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in issue four

1. A selection of classy items of outdoor furniture available on the market. 2. An Interview with Chris Briffa and a spotlight on bathroom and toilet design. 3. A feature on MCAST’s Instiute of Art and Design students. 4. An interview with Luciano Micallef 5. A focus on Milan Design Week.





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Issue no. 4

The Archetype Paper The Archetype is a quarterly newspaper by onepercent ltd about architecture, design, interiors, furniture and art.

Date June 2012 Art direction by Editor Lisa Gwen Editorial design by Matthew Attard Navarro Contributor Veronica Stivala Portrait photogrpahy Alexandra Pace and Matthew Attard Navarro Other photography Chris Briffa Architects Norbert Francis Attard Kurt Arrigo David Pisani To subscribe to the paper please visit Also available from onepercent, Valley Road, Msida, Malta Cover Image Canon Neoreal 2012 - In the Forest at Milan Design Week, Zona Tortona. Milan Design Week photography by Lisa Gwen


This might not be issue No. 5, but we could almost dub this as the V issue for more reasons than one... yet we’re not about to spoon-feed you. Too easy. We’ve taken out our umbrellas and outdoor furniture in this issue – we’re feeling the warmth of the rays and looking forward to sipping those Long Islands in the garden with our feet propped up on a cushion and a good read to keep us company. All done in style. Apart from being sun-kissed, Luciano Micallef’s current solo show of glass works and recent abstract paintings have injected our first anniversary issue with an extra dose of colour. Here at The Archetype we also love loos. If they’re fun, quirky, chic or snazzy, all the better. And when we think of loos we think of none other than Chris Briffa, simply because there’s no one who does bathroom and toilet design quite as impeccably. After a welcomed overdose of visuals experienced at last month’s Salone Internazionale del Mobile and the Fuori Salone, we’re giving you a few of the highlights of the fabulous event as experienced by this Milan Design Week virgin. From field professionals to relative beginners: from masters to students. In this issue we’ve also decided to feature MCAST’s Insitutue of Art and Design students and show our support for the young visionaries who are truly pushing boundaries and paving the way forward in terms of art, design and architecture. LG

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must haves


U N S E WORTHY Outdoor furniture available at onepercent



section 1

must haves

Kente designed by Philipe Bestenheider - handwoven collection seat and backrest in mass-dyed man-made fibre. Basis 304 EP for steel chair, the rest in aluminium.


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Kente designed by Philipe Bestenheider - collection with frame steel rod, cataphoresis treated.


must haves

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must haves

Tibidabo designed by Calvin & Brambilla - table with stainless steel structure, covered with black or white man-made fibre. Seats with varnished aluminium frame and woven man-made fibre. Cushions with removable covers.


all weather sofas.

design2chill innovative sofas will revolutionise your outdoor experience‌ it’s just like having your living room sofa outside. completely waterproof and fully upholstered in a range of over 200 soft fabrics. THE ARCHETYPE PAPER 13

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Kenny designed by Kensaku Oshiro - collection in steel, cataphorisis threaded.


must haves

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must haves

Summer Set Sedia designed by Christophe Pillet - seats with cataphoresis treated steel rod frame, available in Bianco or Moka micaceo. The collection includes chair, stool and armchair with a full cushion or a separate one for the seat and/or backrest, all with removable covers.

Swirl designed by Philippe Bestenheider – collection with frame in cataphoresis treated. Power coated steel rod.


Kente designed by Philipe Bestenheider - handwoven collection seat and backrest in mass-dyed man-made fibre. Basis 304 EP for steel chair, the rest in aluminium.

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must haves

Babylon designed Giapato & Coombes – seating collection comprising sofa, armchair, pouf and low occasional tables in painted aluminium and man-made fibre cord. Cushions in mixer Dacron and feather.

Kente designed by Philipe Bestenheider collection with frame steel rod, cataphoresis treated.

Rollover Divano designed by Nigel Coates - varnished aluminium tables with slatted top and anodised aluminium edges. Available finishing: high gloss white and matte dark brown.

Obi designed by Toan Nguyen – chair with aluminium frame and hand woven man-made fibre.

Cricket Sedia designed by Anki Gnieb - varnished aluminium frame in micaceous moka finish covered with woven man-made string in moka or natural finishes.


Loop Sedia designed by Nigel Coates - AISI 316 stainless steel shaped rod structure covered with man-made fibre.

Victor designed by R & S – collection with aluminium frame, seat and backrest in Batyline in different colours.

