métiers d’Art (National Institute of Arts and Crafts) carries out a general interest mission on behalf of the arts and crafts professions. Like the five fingers of the hand, the role of the French National Institute of Arts and Crafts (INMA) is orchestrated around five missions: • State operator providing assistance to the arts and crafts: interface between the State, the local authorities and the professionals. • Laboratory of the future of arts and crafts: the driving force for the research-development which prepares the future of arts and crafts. • Networks operators and level of commitment: creator of exchanges between economy, education and culture, networks leader to update training, facilitate employment and entrepreneurship. • Source and place of Information for arts and crafts: at the service of professionals, young people and general public.

• Emissary of the new image of arts and crafts: proclaiming talents, organizing events. The National Institute of Arts and Crafts is working for the future of these professions of tomorrow. • To develop the expertise and research about arts and crafts, INMA organizes different types of conferences and events. The second edition of its international symposium, entitled “Arts and Crafts: challenges and economic outlook” (november 2015), has successfully demonstrated the economic potential of arts and crafts worldwide. The symposium’s proceedings will be published in 2016 • For over ten years, the European Artistic Crafts Days (Journées Européennes des Métiers d’Art) coordinated by INMA have showcased the diversity and enthusiasm of arts and crafts professions throughout France as well as in other European countries (19 participating countries in 2016). Scheduled from April 1st to April 3rd 2016, the 10th edition will be based on the theme “Gestes de demain” and will underline the universal values conveyed by arts and crafts

Institut National des Métiers d’Art Viaduc des Arts, 23 avenue Daumesnil, 75012 Paris, France Tel.: +33 (0)1 55 78 85 85 | info@inma-france.org | www.institut-metiersdart.org

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ARTS & CRAFTS & DESIGN

8

TRADITIONS

At the ancient mill on the river Canneto, in Amalfi, the Amatruda family produces handmade paper since the 15th century

DISTINCTION

The gentleman’s wardrobe inspires new creations by Vacheron Constantin

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AUTHENTICITY

Japan: where the beauty of an object emerges from its own imperfection

CREATIVITY

Portugal’s heritage pulsates in the visionary works by artist Joana Vasconcelos

11/03/16 12:04

Arts and crafts and design 8  
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