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CTRLZAK [kənˈtrəul/zæk]; sm. art, design, creative studio; a hybrid studio that integrates diverse disciplines and cultures. The origin of the word ~ derives from the initials of its founders and the computer key combination CTRL+Z, used in standard alphanumeric keyboards to take you a step back. Founded by artists and designers Katia Meneghini and Thanos Zakopoulos, the duo’s creations are inspired by their experiences around the globe, their own rich cultural backgrounds, and the natural world that surrounds us. ~ creates artworks, objects and spaces but above all points of reflection where form follows meaning. ~’s projects and extensive research into tradition and cultural context create a new hybrid future by learning continuously from the past. Each project is a story waiting to be told, with a multitude of forms and endings. Each one experiments with diverse methods of narration where symbolism and irony go beyond aesthetics and functionality in order to make people contemplate their actions and the world that we live in.

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Hybrid Culture

( learning from the past )

Human beings have the same fundamental needs and desires. What creates a divergence in the expression of those is the environment in which they live in. The climate and the materials found in each corner of this planet are what determine these expressions. Throughout their brief history human beings have managed to re-invent themselves continuously by developing a vast diversification of expression in all fields of life. As a result many diverse skills and degrees of knowledge have been acquired each one based on the humans’ distinctive environment. One has only to examine human history to realize that it is filled with remarkable achievements that in most cases help humans understand better their present lives. If one examines even closer (s)he will realize that on many occasions those achievements are but different expressions of the same issue, usually all of them worth examining. Nowadays the exchange of information is extremely rapid and much easier than it was in the past, this leads to an unprecedented cultural mix that usually favours the most popular expressions but not necessarily the most interesting ones. The mingling of diverse cultures though is not a recent thing. Since the first hominoids started wandering around the globe hybridizations of all forms occurred and even more so in the last 500 years; the result of all these interactions is the world that all humans perceive at present. Hybridization will certainly continue more than ever in the future and will influence the lives of human beings in more than one way. In order to achieve a conscious Hybrid Future though, humans must look beyond their superficial differences and learn instead from their common past.

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A series of ceramic pieces reflecting on the historical production of Chinese and European porcelain and its’ centuries of cross-fertilisation between Western and Eastern aesthetics. CeramiX is a reflection upon the irony of history through the world of ceramics.

The CeramiX Art Collection consists of 24 original artworks derived from classical Chinese and European plates, bowls, vases and cups, reassembled as unusual remixes. These items where sought for in antique stores and flea markets and some of them even come from personal family collections. The pairing process of the two heterogeneous halves is by no means arbitrary; each piece has a visual narrative created through a careful selection of the two parts in such a way that they complement each other, enriching the end result.

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The Ceramix Design Collection collection underlines some of the formal characteristics identified during the initial research and applies them within the design process. The result is a series of tableware which employs simple contemporary forms to symbolise a complex past.

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Inspired by the CeramiX Art Collection the Hybrid series brings art closer to everyday life. The pieces are graphically divided between east and west with a coloured line marking the boundary between the two styles and, paradoxically, strengthening at the same time the union.

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The Hybrid project looks at the future while reflecting on the irony of history proposing consequently an evocative contemporary interpretation.

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views of the ‘Hic et Nunc’ exhibition at Palazzo Moroni (Bergamo, Italy)

Hic et nunc was especially conceived for the space of the Moroni mansion in Bergamo’s old town with the scope of discovering and reliving it through a multitude of viewpoints. The Hybrid porcelains, the CeramiX Art collection, the fabrics of the Flagmented project and a sound installation designed specifically for the occasion interacted with the traditional furnishings and objects already present in the space. Visitors thought at first glance that all was as it should be but then discovered gradually contemporary pieces that made reference to the existing porcelain ones, alongside each other. They were thus accompanied to a journey that made them seek and discover among the objects of the past, “new” souvenirs of a hybrid world.

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traditional chinese music

hybrid sound area

traditional european music

The sound installation created for the occasion was located in the ballroom at the centre of the mansion. The visitors on their guided tour passed first from one side of the room, where classical waltz music was heard, while entering the room from the other side they listened to pieces of traditional Chinese music. Concluding their tour they found themselves in the centre of the ballroom where the two kinds of music mingled together forming

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a new hybrid one.

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Flagmented is a series of artworks that integrate traditional fabrics from two diverse cultures, the European and the Chinese, blending them to form a single textile. The project represents a possible future able to surpass normal cultural borders and expressions. Classical European embroidery and Toile de Jouy are coupled with traditional Chinese fabrics forming unique pieces that stitch together the two diverse realities. The unexpected results mark a new era of globalisation becoming the flags of a new hybrid culture.