S&S Bathrooms, Mosta Road, Lija LJA 9012 T: 21 412 222 M: 79 447 447

Chris Briffa photographed by Alexandra Pace in his Valletta residence


case study section 2

section 2

case study

FLUSHED Fun fact: The average person spends anywhere

The many functions and layers incorporated within

“More often than not, you venture out to use a

between 18 and 36 months of their life in the

this ‘limited’ space have been understood only too

restroom alone, which means you participate more

bathroom. Or thereabouts. Give or take a few.

well by architect Chris Briffa, whose projects in this

actively with your surroundings, your interaction

context prominently come to mind.

with the space changes and you become more

Admittedly, the time spam doesn’t begin to


compare to that spent in the kitchen, bedroom

Chris’s name reverberates through many circles

or lounge, yet the small room’s multifunctional

and across many strata in society: not only in

Besides the unique and influential Supperclub

dimension warrants attention. More than one might

relation to architecture but also to design and the

experience, Chris recalls that one of the pivotal


visual arts.

moments in his career came about after a fullpage photograph of his first apartment in Valletta

A loo; a wash-hand basin; a shower and/or bath;

The man has taste. Full stop. Certain projects, such

was published in a magazine. Nothing particularly

perhaps a bidet; a well-illuminated mirror; bath

as the divine design for 2 22 and the SHU store, last

strange in that really, were it not for the large bath

mats. That just about sums up the basic or most

year’s iconic Malta Design Week (MDW), the most

situated beside the fireplace in the living room.

common fixtures in any given bathroom; for a toilet

recent VAM: Valletta Art Museum proposal, and his

just subtract the shower/bath and most probably

design for the Strait Street public convenience have

The lack of physical walls and boundaries

the bidet too. Yet the position or juxtaposition

already sealed his reputation – certainly locally, but

separating spaces in interiors is nothing novel

of each of these fixtures, coupled with storage

also internationally. Yet this couldn’t be more true

today, but taking the local context some 10 years

necessities and facilities for towels, toiletries,

where Chris’s toilet and bathroom design projects

back, probably Chris’s choice was either seen

random magazines and other reading material

are concerned.

as a stroke of genius or pure madness. After all,

gives rise to endless design possibilities.

ingeniosity and madness do go hand in hand. His I first met Chris at the inauguration of the Strait

explanation behind the choice was simple: “It’s

Themes are often appropriate and often applied.

Street public convenience in 2010. It was then that

not like you have an audience when you bathe; I

Which means one can literally go potty with the

I began to note his affinity, penchant and sheer

wanted the comfort of being close to a warm fire

space. This is especially true when one takes into

sense of fun with which he undertook projects of

whilst watching my favourite programme on TV.”

consideration that restrooms/bathrooms are (in

this nature.

most cases) rooms with a very private function,

Chris’s first bathroom design project presented

often found in crowded homes or public venues

I can now detect an obvious fascination. But where

itself quite a few years back, while he was

and spaces.

does it stem from exactly? Apparently “Supperclub,

employed with Architecture Project. The bathroom

Amsterdam”. Chris describes how this trendy

was for a Gharghur residence belonging to a

Whether a sanctuary, a meeting spot for endless

restaurant’s restrooms has no conventional Ladies

quirky couple whose brief simply consisted in the

girly gossip or simply a place where some form of

and Gents; it’s toilets are rather separated by

demand for “a nice bath”. Their bathroom was to

relief is found, the toilet and bathroom – whether

Homo and Hetero. “By simply putting a different

be situated in a built extension in the ample garden;

public or private – are intimate spaces which bring

title – it becomes a game of genders, it becomes

the space was a difficult one; an irregular shape

class and culture on a par.

an experience... and it’s fun.”

with several angles to work with – the only solution was a custom-made piece for which Chris roped in


section 2

case study

his father, a talented carpenter, to create and build

use: hip, playful, sensual, clubby... The restaurant’s

the formwork which would hold the concrete till it

interior was predominantly black and dark; and the

set. Complementing the design, the bathroom was

loos were no different. Yet finding black fixtures to

Despite the success of Two and a Half Lemon and

intricately embellished in mosaic to enhance the

complete his vision was particularly troublesome; in

2 22, it was not until the Valletta local council

Moroccan theme.

the end he ‘unearthed’ some vintage 80s toilets at

engaged Chris for the Strait Street public

Halmann which finally sealed the deal.

convenience project that his flair for bathroom/toilet

Soon after setting up solo in 2004, Chris was awarded two restaurant projects for 2 22

reflected something other than themselves.

design could reach new heights. A collaborative


It’s here that Chris decided to bring the idea of

project with S&S Bathrooms, the concept for this

Valletta (2007) and Two and a Half Lemon in Birgu

gender and sex into play. The entrance to the

space was inspired by cabaret shows and the

(2006). The latter project was the first instance in

restrooms was subtle, almost undetectable;

music hall theme pertinent to the context of the

which Chris collaborated with two artists – Jon

on the doors were poignant quotes only visible

capital city’s ex red light district.

