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Casa Reale


Published in 2012 Nigel Coates Ltd 25 Thurloe Street London SW7 2LQ +44 20 78381068 info@nigelcoates.com www.nigelcoates.com Catalogue designed by Rodrigo Moreira and Barbara Frischmuth Š Nigel Coates. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, print, electronic or otherwise, without prior permission in writing from the copyright holders. 2000 copies printed in Italy by Euroteam SRL, Brescia All designs by Nigel Coates and produced in collaboration with the following companies:

Nigel Coates Studio: Elizabeth Murphy, Maria Cicirello, Andrea Mancuso, Ace Morgan, Rodrigo Moreira and Barbara Frischmuth Thanks to: Sabrina Querci, Roberto Ziliani, Roberta Meloni, Carlo Boffi, Nicolas Terzani, Andrea Mazzega, Maurizio Battilossi, Piero Varaschin, Lapo and Flavia Ciatti and especially John Maybury without whose patience and input none of this would have taken place.


Nigel Coates Entratalibera Milano 17 - 22 April 2012


Guillaume de Laubier


In an abandoned Milanese apartment a ‘king without a kingdom’ sets up residence. This is the project we’ve set ourselves for the 2012 Fuorisalone. It is both an installation and mise-en-scène for an exciting group of new pieces developed with some of the most gifted Italian design companies, and this booklet is the guide. Casa Reale’s mission is to communicate the sheer energy and style of the design object, and how it can define any environment, so that crumbling decay can transform into a jewel-like setting. Here we continue our obsession with human and animal forms, the playful nature of design, and its inherent sculptural and architectural properties. We bring out the knife-edge clash between modernity and tradition. You’ll find sensuality and luxury alongside irony and humour. We want to harness chaos, celebrate the dishevelled and the decayed as an antidote to cookie-cutter modernism or flat-pack banality. At the Casa Reale you are invited to participate in a voyeuristic journey that richochets from room to room through the imagined environment of our unknown protagonist. This souvenir booklet leads you through the King’s seven spaces, and helps unravel reflections and juxtapositions, dangerous curves and sensual textures, or any subliminal eroticism contained in these objects.


A Mosaic of the Mind From the books on your bookshelves to personal collections of any kind, your home has a boundless capacity to be shaped by its contents and confines. Apartment or mansion, palace or shack, away from the public gaze, the home can frame obsessions, and stoke the imagination. In his novel À Rebours, Joris-Karl Huysmans could not have captured this rarified imagination better; his fictional antihero Des Esseintes turns his loathing for bourgeois society inside out by retreating into an idealistic world of his own creation, a world of obsession, contrivance and fictitious regality. In this context the phenomenon of design might seem contaminated, and even to possess an ambivalent genetic code. What began by harnessing industry for the public good has moved full circle, and become a vehicle for proclaiming liberation from conformity. Away from the egalitarian idealism of the Bauhaus and the Modernist project, now design can be a powerful medium of self-expression. Undoubtedly some use their home as a means to reinforce their desire to conform - think safe seating cubes and rectilinear chic – but the more engaging viewpoint, and one that reflects the proliferation of multi-choice identities, allows your home to


be just as non-conformist as you are. Home today can easily and willingly reflect your obsessions, whether taxidermy, animal paintings, Punk vinyl or a precious collection of Vivienne Westwood. The furniture, walls, lights all have the potential to work together to make something special, something tailored, bespoke, close at heart. Take courage from the King, the guttersnipe king whose kingdom looks inwards in order to look out. Who is this king and how has he constructed this duplicitous identity? By turning conflict to advantage, by seeing taste and sophistication in the dust, and by undermining pretence with irony. Though happiest behind closed doors, he loves his city, and is often on the streets, whether the markets of East London, the back alleys of Tokyo or the favelas of São Paulo. He regularly tracks these territories, and to make them his own he puts his experiences to work. This pocket palazzo is home to just such an imaginary man. On these pages you will find a personal scrapbook of images that make up his miniature kingdom inside a shabby house. His choices and shifts of perception ‘puncture’ and ‘prod’ this lowly structure with barely a kitchen or a bathroom into a dreamlike interior. A palace has taken shape among the ashes of an impoverished and inconsequential past.