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Cross(me)Knot combines together Tibetan and Nepalese designs with typical European motifs. Following a meticulous research related to carpet weaving techniques in both cultures and their co-respective designs, these hybrid carpets unite traditions, both visually and technically. Cross(me)Knot conveys symbolically a future reality able to surpass geographical borders, based on the lessons of the past. Typical European motifs, like those of the Savonnerie carpets or others of English origin, merge with images of Tibetan tradition where the representation of tiger pelts holds a prominent role. The results are unexpected designs that form a single entity reconfirming the birth of a new hybrid culture. Technically wise the Tibetan part is weaved utilising the traditional Tibetan knot maintaining a certain thickness which is lost on the European part that is thinner but more detailed. The result is a unique piece which embodies diverse weaving techniques created on the same loom frame.

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views of the ‘Paradigms of a Hybrid World’ exhibition at Spaziootto gallery (Milan, Italy)

Starting from the history of porcelain and moving on to the world of textiles, the various projects presented focused primarily on two ancient cultures: the European and the Chinese. Hosted at Spaziootto, a Sino-Italian space in Milan, the exhibition proposed examples of artworks and objects that trascend national boundaries projecting them to a future world evermore unified and mixed. Examples of future possibilities that respect past individual cultures, while creating new hybrid paradigms instead of chimeras of globalisation.

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Human history has in many cases developed in a parallel manner regardless of differences in geography and climate. Examples of such parallel developments can be traced back to antiquity and they are usually related to mankind’s most basic needs. Seating, being a common need among humans, has many such examples. The research in the Reverse project was focused on the historical chair archetypes that even through their multiple variations maintain their original character nowadays. An interesting example of parallel archetype design is found between the Rocchetto style European chair and the Deng gua (Lamp hanger) Chinese chair. Both seatings have existed for centuries and were used initially by the rich as general use chairs, ending up eventually in common people’s houses where they can still be found nowadays.

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THE SOURCE DIMENSION OF EACH MEANING Albert Einstein could not tolerate the idea that an electron exposed to radiation could freely choose when and in which direction to jump: “If that were the case, I’d rather be a cobbler or even better a gambler instead of a physicist”. Thirty years after, the Nobelist for physics reaffirms his belief: “If I were to be born anew I would not become a physicist but an artisan”. And why not a designer, an architect or an artist one can ask? But the real question is another one: are we the masters of our own destiny or do we simply endure it? This or that, something or something else: there is nothing more surprising than randomness and its’ subversive effects. Contrary to what Einstein claimed, he would have never been able to become a gambler, not him; he was in fact convinced that God did not play dice with the Universe, but a few decades latter Stephen Hawking categorically contradicted him by saying: “Not only does God play dice, but he sometimes throws them where they cannot be seen”. Without an issue of denial, we can nowadays say that chance (and chaos) surpasses (almost) always control. Nonetheless, while artists, designers and architects force themselves to rethink the world we live in the founders of CTRLZAK studio persist in conceiving protean galaxies. Even more: an alternative Universe. While on one hand they are ‘destroyers of worlds’ on the other hand they offer us the infinite resources that are the prerogative of the ‘creators of Universes’. Without ever relying on chance, or dice, CTRLZAK studio does not follow the rules, abolishes categories, escapes predefined frameworks and above all denies style. To them the only valid rule is that of an intrinsically cohesive heterogeneity. Contrarily to other creators, that base their identity on recognisable expressions, it is not possible to copy the ‘form’ of CTRLZAK studio. How come? Because theirs is a forma mentis perpetrated and perpetuated through the methodology of indiscipline. It would be reductive to describe CTRLZAK as two bodies that thing in unison and work with four hands. In them there is no duality but unity; they are probably the only two-headed creation that escaped the thunderbolts thrown by Zeus to separate in half the androgynous corpses, which were half male and half female. The founders of CTRLZAK studio belong to the original myths (that are immortal) or in other words to a source dimension, that of thought which scours space and time. Since they often resort to ‘paradigms’ in order to con-