and Sandra Banthorpe – to deliver the concept for

when in close proximity. The Ladies and Gents

the restroom space. Chris was responsible for the

cubicles were identical in space, except the former

The space is a red and grey haven. But it’s more

restrooms’ layout and experience, while Jon and

contained a male mannequin hand acting as a coat

than just that; it’s also, and quite incredibly so, an

Sandra finished the space off with white porcelain

hanger, while the Gents featured a female hand for

art space. Art and toilet hygiene might not sound

figurines resting on narrow shelves and an

the same purpose. This was the first occasion in

like everybody’s cup of tea, but does it have to be?

assortment of mirrors painstakingly hand-picked

which Chris incorporated a mirrored ceiling in his

Contrasting elements often work extremely well

from flea markets and car-boot sales.


together. And Chris certainly knew how to make

Located in a separate, annexed space to the

The general lack of light and overall darkness in the

restaurant, the Two and a Half Lemon restrooms

restrooms was somewhat disconcerting to users,

Besides the curtain-shaped mirrors, the automated

comprise a quasi independent entity. On journeying

yet also part of the experience envisioned by Chris.

sanitary facilities, the small TV screens and the

to the restrooms, one is initially confronted with a

The limited amount of light and the obstacles this

highly polished steel wall acting as a dividing ‘wall’,

wall rather than a door. The restrooms have been

presented meant that visitors were not completely

Gozo-based artist Norbert Francis Attard was

devised in such a way to constitute a box in a box

aware of their surroundings and had to feel their

commissioned to create an artwork for the space.

– visitors have to work their way around to find

way around.

His point of departure and concept was three-

it work.

the loo, and even further to find the wash-hand

fold: Thomas Pynchon’s novel V, a love for YBA’s

basin and mirrors. The whole visit unconsciously

This factor enabled the success of the final layer of

Tracey Emin and perhaps an even greater love for

becomes a mini labyrinthine experience rather than

the experience: adjacent to the wash-hand basin,

his capital city, where he resided before moving to

a mere trip to ‘powder one’s nose’.

Chris opted for a see-through glass partition –

the sister island.

thereby linking the two spaces. The restrooms at 2 22 were also an experience,

Norbert’s vision for the public convenience entailed

albeit of a very different kind. Engaged for the

Due to the limited light and visibility, visitors only

a sound installation, a neon sign – reminiscent

project by the late promoter and fashion retailer

become aware of the potential invasion of privacy

of Emin’s very own – projected into the reflective

Desmond Vella, the envisioned space was multi-

and bridging of spaces when the glass surface

surface to create the letter V, and a long list of


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Female cubicle with cloak/handbag hanger in the shape of a male hand, with Murano glass curtains; at 2 22 restaurant, Valletta (2007). Photo David Pisani.

case study

Two and a Half Lemon – Unisex vanities at Two and a Half Lemon restaurant, Birgu (2006). In collaboration with artists ‘Reasons For Living’. Photo David Pisani.

The bath as part of the living space, Chris Briffa’s first home in Valletta (2001). Photo Kurt Arrigo. THE ARCHETYPE PAPER 21

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case study

FLOW. Photos by Chris Briffa Architects.


section 2

case study

The Strait Street public convenience project. Photo Norbert Francis Attard.

The Strait Street public convenience project. Photo Norbert Francis Attard.

V words affixed onto the exterior of the public

the world renowned late 1970s/early 1980s Studio

the showroom looking like a war zone”. Chris’s

convenience’s prominent red window. The whole

54 Manhattan nightclub as a model... which is

cubicles offer sustainability, 1 or 2 can be changed

project is not only eye-catching, but also somewhat

intriguing enough. Chris doesn’t reveal much detail

at any one time by simply draping a curtain over an

iconic: A little gem of a place in a bigger gem of a

about this project except for describing it as vandal

individual space for privacy and the whole set-up


and teenager proof.

can be re-thought / the design re-vamped.

The Strait Street project was meant to be the first

The art space incorporated within a toilet method

So Chris is somewhat of a design guru when it

in a series of five similar initiatives – all concerning

and concept adopted for the Strait Street public

comes to toilets and bathrooms; one cannot help

public conveniences dotted around the capital’s

convenience was, nevertheless, highly successful

but imagine the audacity (or sobriety) conceived for

streets, each incorporating a specifically devised

as a formula. So much so, that Chris used a similar

his own spaces... Chris firstly and rightly makes a

and unique art space, each having a theme

model for the FLOW* project for which he once

distinction between guest and personal bathroom:

appropriate to history and context. Funnily enough,

again collaborated with S&S Bathrooms.