In a cabinet of curiosities each object references some hallowed idea or treasure – the skull of an exotic animal, the fine example of a crystal hewn from rock, a primitive instrument for initiating fire, an ancient sex toy from Japan. In this more modern cabinet, the Casa Reale, you’ll find a cascade of crystal men, a chair covered in ostrich skin, a table charged with a distinctly animal spirit. The King draws on his experiences from far and wide. He constantly accumulates and organises his talismans and tokens into memory boxes. Whether physical object or a picture captured on his mobile phone, every image tells a story, and once selected, helps build an ever-changing snapshot of his life. With a mix of candor and chuzpa, the Casa Reale demonstrates how any home, however meagre, can be a container for oneiric flights of fancy, whether cultural, sexual, or as irrational as the mind permits. At home you can always be king or queen. As you swirl through your domain you enjoy its double takes, refractions and reflections. Behind these doors you can safely explore your being, as if constantly reorganising tesserae in a threedimensional mosaic, the mosaic of your mind.


Room 1 The Coach House This household recognises the need to engage the public, and offers free access to the Coach House on the ground level off the courtyard. Its doors are always open wide. It houses the throne-like Picaro chair, a piece that represents the struggle between social constraint and the inherent rebelliousness of human nature. Its polished steel base represents stability, whereas its bead filled cushion moves, moulding perfectly to the body. Hanging behind it is the Occhione mirror. Its curved surface draws the courtyard into the room and intergrates it with the other objects – the Ombretta rug, the chair and the Chapeau suspension lamp. The rug, one of three in the house, translates a layered abstraction into finely knotted Nepalese carpet making. The shimmering lenticular surface of the Chapeau lamp completes the composition.


Chapeau suspension lamp Slamp Lentiflex速, steel W 58 H 60 cm

Occhione mirror Slamp Stainless steel W 90 D 20 H 60 cm

Picaro chair edizioni Poltronova Stainless steel and wood base, leather upholstery W 105 D 105 H 95 cm Edition of 12

Ombretta carpet I Nigel Coates Studio with Battilossi Hand knotted Nepalese wool 100 knots per square inch L 250 W 170 cm Edition of 12


Room 2 The Stair Next to the Coach House an unassuming entrance leads directly to the foot of the Stair. Here you’ll find a pair of Ginetta sceptres, one hanging from the ceiling and one propped casually against the banister like a walking stick. A host of miniature glass men occupies the stairwell; these constitute the Angel Falls crystal chandelier. Each figure is handcrafted into a base-jumping pose with limbs outreached. In a niche half way up the stairs the gilded Corona sconce projects from a plain red panel. The Stair retains a patina that reflects its history. With large areas of wall surface reduced to flaking, barely any trace of paint remains; colour has long since disappeared. Nevertheless this is the Scala d’Onore, and the only access to the piano nobile.


Ginetta Sceptre lamp Slamp Opalflex速, steel W 40 D 40 H 154 cm

Angel Falls lamp installation Terzani Handmade crystal W 120 H 500 cm

Corona sconce Slamp Steel and gold plate W 31 D 8 H 26 cm


Room 3 The Hall This room is characterised by multiple reflections. A Gallino console table, designed in 1989 and the only archival piece in the house, stands against the facing wall. Its anamorphic design balances a plane of sandblasted glass on a single curvaceous leg. Centred over it the Cresta mirror introduces a spray of energy. On the opposite wall a Cuore ‘burning heart’ sconce hangs over the Reale sideboard, a cabinet that incorporates three rotating mirror-fronted cupboards. Lighting also comes from a variety of other sources including the Chapeau table lamp, and to the right, a line of suspended Faretto lamps that sweeps towards the far corner of the room. Next to the window the first of a series of Jolly lamps gestures towards the Dining Room.


Faretto lamps Slamp Opalflex速

Chapeau table lamp Slamp

Double: L 72 W170 H31 cm

Mirrored polycarbonate

Single: W 39 H 31 cm

W 42 H 48 cm

Cresta mirror Fratelli Boffi

Gallino console edizioni Poltronova

Glass, wooden back W 105 H 184 cm

Scrubbed English oak, sandblasted glass W 120 D 55 H 73 cm

Jolly floor lamp AVMazzega Hand blown Murano crystal

Cuore sconce Slamp

W 50 H 175 cm

Powder-coated steel W 26 D 12 H 37 cm

Reale sideboard Fratelli Boffi Beech, mirrored glass W 180 D 55 H 75 cm


Room 4 The Dining Room The Dining Room concentrates attention around a threesided table, the animalesque Domo. Neither triangle nor ellipse, not square or circle, its glass top has the outline of a plectrum. Three Domo chairs sit between each of its hand-carved legs. Equally nubile, these chairs seem charged with energy. Each one has a deep red leather seat stretched and laced to the frame. This setting is perfect for any menage à trois. Above the Domo ensemble hangs a multi-coloured chandelier, another from the Jolly collection in Murano crystal. Its four-pointed ‘joker’ component introduces red into the mix. Only one object releases the concentric focus of the room - in one corner the Punctum mirror appears to open up a gap in the wall.