note/advocate their research, it only seems fitting to adopt a diverse taxonomy: ‘Ucronia’ instead of Hybrid Culture, ‘Distopia’ in the place of Social Irony and ‘Eterotopia’ for Nature/Cosmos. It is not by accident that from this nomenclature Utopia was excluded, an unpopular concept to CTRLZAK, since everything that they conceive is also feasible. Each artwork, each exhibition setup and each object they envision is profoundly iconic and sensually tangible: from a germinal idea a formal concept is developed that takes flesh as a concrete thought. At the end of the day, it is the thought itself that is structural, functional and substantial. If I were asked to define the founders of CTRLZAK, I would have no doubts: they are living hyperboles. If I had to utilise a metaphor though, a histological tissue would come to mind (after all also biological tissues differentiate themselves in form and function). In CTRLZAK’s case it is superfluous to talk about art, design or architecture, of useful or delightful, it all comes down to the ratio that generates the inventio and this in turn is translated to projects endowed with ethics and with a philosophy of their own. Louis Sullivan used to say that “Form follows function” and there are some like Alessando Guerriero that provocatively inverted the axiom in “Function follows form”. But the truth lies elsewhere and CTRLZAK teaches it to us: Form follows meaning. Abram Games was right in saying “Maximum meaning, minimum means” following the teachings of Mies Van der Rohe’s “Less is more” eventually scoffed by Robert Venturi in “Less is bore”. But it is not that important to bask in the meaning of such things as it is not that important to ponder too much on the meaning of life. These kind of mental processes require periods of long incubation before they are brought to a conclusion, they have to be fuelled by research, studies, travels and discoveries that can only be accumulated throughout the years. The founders of CTRLZAK studio demonstrate to us just that with this monograph. A thesis and at the same time an antithesis, where the complete/complex gaze transforms in a comprehensive meaning –even omniscient- that we are not probably ready to comprehend just yet but that maybe in time and space we will succeed in accepting. Alberto Zanchetta, art curator & critic

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Social Irony

( living in the present )

The hybrid world that we perceive today is based on relationships that human beings have created in their brief existence on this planet. These relationships are often based on conventions that create frameworks within which humans work, live and operate, typically called societies. In these societies humans strive for economic success and social status (inappropriately connected most of the times) through the act of possessing: knowledge but mainly material things. These items, regardless of their nature, become symbols, bearers of meanings and on many occasions objects of desire. Regrettably humans tend to have a rather selfish perception of the world and are anxious to measure their success through the apparent value of their possessions rather than their actual worth. Furthermore concepts like religion, politics and ethnic identity cloud the judgment of human beings making them have an even more biased perception of life. As a result complications and strife are created. But living is not that complicated in itself, it is humans that complicate it through their lack of awareness. Humans take many things for granted and forget to reflect during their everyday lives, they remain most of the times to the surface of things neglecting to comprehend them for what they are. What they fail to realise once more is that by doing so they are responsible for their misfortune since material fulfillment by itself is not enough. In order to have a more gratifying future, awareness is paramount. Humans need to be more genuinely curious about others and everything that surrounds them, realising the true value of relationships on one side and that of the material world on the other, that they themselves have created.

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The culinary act, seen as an occasion of encounter, has been the first form of ritual: a pagan customary practice that has transcended to what is known as the Christian sacrament of the Eucharist. “Take and eat, this is my body; I am the bread of life, he who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty.” According to Christian tradition transubstantiation is the physical transformation of bread and wine to Jesus Christ’s body and blood. A laid out table with tableware created from church host (sacramental bread) is the transfiguration of Jesus’ body in objects, in an ethereal personalization and veneration of the product. A comment on mass consumerism and the lack of values through the profanation of the host as a food substance, bringing it thus back to a worldly level. In a contemporary historic moment of ideological, political and religious crisis Transubstantia Paganus is a mirror that allows the comparison between the spectator and the metaphorical meaning of the work; we are all part of the process, victims and executioners of the decadence in every field of contemporary life: religion, politics, society and the environment. The objects composing the banquet reflect the condition of fragility and emptiness, celebrating the return to a process where symbolism is stronger than morphology, denying the object’s own substance which is lost in primordial and fragile forms.

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‘Rituale di Transformazione’ performance leftovers at Adiacenze gallery, Bologna. SOCIAL IRONY


Waterness was a floating installation on the river Arno, Florence for LVR that presented the essence and the importance of water in its multiple forms. The visitor became involved using all his senses in an experiential journey of transparencies and reflections. A narrative path of awareness and reflection on the value of water and our direct relationship with this element. The installation was completed through an action of water tasting, using samples from different countries where there are issues related to fresh water. Drinking water is a limited resource essential to life, but in many countries water is still contaminated causing diseases, infections and ultimately deaths. An open invitation to reflect while underlining everybody’s responsibility towards the greatest gift this planet has to offer.

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Since ancient times people have come up with ways to safekeep their most precious possessions. Centuries ago in Greece and Rome, Egypt and even China containers with intricate mechanisms were devised all with one purpose: safeguard their content. Safes and vaults are still used nowadays and are now more intricate and complex than ever, even though the basic concept is still unchanged. CTRLZAK’s research on the subject took the object’s concept a step further questioning the actual role of a safe. Protection of valuables is an important issue but what is valuable and what is not is something that is decided by the people who place it inside a safe. The Precious cabinet puts in evidence the valuable contents for everyone to see creating containers that are as valuable as the objects ‘hidden’ within them. It is up to the owner to decide what (s)he wants to hide in plain sight.