The former is more playful, almost daring. In fact,

despite each of the public toilets having been

the guest bathroom is very bright – orange and

granted permits for restoration and regeneration,



yellow vintage tiles dominate the space as does the

Chris failed to receive the necessary financial back-

was one of MDW’s satellite events. The project

lead bath and the deceptively low mirrored ceiling.

up from the ERDF to take the project to the next

basically entailed the reinvention of the traditional

His personal-use bathroom is quite different;

level. Which is somewhat worrying when noting

showroom layout through the creation of 13

natural materials abound – marble, wood and steel.

that the projects granted the necessary support

distinct cubicle-like compartments, or as Chris

“I like a very toned down, contemporary palette of

were strictly restoration projects and had no long-

calls them, detached self-contained niches – each

materials, but the space must also include plenty of

term sustainable benefits, whereas the public

having a distinct theme and a particular design.

storage, and speakers or a dock for music.”

conveniences projects were efforts at restoring

Each of which was assigned to an artist or curator

function, perception and use of a public commodity.

to interpret, decorate, manipulate, accentuate...

Perhaps it’s time to redecorate or at the very least

The cubicles are collectively reminiscent of a

to incorporate some art in the loo.




The four remaining public conveniences will be

hybrid or makeshift art gallery spaces, the wash-

regenerated by a different architect and contractor.

hand basins, the baths, the tiling and fixtures are

*The FLOW project was a collaboration between

Unfortunately, Strait Street’s iconic loo is doomed

elevated to an unprecedented, quasi sculptural

Carlos and Melanie Zerafa and Andre Camilleri

to remain a shining beacon amidst a trail of

status, accentuated by the artworks with which

from S&S Bathrooms, Silvio Bartolo from Light

perfunctory functional facilities, which might serve

they have been coupled.

Projects Ltd and Chris Briffa Architects.

a purpose at the end of the day, but which will certainly not add to the capital city’s multi-cultural

Chris’s idea behind FLOW was fairly simple, “a lot of

or architectural fabric.

retail architecture has a life span of 4-6 years, then it must be renovated. With a bathroom showroom

Nevertheless, Chris is presently working on another

this becomes even more complicated because of

public convenience project in St Julians – Taking

the fixtures. Changing the display often results in



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section 2

case study

A tattooed nude, a brand of men’s clothing with

requires an employable workforce that is flexible

The forward-looking vision at the IAD has led

hints of Native American Indian woodcarvings,

and adaptable to these changes.”

MCAST to link the creative sector with other

a sci-fi film, an innovative fruit bowl, ethereal

disciplines such as ICT, thus broadening students’

photographic portraits and a living room with

This is reflected in the courses the institute offers

perspectives and skills in new media to put them

project images on TVs.

which prepare students holistically by offering them

in a better position to find a job, hence the launch

a comprehensive syllabus, with special focus on

of the Higher National Diploma in Interactive Media

These are just a few samples of the creative output

their chosen area of specialisation, be it 3D Design,

in 2008.

of the MCAST Art and Design students. Each

Graphic Design, Photography, Interactive Media,

project and each student are marked by their

Fine Art or Media (Moving Image).

idiosyncratic individuality, a trait MCAST prides itself in encouraging in its students.

Stephen Vella notes how the IAD has proved itself as an opportunity for those who have been failed

Indeed the aim of the Institute of Art and Design

by the standard education system, and whose

has always been quality vocational education

learning and development potential would have

The Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology’s

and training, which is both highly flexible and

gone overlooked and wasted.

Art and Design Institute has come a long way since

immediately responsive to the needs of a changing

it was founded 11 years ago.

and dynamic economy. Thus, the Institute of Art

“At the Institute of Art and Design, most of these

and Design (an amalgamation of two government-

individuals flourish.”

Since its inception in 2001, the institute has seen

owned schools) plays a crucial role in developing

an incremental growth in the number of students

flexible, creative thinkers and practitioners.

– which has increased from 167 in 2001 to over

A culmination of the students’ learning experience is The End of Year exhibition that gives them the

700 this year – in the courses offered as well as

Stephen Vella and Donald Friggieri, former director

opportunity to promote themselves and their work

pedagogical tools and equipment, like machinery

of the institute underline how the institute is

for better exposure and prospective employment.

and computers.

constantly adapting itself to the changing needs of local and international economy. One such

The exhibition features works by students from

Stephen Vella, MCAST Institute of Art and Design

example is the introduction of two new courses in

varying levels and specialising in different areas of

director, explains how the college approaches the

Media Production and Moving Image that will make

the creative fields, including 3D Design (Product/

arts: “The discipline of art and design provides

students competitive on an international scale.

Interior/Fashion), Fine Arts, Interactive Media and

students with a range of skills that encourage a

Media (Moving Image).

creative and lateral approach to problem solving.