Domo table I edizioni Poltronova Scrubbed English oak, tempered glass W 140 D 140 H 75 cm Edition of 12

Jolly suspension lamp AVMazzega Hand blown Murano crystal W 50 H 90 cm

Domo chair edizioni Poltronova Scrubbed English oak, leather W 48 D 55 H 83 cm

Punctum mirror Slamp Polished stainless steel, LEDs W 40 D 15 H 120 cm


Domo table and chair


Room 5 The Sitting Room Comfort pervades this room, the place where guests gather after dinner. The Back to Back sofa curves across one corner, and in its luxurious livery of worsted wool, is hard to resist. An Ombretta rug amplifies the trajectory of the curve. The Plasma chair and footstool opposite have a more naked feel. Their wire frames trace a drawing in space as though defying gravity. Bound in the softest Swedish leather, their cushions ‘float’ between the blackened bars of steel. To complete the scene the small table in the Domo group combines animal structure with a plane of glass projecting from it like a tongue. The relaxed atmosphere is completed by a cluster of Jolly lamps hanging irregularly from the ceiling around the sofa.


Jolly suspension lamp AVMazzega

Domo table II edizioni Poltronova Scrubbed English oak, tempered glass

Hand blown Murano crystal W 50 H 90 cm

W 92 D 85 H 46 cm Edition of 12

Back to Back sofa Fratelli Boffi Walnut frame, wool upholstery W 250 D 110 H 94 cm

Plasma edizioni Poltronova Powder coated steel, leather upholstery Chair: W 70 D 80 H 78 cm Footstool: W 70 D 56 H 44 cm

Ombretta carpet II Nigel Coates Studio with Battilossi Hand knotted Nepalese wool, 100 knots per square inch L 250 W 170 cm Edition of 12


Room 6 The Library This narrow space is lined with book shelves carrying lavishly illustrated volumes of Piranesi or Fornasetti prints, erotic tales that unfold in the backstreets of New York or Istanbul; there are treatises too on the sacred subject, architecture, and on the history of design. The narrow Library space expands into a portrait of its owner. Tricks of perspective emphasise its funnel shape. A Struzza chair upholstered in chilli-red ostrich leather is centred on the archway joining the Library and the Sitting Room. This somewhat top-heavy design stands on the third Ombretta rug. On the wall above the chair a row of Giglio sconces supplement the light from the Faretto suspension lamps and lead the visitor to the last space, the Terrace.


Faretto Single lamp Slamp Opalflex速 W 39 H 31 cm

Struzza chair Fratelli Boffi Walnut frame, ostrich leather W 90 D 80 H 100 cm

Giglio sconce Slamp Steel and nickel plate W 39 D 12 H 36 cm

Ombretta carpet III Nigel Coates Studio with Battilossi Hand knotted Nepalese wool, 100 knots per square inch L 210 W 170 cm Edition of 12


Room 7 The Terrace The Terrace is both termination and party terminal. Curvaceous outdoor furniture sets the stage, and makes the most of this outdoor room with the Loop furniture family. There are three pairs of loungers and three cocktail tables in between them. Among the famous cocktails that have first been mixed here is the ‘Nabucodonosor’ made from cranberry juice, vodka, a dash of peach liqueur and a sprinkling of gold leaf. Lighting comes from a Chapeau Lentiflex floor lamp and a small group of nickel-plated Giglio sconces. Like gecko, these miniature climbers attach themselves to the wall in an erratic group. Visitors are requested to sign the visitors’ book.