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Monumentale is a collection of tableware inspired by the Italian architectural heritage. The collection aims to promote cultural knowledge and familiarisation with the Italian heritage around the table, through a series of different designs. The designs depicted on the objects are patterns corresponding to architectural drawings of buildings selected for their historical value and location in the Italian territory.

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AerasTehnis was a site-specific exhibition created for the Mantrotoihos - Atelier Spiros Vasiliou (Greek painter 1903-1985) in Eretria, Greece. The work presented emphasised the artistic value of the place itself conceived many years ago by the artist as an open air gallery. The perception of the exhibition space was transformed utilising stretch film in the basic RGB colours that were illuminated accordingly. The aura of the past and the memory of the artworks, that are regularly exhibited inside these pavilions, form the ’artistic air’ which was enclosed and presented in a different point of view confining the pavilion spaces to their own limits. The viewer does not have access inside the pavilions and is forced to watch everything from the outside. The space in itself becomes the artwork and the audience is invited to re-evaluate the role of the environment around him as well as that of the traditional work of art.

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Inspired by the medical world the Remeditate project is a series of items reflecting upon the symbolic and functional issues of objects. Users are invited to coexist with atypical pieces that one would find difficult to accept in everyday life, undoubtedly disassociated from the usual concept of well-being. An ironic operation which goes beyond the aesthetics of the products and refers to the ephemeral conditions of human life.

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A form that reminds of a sofa of times past with a classic black leather upholstery that is ruined in parts, only to reveal a second identity. Underneath the vegetable-tanned aniline-dyed leather the cuts reveal a precious historic fabric from the archive of Luigi Bevilacqua in Venice. Like the clothes of the nobility of old, which had slashes that emphasized the richness of the garments on the inside, Fylgrade is not afraid to demonstrate its rich inheritance underneath its customary skin. The refined soul that emerges from the slashes makes us reflect upon the futility of appearances and reminds us the importance of tradition that forms in most cases the basis of today’s creations.

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Fylgrade “Magic is real here Sooner or later you see What’s on the inside”

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The elastic support bands, normally hidden inside the structure of cushioned furniture, come out of their structural boundary and outline the volume of the seat through an entwine of bands: Ligomancer is a sofa where lines become form. The piece is conceived as a challenge and a reflection upon the traditional idea of a sofa where the user is confronted with a network of bands delineating a surface that negates the seating area itself. Only through interaction the possibility of seating is accomplished and the user finds himself nested comfortably within a web like nest of the material that supports, creates and adorns the piece.

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“Nimium ne crede colori� (Virgilio, Bucoliche)

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With the Ishihara project CTRLZAK investigates the field of visual perception but also the concept of perception as a whole. The project consists of different creative expressions utilising various forms and materials. The name derives from the Ishihara test that is utilised to determine colour vision defects (widely known also as daltonism). The test consists of 38 plates containing groups of coloured dots of the same brightness on a white background. The subject examined has to recognize numbers or pathways that are usually invisible to daltonic people. In some cases though the table contents are conversely visible only to those with red/green colour deficiencies. One of these expressions takes form in a collection of carpets inspired by those exact plates presenting patterns made by coloured dots that form an overall message decipherable only by colour-blind people. Another expression of the same concept is the Unflaged series that transforms the images of national flags without changing their original form rendering them in certain cases identical to others or simply unidentifiable. The Ishihara project emphasizes different levels of reading, which can potentially vary for each human being. Thus the question arises: if the vision is subjective, is there an absolute basis for determining its nature?

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Wooden legs of old take new life as they liberate themselves from the restriction of tables and chairs and become walking sticks that no longer support surfaces but people. Walking Legs is inspired by the classic wooden legs supporting old (and contemporary) furniture made with the traditional technique of wood turning. An experimental project which was done with the help of expert Italian woodturner Claudio Bolis who represents the 3rd generation of a family specialising in this traditional art.