“The IAD has increasingly sought to build bridges

Learners go through a series of processes that

and open dialogues with the local creative industry

This academic year has also seen the launch of

involve research, observation, concept creation

through various partnerships, the organisation of

the Higher National Diploma in Photography, and

and development. Through their design process

exhibitions, competitions and visits. Thus, since

students following this course are also being given

students engage in experimentation and finding

it’s inception the MCAST institute of Art and

the space to exhibit a selection of their best work.

alternative solutions to a problem.”

Design has increasingly become a driving force,

By guiding creative students to push their ideas and

instrumental in changing and promoting a design

They say seeing is believing. Here’s a cross section

culture,” Stephen explains.

of what a few MCAST Art and Design students

abilities to the limit and to come up with innovative

have come up with.

creations, the institute allows for the development

To this effect the institute launched the Higher

of transferable skills that can be adapted when the

National Diploma, and then the Degree programmes

students face the world after student life.

in Fine Art practice, in 3D Design and Interiors, Graphic Design and Interactive Media and in Media

“The institute strives to prepare its students for the

(Moving Image) which were sorely needed on the

constantly changing market needs. The economy

local art education scene.


section 2

case study

Angela Cassar

Gabriel Bezzina

Matthew Galea

Higher National Diploma in Photography

BA (Hons) 3D Design and Interiors

Higher National Diploma in Fine Arts

In photography, they say our eyes are drawn to a

Gabriel Bezzina has created a design that

Sciences at school, a hairdressing job followed by

red spot or focal point. I think it’s clever of Angela

addresses many of our kitchen problems.

a stint as a panel beater. Not quite the background

to have given herself an eye-catching idiosyncrasy. Her hair, you see, is dyed a vibrant red.

you’d expect of a Fine Arts student. “The fruit bowl is more than simply a place to put fruit,” notes this outgoing and sprightly design

But Matthew’s eclectic and unexpected background

This delicate young lady chooses her words

student. “We put our papers, bills, notes, biros in

is indeed what makes him so interesting and surely

carefully, a reflection of a meticulous person

there, along with apples, oranges and bananas.”

what has contributed to his latest creative venture.

art, but opted to study photography even though

Because no one likes an inky apple or a fruit-

A quiet chap, he jokes that he’s not the most

she initially planned to do Media at MCAST.

stained wedding invitation, Gabriel has created

sociable of people and had tried out panel beating

an innovative fruit bowl which he has christened

“because cars don’t talk”.

perhaps. She explains how she never really studied

With a keen eye for detail, Angela discusses her


project about the fragmented self. In one stark

He seems to have found his niche with Fine

photo a person in a white T-shirt and brown

French for ‘leaf’, the name is apt for this container

Arts now as he explores another kind of silent

trousers stands against a bleak background of

with a light and flowing feel to it, just like a leaf of

communication: art as a visual language.

nondescript grey road and pale blue sky. He holds

paper. With a prototype in hand, Gabriel points out

a notebook carrying a chiseled young man’s face.

the grooves which serve as paper holders, a small

He shows me images from his project: an oil on

This is one of 10 photos – each creating a different

surface for the fruit (his target audience are single

canvas depicting a nude female with a sketched

image of the self.

people or couples) and the back flat surface which

head and a prominent, blue rose tattoo on her

can double up as a small white board or sticky note


“This project led me to analyse in detail how people


react and act differently in different situations,” observes Angela. Although still in her first year, Angela has already

Matthew is intrigued by how the concept of beauty The idea is clever and although he doesn’t show

has changed over the ages. In the past, artists used

off, Gabriel knows his forte is product design, an

prostitutes to pose for their paintings. Searching for

area he would like to focus on in his career.

the modern equivalent, Matthew is looking into the

seen great improvements in her photography skills. Most importantly it has helped her technically.

effects of pornography on contemporary art. Gabriel has always had a penchant for art but it was MCAST that really pushed him to think outside the

Aware of the strong influence all forms of visual

Angela is keen on exploring art as a means

box. He praises the college for its teaching process

material have on us, Matthew wants to explore the

of expression as she embarks on a career in

whereby students learn to identify a problem and

power of the image further.

professional photography.

solve it. He’s curious as to how art can be used to

Yet, rightly so, this artist has her feet firmly on

He is also grateful for having learnt to have

manipulate people’s reactions and to use his

the ground and to earn her bread and butter will

confidence in presenting himself and in selling his

knowledge to communicate across cultures and to

explore commercial photography.

product. Now that I think of it, my fruit and paper

people with disability.

bowl does look rather messy.


section 2

case study

Shawn Grima

Roberta Vella

Chris Farrugia

Higher National Diploma in Graphic Design

BA (Hons) Graphic Design and Interactive Media

Higher National Diploma in Media (Moving Image)

Shawn is working on a multimedia project which

Roberta spent seven years reading for computer

Living in a society being constantly bombarded

uses space in an innovative way.