Loop armchair Varaschin Stainless steel, PVC lashing W 85 D 96 H 111 cm

Loop occasional table Varaschin Stainless steel, PVC lashing W 60 D 60 H 38 cm

Chapeau floor lamp Slamp Lentiflex速, steel W 58 D 58 H 170 cm

Giglio sconce Slamp Steel and nickel plate W 39 D 12 H 36 cm


A Living Language Passion for creativity and attention to detail are the reference points for our business. Our mission is to work with responsibility and creativity in the language of Venetian lighting in glass. Whether traditional or contemporary, all of our production is underscored by skills retained in Murano, the island in the lagoon that has protected this centuries old glassmaking tradition. For traditional chandeliers we apply the utmost skill to producing each piece with quality and consistency; for contemporary pieces we adapt these traditions to realise inventive, creative designs replete with wit and elegance. In recent years AVMazzega has also extended its know-how to making bespoke pieces, and can adapt production designs to any scale or setting.

Tradition and Innovation Fratelli Boffi is one of Italy’s leading manufacturers of furniture made in hardwood. Based in Brianza, the well-known area for the production of timber-based furniture, the company is dedicated to the application of craftsmanship to elaborate timber framing, hand carving and upholstery. Since its founding in 1928, the company has produced new collections each year reflecting an eclectic taste bridging between tradition and innovation. From the contemporary to the most elaborate Baroque, no other brand sustains a catalogue of such breadth or quality, values that maintain Fratelli Boffi’s profile throughout the world. In recent years the company has worked with many important names in design including Aldo Cibic, Martino Berghinz and Nigel Coates.

An Experimental Connection Edizioni Poltronova are produced with the Centro Studi Poltronova, a focus for research and documentation based in Florence. The centre was founded in 2005 by Roberta Meloni and Francesca Balena Arista in support of the Poltronova brand. It holds an important collection of original pieces and drawings charting the evolution of the company since its inception in 1957. In keeping with Poltronova’s key value of experiment, the


centre undertakes design initiatives with universities and cultural institutions. Apart from historic re-editions, the centre realises limited editions for exhibitions. In accordance with the longstanding association with Nigel Coates, the centre collaborates with him on exhibition pieces including Hypnerotosphere at the Venice Architecture Biennale 2008, and more recently works featured in the Poltronova Connection in his London gallery.

Resourceful In 1994 Slamp made its first appearance in the design market thanks to founder Roberto Ziliani’s simple but innovative idea – the now historical floor lamp, the Slamp Tube. Its planar curved surface was decorated by the most important Italian designers of the time, among them Mendini, Cibic, Dalisi, Munari. Since 2007 the well-known London architect Nigel Coates has taken up the Creative Direction at Slamp; Ziliani and Coates set to work by drawing up a value system for the brand and redesigned their product portfolio with the help of their young creative team. Today Slamp produces iconic contemporary lamps that bring subtle, seductive atmosphere to the interior. They continue to shape the brand as one of the most representative decorative lighting companies in the world.

Towards the future Since its foundation in 1972, Terzani has worked to meld traditional Italian craftsmanship with modern technology. The company dedicates its efforts to creating lighting that blurs the lines between art, luxury and design. Founder Sergio Terzani and CEO Nicolas Terzani have also intensified their commitment to experiment by establishing the Terzani Lab, an incubator for new materials, techniques and ideas. Terzani values design highly, and continues to bring a fresh perspective through partnerships with renowned designers including Dodo Arlsan, Maurizio Galante, Christian Lava and Nigel Coates. With the addition to their collection of Angel Falls designed by Coates, Terzani continues to project forwards to the future of lighting.


Nigel Coates Biography Nigel Coates (Malvern b. 1949) has consistently challenged the meaning of architecture and the object. His mission is to bring equal amounts of art and intelligence to architecture and design; whatever the space or the object, Coates will fill it with passion, irony and instinct. After training at the Architectural Association, soon Coates became an original design force, with many of his ideas drawn from the ‘confusion and excitement’ of urban life. His inventive narratives have translated into many buildings, interiors and exhibitions around the world, particularly in Japan and the UK. More experimental work has been shown in an art and design context, including Ecstacity at the AA (1992), Mixtacity at Tate Modern (2007) and Hypnerotosphere at the 2008 Venice Architecture Biennale. He is much in demand as a designer of lighting and furniture, collaborating with many Italian companies including Alessi, AVMazzega, Ceramica Bardelli, Fornasetti, Fratelli Boffi, Poltronova, Slamp, Terzani and Varaschin. Examples of his work are held in several museum collections including the V&A and FRAC. His book ‘Guide to Ecstacity’ was published by Laurence King in 2003 and his latest, ‘Narrative Architecture’, was published by Wiley in 2012.


Casa Reale  

guide for Casa Reale exhibition (Italy, 2012)

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