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CTRLZAK: Design that speaks Katia and Thanos represent with their works the continuity between disciplines. Coming from diverse backgrounds and experiences they have crossed their unconventional points of view giving life to an unusual body of works, ahead of their time. Their methodology is nurtured by different paths and approaches, Thanos a designer and a photographer, Katia with art studies that brought her to Venice, the city where the two met and started their creative fellowship. They are united by their will to narrate stories utilising a new figurative alphabet, conceptually similar to that of ideograms, or in other words, a synthesis of meaning. They have in fact created an original language, ironic and symbolic, in order to give new expressive values to common objects, capable of changing perception, without sacrificing the objects’ relevant functionality. They dabble with concepts such as time, memory and luxury inventing symbolic metaphors that add the element of storytelling to their works. As in the case of Aesop’s fables, their stories contain a moral meaning, free of moralisms, often amused so as to reconcile people with things, creating elements of surprise related to the sphere of living. They have introduced the idea of hybrid, starting from everyday life, with a bone china series produced by Seletti in 2011, characterised by images divided graphically in two halves: oriental and western tradition create on the table the fusion of the two figurative schools. Their will to imbibe from diverse sources is never concealed by inventive pretexts, but is used instead to shape their storytelling in a more mythical way while bestowing an artistic value to everyday life objects. The hand-knotted rugs they designed, utilising Nepalese and Tibetan techniques, portray a mix of Tibetan and European motifs marking them as well clearly as hybrid. Luxury is not considered a taboo, it is instead put on display: the safe box cabinet, solid and squared, created for Editions Milano has a brass mechanism but is completely transparent placing the valuables within on display for anyone to admire; the Nebulas descent from the Cosmos to be portrayed as a wallpaper for interior spaces; the Quartz

armchair is a nest that embraces its user thanks to a structural grid filled with blocks of polyurethane faceted like quartz formations. Their work on the concept of memory is not a nostalgic one, but belongs instead to what the epistemologist Eleonora Fiorani defines as ‘the time of returnings’. The sewing cabinet represents symbolically a returning. It is a contemporary wooden container, similar in form to a traditional box or sewing furniture, rich in compartments, where today instead of threads and needles one needs to safe keep the traces of memory, in order to avoid their disappearance due to the continuous flow of things that assail us. I believe that we need to give voice to CTRLZAK’s projects learning their alphabet that has a lot to tell us on the meaning of contemporary design. If things are eloquent then their interpreters are superfluous. An end then to words of comment and instead a thank you to Katia and Thanos for their continuous will to surprise us. Cristina Morozzi, design critic & journalist

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Nature/Cosmos

( back from/to the future ) Human beings have the fortune to be part of a remarkable planet situated in a rather serene corner of a medium sized galaxy within the known universe. For many years since their appearance humans have battled the elements and tried to tame the wild life and the land that surrounded them. In this they have impressively succeeded but in doing so they have greatly damaged other life forms and the planet itself. Ironically enough human beings have learned everything they know by observing the natural world and have utilized its very own resources to build the things that they saw and imagined for themselves. One thing though they did not wholeheartedly learn: respect. Greedy and selfish human activity has caused the mass extinction of plants, animals and other organisms generating what is known as the 6th Extinction, the only one of its kind to be caused by a species originating in this planet. Humans blinded by their anthropocentric view of the world fail to see that the incessant damage they fashion will ultimately only harm themselves. Planet Earth has existed for over 4.7 billion years without the human species and will continue to do so at least until its star, the Sun, burns out and that won’t happen for another 5 billion years. What humans don’t realize is that they are part of a whole, a system of sorts that relates them directly to Earth and in consequence to the Universe. They keep viewing themselves as something that observes the vast Cosmos around them instead of grasping it is actually the Universe looking at itself. From the tiniest particles of matter to the most complex organisms that inhabit Earth, exists a continuity that reaches the furthest points of the known galaxies where new stars are formed and extinguished utilizing the same processes that have constituted life, as human beings perceive it, in all its forms. There is still much to be learned from and within the Cosmos but until human beings understand how insignificant and how important at the same time their existence is as part of a whole, they will never realize the future within time for what it really is: a constant present.

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Coralfull (waterproof wallpaper)

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Coralless (artwork on coral bleaching, the process by which corals lose their colouration and turn a ghostly white, a phenomenon that happens when they become overly stressed especially when exposed to warmer than normal temperatures and excessive sunlight).

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From Parasitic to Symbiotic was the title of the project for Ekies all senses resort based upon the area’s special ecosystem (Halkidiki, Greece), where rounded stone volumes and pine trees are in direct contact with the sea. CTRLZAK developed creative solutions that underline nature’s presence and invite visitors to reflect on their relationship with it. The typical Mediterranean Pine tree (Pinus Pinea), which is found in the region, was the archetype of the project. Starting from the lower parts of the Pine tree, the roots are translated into various paths leading visitors gradually towards the sea shore and eventually branching inside the sea itself. Going higher up the tree-trunk, one finds the tinder fungus (Fomes fomentarius), an umbrella-shaped fungal species, that inspired the new shade coverings of the lounge area.

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Inside the tree’s branches there are also parasitic organisms such as the Pine Processionary (Thaumetopoea pityocampa) whose larvae form silk-like nests and constitute the inspiration for the ‘cocoon’ that wraps around the gourmet restaurant of the Treehouse. A seemingly negative connotation that creates yet a scenic setting hopefully making people reflect on their role within such a context while providing a unique gourmet experience. The above metaphor and other related elements within the project aim to underline in a symbolic way the transition of the visitor’s role from parasitic to symbiotic, creating a harmonic relationship between humans and nature.