studies but always knew she had an artistic

with visual fodder, be it on TV, on our computer or

streak. Her current course in Graphic Design and

mobile phone screens, Chris knows that in order to

By playing with a wide variety of special effects,

Interactive Media allows her to perfectly combine

make his mark he needs to do something different.

he is pushing the limits of a multimedia experience

her two skills: artistry and computer programming.

to come up with new ways in which to reach

Conscious of the fact that there are few local

audiences. This may sound vague, but Shawn

As do all the students I’m interviewing, Roberta

science fiction movies, his short film, Fast Forward

explains that by coming up with new visual effects

sells her product, her final year project, persuasively

is set in the very near future, 2022, and is based

such as different kinds of waves, these could

and with confidence. Roberta has created a brand

around a new type of drug that takes the form of

eventually be used in advertising or perhaps to give

of men’s clothing called WoodLand. This brand is

audio waves.

school lessons an exciting edge.

inspired by Native American Indian woodcarvings and cleverly plays with the concept of wood as well

One kid, Jack, aged 12, survives a gunshot wound.

To present somewhat of an abstract concept,

as contemporary animal drawings. From clothing

He suffers retrograde amnesia and uses this to

Shawn is working with a team of creatives to set

items to logos to ad campaigns, Roberta has come

help the head of police nab the chief drug dealer.

up an installation which takes the form of a living

up with a thorough concept for her brand.

There’s more to the story, but Chris won’t reveal

room with sofas and four TVs in front of them. The

his surprises.

four televisions will each have different images

As the name implies, the brand is all about wood –

projected onto them. Visitors will then be able

a men’s pastel pink shirt and blue textured shirt are

Dressed in a black T-shirt and sporting savvy,

to walk through the room, sit on the sofas and

arranged stylishly against a wood board with a line

black-rimmed spectacles, this young director looks

experience the different effects.

drawing of a zebra on it. The brand subtly combines

the part. He is soft-spoken but, as one expects of

the old and the contemporary: glancing at the

a director, knows what he wants (in life and of this

Shawn explains that he has always loved art as

poster, one is met with quasi-sepia photographs of

film). Although Chris has a background in electronic

well as communicating with people. His course in

trees and sunrays bursting through clouds.

music, it was Arnold Schwazenegger that set the

Graphic Design allows him to combine the two and

directorial ball rolling:

to come up with new ways of communicating with

The prominent tall lettering spells WoodLand


underneath, coaxing you to get hold of this clothing

“I was watching Terminator,” recalls Chris with a

and to be one with the trees. Because of the

smile, “when something clicked and I realised I

A fan of clean, clear communication strategies,

interdisciplinary nature of the BA course, Roberta

wanted to make movies with special effects of my

he looks up to Erik Spiekermann, the German

has studied traditional advertising, both print and


typographer and designer an expounder of neat,

broadcasting and online advertising, both web

non-fussy design who pays meticulous attention to

and mobile. Her WoodLand brand for instance,

Admitting his obsession with science fiction, Chris


contains a Quick Response (QR) code to link to

wants to show film-makers that even with a low

online media.

budget you can create a good product.

A perfectionist himself, Shawn believes he can contribute to the local advertising scene because

The ideas are new, to Malta at least, but this is the

many have no grounding in typography, a basic

future of advertising and Roberta is already one

necessity in graphic design.

step ahead of the game.



Luciano Micallef photographed by Alexandra Pace at Gallery 5.


case study section 2

section 2

case study



section 2

case study

Defining a word is easy when the necessary tools

expanses of pure colour or the steady lines which

concern expressed in my art it would become

are at hand; yet placing that word into the context

dominate his abstracts.

purely decorative. The work needs to contain the

of one of the most revolutionary movements of 20th century modern art, is anything but.

experience, only then does it become complete. On looking closer however, one also comes across

Art is also a pretext: You either have something to

an early work portraying a figure immersed in an

say or you don’t. It all boils down to our intellectual

Defining abstraction, or particularly abstract art,

abstract surrounding which already spoke the


is problematic, in that many mistake it for the

language of his non-representational works. Here

distortion of an image, sculpture or photograph.

seems to lie the turning point – the work evidencing

As a visual artist Luciano almost feels duty-bound

Yet true abstraction relies solely on line, colour and

the instance in which his relationship with the

to engage in experimentation or delve into new

form in order to create a harmonious composition

abstract genre was ignited and slowly started to

projects: “I have the responsibility to find new

existing independently from any visual references

transpire… becoming manifest to some degree in

challenges and to engage with them. I feel the

in the world. Many however, fail to understand

his most figurative of works.

need to test who I am; this is expressed through

that abstract status may be dispelled quite simply






by attaching a title to an artwork or relating it to

Luciano often immerses himself completely in

different mediums... The ultimate test of creativity

figurative or representational elements which create

experimentation, development and exploitation of

lies in momentarily abandoning what you know;

a direct link or connotation to the natural world.

a given medium at any one time. Yet his distinct

renouncing it in order to discover the unknown.”

abstract style, his yearning for colour and firm line Luciano Micallef decidedly fits the bill when and

transpire through each chosen material – whether


where abstract art is concerned. His consistency

paper, canvas, metal or glass.

understood the uncanny connection or affinity for

and persistence with the genre has been admirable






a material: he explains how the material becomes

to say the least, which, as Durnham Professor

Today, Luciano Micallef has practically become

a vessel – a reflection of a mental and intellectual

David E. Cooper points out, does not imply a lack

a local household name and his works dominate

process through which concerns are translated to

of artistic evolution, change or development...

the walls of innumerable hotel foyers and other

reveal that part of the self which is intangible. “The

prominent buildings, yet he is somewhat of a

medium identifies you; it mirrors a period in life;

“I am concerned with the idea that one can evolve

shy man, keeping mostly to himself... letting

one’s career.” Just as paper represented fragility

without losing oneself; different paths must still lead

his artworks speak in his stead. Rarely does he

or impermanence, or stainless steel acted as a

to a singular destination,” explains Luciano. And “it

participate in collective shows and exhibitions

reflector, giving the viewer ‘centre stage’, glass

is perhaps, in his exploration of different mediums

and save the BoV retrospective held a few years

incorporated and embodied all of the aspects

that [his] work has most strikingly evolved,” Prof

back, his exhibition presence has been somewhat

utilised and addressed in the previous mediums.

Cooper writes in the catalogue to Luciano’s

relegated to his deliciously white, bright and airy

latest exhibition titled Metaphors, in which he is

gallery, adjacent to his home in San Pawl Tat-Targa,

“The human being constantly gravitates towards

unprecedently exploring the medium of glass.

which was custom-made to his own designs and

one thing or another; thus the medium becomes a


metaphor of life.”

studio walls hang a number of highly painterly

Metaphors is the fifth solo exhibition which Luciano

METAPHORS: Glassworks + Recent Paintings

works which possess the kind of tenderness

has organised at Gallery 5 since 1996 and with

(2009-2012) is showing at Gallery 5, F. W. Ryan

and poignancy which could have only been

each subsequent show, he has endeavoured

Street, San Pawl Tat-Targa.

accomplished by a master of drawing and paint.

to present a specific theme or concern: “Art is

In these works, there is no evidence of the flat

about concerns after all... without the scope or

Yet Luciano wasn’t always an abstractor: on his




section 2 3

Milan Design case Week study

VIRGIN TERRITORIES Some have called me a virgin. In actual fact, I was.

entirely stamina challenging, gripping and all consuming.

each carpet to be treaded upon. The lust to

The Salone Internazionale del Mobile

purchase and own is more than tangible. Design

Please note the past tense.

goes beyond brand – it taps into status where the The Salone in Rho was the first port of call. Talk

Yet virgin is such a crude word; it conjures so many

all is meant to be experienced and savoured.

about a baptism of fire.

images because of the obvious connotations.

Although the Salone is a mecca for people in the

But virginity has various shapes and forms. And

The grand event has been a staple on the

biz, there was a lot to be read between the lines.

technically, one can lose their virginity countless

international design calendar for some 50 years,

I’ll take just one example – Poliform. Each of their

times. It’s simply a question of firsts.

but that doesn’t make it any easier to describe

pavilions was jam-packed. Constantly.

or explain in any such terms. So how to express I was, ashamedly, a Milan Design Week virgin.

the Salone in words and a handful of images to

But why? Well, besides the name and the

Thankfully no longer. But before getting into the

one who’s never experienced it; or perhaps to one

sexiness of anything Poliform, each pavilion, and

nitty gritty, bear with me for a minute. Because

who has but still longs to see it through the eyes of

subsequently each section within their pavilions

some things, or rather some rants, need to be

another? Attempt is all I can.

was immaculately curated. The kitchen areas were

expelled from one’s system.

especially tantalising. Big splashes of colour, edible A never-ending catwalk made up of a flowing river

compositions marked every main surface – huge

No matter what people say, Milan Design Week

of bobbing heads separates an ocean neatly down

lemons; a low centre-piece full of eggs; a basket

is a monster. Huge, indomitable and a little scary

the middle – not unlike Moses’s division of the Red

full of green peppers… it’s about strategically

too. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing. It’s a


placing items within a space to exalt and enhance

gargantuan yearly event like no other... scale and

the furniture as opposed to masking what is really

propotions cannot begin to be comprehended

Flanking the catwalk on either side, lie 24 themed

on show; it’s about creating harmony and balance

unless present in the beast’s midst.

compartments or container-like pavilions divided

between all the elements fighting for attention.

according to: Design, classic design, modern The initial reaction is not unlike a deer caught in

design, international kitchen furniture exhibition,

Another aspect which really set Poliform apart

headlights. That, or running as far away as possible.