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Details

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BDFFP (project on Forest Fragmentation)

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Modern extinction rates of vertebrates have increased drastically in the last 500 years and the main cause for this is none other than man himself, directly or indirectly. The basis of this project are two mammals that could still be found in large numbers in Africa a few centuries ago but were hunted to extinction by humans: the Bluebuck (Hippotragus Leucophaeus) and the Bubal hartebeest (Alcelaphus buselaphus buselaphus). The Fendo project takes the form of two sculptural objects that replicate the shape of the animals’ heads and characteristic horns, while a mirror is placed where the animal’s face would originally be, reflecting the faces of the people looking into it. The humans complete the work with their own faces creating thus a new creature which is at the same time the hunter and the hunted.

Fendo are hybrid objects that reflect our past and give a glimpse to our future when we will inevitably become the victims of our own actions.

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Extinction by definition is the end of an organism or of a group of organisms (taxon), normally a species. Most great extinction events in the past were caused by ’normal’ evolutionary dynamics (glaciations, volcanic eruptions and other unpredictable natural events such as the collision of an asteroid) but the long course of extinctions is increasing in a frenetic rhythm not related to any past events. In the last centuries especially the phenomenon of extinction is inversely proportional to the anthropogenic action (for example: deforestation, territories’ conversion in agricultural or farming areas, urbanisation, pollution, introduction of nonnative species, the continuous rise of global temperature, etc.). The reckless and indiscriminate abuse of earth by mankind has altered the balance of the flora and fauna, threatening the planet’s ecosystems. It is thus only logical that biologists talk about a Mass 6th Extinction (defined also as “anthropogenic”) that may soon reset life as we know it on this planet.

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“A fox (Canis fulvipes), of a kind said to be peculiar to the island, and very rare in it, and which is a new species, was sitting on the rocks. He was so intently absorbed in watching the work of the officers, that I was able, by quietly walking up behind, to knock him on the head with my geological hammer. This fox, more curious or more scientific, but less wise, than the generality of his brethren, is now mounted in the museum of the Zoological Society.� Charles Darwin, The Voyage of the Beagle, December 6th, 1834

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view of the EXTINCTO: Paradigms from the Anthropocene exhibition at MAC (Museum of Contemporary Art, Lissone, Italy)

EXTINCTO: Book of Paradigms

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view of the EXTINCTO: Paradigms from the Anthropocene exhibition at MAC

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Agaxa “Lost in the forest Warrior women dancing Look: do not approach”

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“If the bees disappear from the surface of the earth, man would have no more than four years to live.� A.Einstein

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On a mountain near a Buddhist temple Thanos & Katia discovered a peculiar practice: tiny sticks placed underneath massive boulders, appearing to support them but too small to bear the stone’s weight. In the past it is probable that these sticks were placed beneath the stones by monks and had sutras carved on them. The exact original meaning of this folk tradition is unclear, although it could be the expression of a request, a vow, or a testimony. Although the different forms of Buddhism have diverse practices, this specific one is unusual. It is certainly a gesture within the Zen spirit, which has been the foundation of this project’s creative process. It also followed Zen principles of slow and fast, movement and stillness, transformation and balance; above all an open process with open results which aims to be nothing more than what it is.

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D\Zen ´s balanced volumes are inspired by a rare combination of nature and man’s respectful intervention. They are archetypal forms that sustain objects and people, imperfect forms in perfect balance. Throughout the long development process the importance was placed in conveying the essence of nature and the balance of things. The stick is man’s little touch, which supports nature but reminds us that everything is temporary.

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iMuseum is a concept store located in the island of Mykonos that brings together historical replicas from various Greek archaeological museums. The design concept can be broken down to three main axes: stratification, excavation sites and museological representation. These themes where approached independently and then grouped together through the use of materials/colours and light. The central display area consists of white asymmetric volumes, inspired by the fragmented stone slabs found on archaeological sites, that become simple display units for the largest part of the exhibits. The pavement (in Pentelikon Greek marble) reflects the defined area of an excavation site and the habitual peripheral pathways, created by wooden planks of diverse measurements that cover the remaining part of the space. The main back-wall area becomes a large stratified display installation where the primary materials used are represented: marble, brass and olive wood. Finally the brass lighting elements designed exclusively for this project where arranged in space based on the grid concept that is followed in excavation sites in order to divide the archaeological space in defined research areas emphasizing thus the importance of each item exhibited.

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Nature with its astonishing perfect geometry has always been the primary source of inspiration for most forms of creative projects. Quartz is a system that couples twodimensional pentagonal and hexagonal wooden structures, which develop in three dimensions following natural crystalloid formations.

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Dolmlod “Twins are different The mirror does not reflect All that it can see”

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A long time ago in the future, after many trials and adventures, The Traveller conquers the secret gates of the Glass Pagoda and recovers the artifacts of the JCP universe. No longer is it recorded by man or machine why The Traveller ever sought these artifacts nor is it known where The Traveller goes upon leaving the Glass Pagoda. The truth cannot be determined and it does not matter. What matters is that The Traveller, like those who travelled before, is eventually lost to stories and rumours but does not die. All the great wizards departed, vanishing into a silent limbo, to wait for the time when they would be called again. The powers abroad in the universe’s young age may recede, but they do so like dying stars, slowly and leaving small fragments of magic everywhere, waiting to be rediscovered.

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NATURE/COSMOS


Kryptal: A scientific instrument from the past, lit by magic, sustained in lava stone. form follows meaning


Antivol “The floating islands Of Arrakoth are home to Many mutant forms�

Kryptal is a scientific instrument from the past, lit by magic, sustained in lava stone.

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form follows meaning


Sand clocks were among the first instruments that man devised to visually perceive and measure time. The Timeless project utilises the properties of traditional materials in reviewing this nearly forgotten object. The main body is made of mouthblown borosilicate glass, respecting the traditional manufacturing techniques, providing the transparency and resistance that other solid materials lack thanks to its amorphous molecular properties. Inside the glass vial though, instead of sand, refined iron fillings are placed that trickle from one compartment to the other, revealing the passage of time not only through their movement but also through the creation of a small spatial crystalline structure. The base and supporting elements are made of brass, a metal that is traditionally used for scientific instruments and precision machinery. Furthermore its low magnetic permeability allows the magnet hidden in its base to interact unhindered with the iron fillings contained within the main glass body. Time is thus doubly revealed to the observer not only through perpetual movement but also through the properties of the materials that contain its visualisation.


Naia “She brushes her black hair Looking into her own eyes And planets are made�

form follows meaning


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Sideroid “The inhabitants Revere and preserve the things That fall from the sky�

form follows meaning


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form follows meaning


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the creation of the JCP Universe form follows meaning


form follows meaning


THE NATURE OF ARTISTIC EXPRESSION AND ITS RELATIONSHIP WITH HUMAN ACTIVITIES Space, time and human beings constitute a variable relationship the reading of which requires both a familiar and a contemporary understanding for all its three parts. This relationship is but a state of things reflected clearly but discreetly in all the creative work of Thanos Zakopoulos and Katia Meneghini, founders of CTRLZAK Art & Design Studio. In essence Thanos Zakopoulos and Katia Meneghini infuse concepts from space, time and humans into bodies. This process, that is the infusion of concepts in objects, finds its sources in inquisitiveness, an element present in both creators, but also in observation, a skill that is not innate but acquired and one cultivated meticulously by both. Without any doubt the meeting between Katia Meneghini and Thanos Zakopoulos was catalytic: a fascinating moment of timeless duration, testimony of which is the harmonic combination of their respective artistic creativity in forming CTRLZAK studio. Both, visionaries and ‘envisioned’, explosive and ‘exploded’, transformative and ‘transformed’, expressive and ‘expressed’, they move within the sphere of Euclidian transcendence. Even though the reception of the object is activated through vision, it is in fact the brain of a human being that transforms reception to perception. It is precisely for this reason that the perception of the object becomes for some possible, while for others impossible. It wouldn’t be in fact exaggerated to say that space, that is the natural area that surrounds human beings, and time, that is the history of humanity and the inner world of human existence, constitute one of the vastest fields of human perception. Concurrently it wouldn’t be irrational to state that it is from this higher level of human perception that stem most of the creative reflections of Thanos Zakopoulos and Katia Meneghini. A substantial endowment of the fine arts is the extension of space, time and human beings. This gift of the arts allows a conventional human to dream other spaces, times and human beings. It is a painful journey at times, because the ark of art collides on the reefs of human subconsciousness, the pain though of the impact is of redeeming nature and that is something that Thanos Zakopoulos and Katia Meneghini know

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very well. Thus, in their own unique way, they extend space, time and human beings through their artworks and creations. One has but to observe their work closely and meticulously in order to verify the truth of the statement. In my opinion, artistic creation is dependent on movement, consequence of which is course. In a certain sense, the creator resembles a bicycle rider, which stops when his legs stop moving. Put in other words, lack of movement in art leads to a halt, a halt that, if nothing else, expresses the death of creation. This ‘death of creation’ signifies, apart from the lack of life, the invariable element, something in complete discordance with Thanos’ Zakopoulos character but also that of Katia’s Meneghini. Perchance these notions are known to some in as much as they are as abstract as they are metaphorical. That, of course, is alarming both for the perception as well as for the comprehension of the artistic work and encumbers, heavily, the communication between the observer and the creator through the work of the latter. Whether we want it or not we perceive and comprehend works of art and more, through the wealth that we carry within us and Thanos Zakopoulos and Katia Meneghini took care to cultivate their own early on. Whether we agree or not, art precedes its era, hauling with her many diverse notions, well hidden though within things, objects or material bodies. Concluding this brief account on Thanos Zakopoulos and Katia Meneghini and consequently the work they have produced as CTRLZAK, we could say that the following causal association can function as a key for the interpretation of their artistic work: firstly, inquisitiveness and observation are required, because without them the desire of the observer cannot exist. Secondly, restlessness and movement are needed, since without them the will of the observer cannot exist. And, thirdly, creation and transformation are requested, since if the first is lacking no artistic work by the creator can exist while if the second is missing there remains only the death of the observer. Mihalis Arapoglou, architect, Dr of Anthropogeography

NATURE/COSMOS


The 2017 Crew Sergio Dao Daolio (Diabolik Instigator) Thimios Apostolakis (Master Craftsman) Roberta Co (Interior Killer) Federico Ghignoni (Product Wander) Nadia Vlasopoulou (Style Diffuser) Lidia Meneghini (Sculptural Tailor) Athanasios Alexo (Image Maker) PREVIOUS CREW MEMBERS Dionisis Kotopoulos, Giada Pirlo, Virginia Tardella, Andrea Caldera, Nicolò Gerin, Yeaji Lee, Haitian Yu, Cécile Ellia, Carmela La Per , Mara Labrou, Alessia Interlandi, Francesca Pizzi, Matteo Corbetta, Yue Yuan, Wijanee Sendang, Davide Mazza (il turista) form follows meaning


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Acknowledgements Photo credits: Fabrizio Annibali, 44, Athanasios Alexo, 3, 36, 42, 43, 48, 56, 57, 100, 106, 111, Studio Badini, 12, 15, Mimmo Capurso, 8-11, 24-26, 38-40, 45, 49, 82-85, Lorenzo Gironi, 6, 28, 29, 54, Thorsten Greve, 91, Michele Lamanna, 18-20, Silvio Macchi, 51, 52, 79, 93-97, 102, 103, Ezio Manciucca, 33, 72, Louisa Nikolaidou, 86-89, Vangelis Somarakis, 64, 65, 68, 69, Nikos Vavdinoudis & Christos Dimitriou, 66, 67, Wall&decò, 35, 59, 62, 104, 105, 108, Thanos Zakopoulos, 16, 30, 31, 47, 63, 77, 78, 80, 92. Infographic by Nikos Sideris (Susami), 4, 5 Book Design by Susami Creative Agency Artworks by Thanos Zakopoulos, 22, 23, 26, 27, 70, 71, 73-75, 81, 98, 106, 107. Manufacturers and clients: Bitossi Home, bitossihome.it, 10,11, cc-tapis, cc-tapis. com, 6, 28, 54, CTRLZAK for LuisaviaRoma, ctrlzak.com, 60, D3CO, d3co.it, 83, 84, 91, Editions Milano, editionsmilano.com, 44, ekies all senses resort, ekies.gr, 64-69, iMUSEUM, i-museumshop.com, 86-89, JCP Universe, jcp.design, 51, 52, 79, 93, 96, 97, 100, 102, 103, MOGG, mogg.it, 33, 72, secondome edizioni, secondome.biz, 99, Seletti, seletti.it, 12-16, Wall&decò, wallanddeco.com, 35, 59, 62, 105, 108. Institutions: Adiacenze spazio espositivo, DimoreDesign Bergamo, Green Island 2015 - Alveari Urbani, Mantrotoihos - Atelier SpirosVasiliou, Museo d’Arte contemporanea (MAC) di Lissone, Comune di Lissone, Fondazione museo di Palazzo Moroni, spaziootto, Triennale di Milano-Teatro dell’Arte. Special thanks to: Mihalis Arapoglou, Cristina Morozzi, Nikos Sideris, HuangYang, Alberto Zanchetta, Hristos & Loukia Zakopoulos. Original texts by CTRLZAK studio & Alistair Gentry.

form follows meaning


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Profile for CTRLZAK Art & Design Studio

Form Follows Meaning  

Form Follows Meaning is a book exploring CTRLZAK Art & Design Studio’s work from its inception in 2009 until now. A careful selection of par...

Form Follows Meaning  

Form Follows Meaning is a book exploring CTRLZAK Art & Design Studio’s work from its inception in 2009 until now. A careful selection of par...

Profile for ctrlzak
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