FTK technology for the kitchen, international

was their role as talent scouts. Many of the items

Either option is more than viable. Well, that’s only if

bathroom design and satellite events. Each pavilion

on show – from floor lamps to decorative, multi-

you’re not the most crowd-friendly of people – as is the

is somehow linked and connected to the next;

textured vases – are pieces developed and being


each clutching onto the viewer’s gaze, seducing

proposed by young students and independent

them with shine, sheen or sparkle. Given the right

designers still trying to make their way to the top.

Once the shock has worn off, composure has been

circumstances, each of us can display qualities

regained and senses re-activated and consequently

akin to those of a magpie....

heightened, the first step towards the delectable visual experience may commence.

and collaborator. Each chair, seat or sofa is there to sit on; each fabric/textile is there to be felt, caressed, absorbed;

Warning: From the word go, the race to the finish is THE ARCHETYPE PAPER 32

Poliform therefore acts as a catalyst, a promoter

each drawer or cupboard is there to be opened;

section 3

Milan Design Week

Fuori Salone, Tortona

static and dynamic aspects one might find lurking

the presentation was brought to life through 27

in a deep forest.”

enormous screens hanging at different heights and

Since its inception some 10 years ago, Zona

different depths within the looming dark space,

Tortona has expanded and extended into practically

“The morning sun breaks the forest’s deep

an autonomous event. If the Salone is the biz face

shadowy night and illuminates the rising mist

of Milan Design Week, Tortona is the hip and trendy

with a sacred glow. Rain filters down through

“Set in a three-dimensional acoustic setting,

side of it.

the treetops, reaching the ground and eventually

visitors were given the chance to embark upon an

giving the whole set up an added sculptural quality.

flowing out to a river rife with fish. The wind plays

imaginary journey through time and space, thereby

The only comparison to the Salone is the sea of

a symphony through an innumerable variety of

discovering the creative ideas, the sensitivity and

bobbing heads. Roads, temporary pavilions, eaterys

plants. Life on Earth is expressed in many ways:

the intuition behind every Foscarini project.”

and shopping outlets all seemed submerged and

dynamic, mysterious, and magnificent.”

invaded by this unique breed of design hungry

Foscarini’s Inspire portrayed the process, more

animal. For the blissfully unconscious spectator,

“Using the technical abilities of Canon’s digital

often than not, as originating from nature, slowly

the scenario could have easily resembled that of a


deconstructed, transcended and interpreted into

street party. A celebration of design? It’s debatable.

to create this world of magical forests: Ryuji

However, Tortona is altogether more challenging,

Nakamura, an architect specialising in creating

more immediate – less like a museum and more

unprecedented spaces of continuous material

So how does one classify such projects: as design

like an interactive installation piece.

expansion and fragmentation; mintdesigns (Hokuto

or visual art? It’s a fine line, and concrete answers

Katsui and Nao Yagi), two fashion designers whose

remain elusive. Yet the merging of art forms and

In fact, it is hard to label an object, project or

works resist fashion’s tendency for transience

disciplines has decidedly become the order of

intervention as pure design – as it is to determine

and who possess a wide range of viewpoints on

the day. Not that that constitutes any form of a

fine art, illustration or craft sometimes. Boundaries

art, product design, architecture; and Nobuhiro

problem, but rather expounds on the notion of

are often fuzzy and this area of fuzziness very much

Shimura, a young artist whose work sheds new

labels and titles being limiting and that the blurring

applies in this case.

light on everyday scenery and infuses them with a

of boundaries as well as collaborations often result

new, throbbing vitality.”

in tremendously successful accomplishments.

The Forest and the Foscarini’s Inspire presentations.

Foscarini’s project was titled Inspire, and the Italian

Amen to that.

These two pavilions, if I may call them so, were

brand chose to use the language of film to present

highly artistic video, light and sound installations.

itself at Superstudio Più during design week. A





sleek, cutting-edge product design.

Two cases in point: the Canon Neoreal 2012 – In

project by Vicente Garcia Jimenez, the video The





installation was created by Massimo Gardone

intervention came in the form of an invitation…

and Fabio Bressan, while the sound design was

inviting viewers “into a deep forest of digital

devised by Francesco Morosini.

imaging, based on the concept of revealing the vivid mystery and vitality, and the juxtaposition of THE ARCHETYPE PAPER 33

Described as “a poetic and evocative story”

section 3


Milan Design Week

section 3


Milan Design Week

section 3


Milan Design Week

section 2


case study

section 3

Milan Design Week

Fuori Salone, Ventura Lambrate

the equation. But it was this challenge that created

of Milan Design Week. Who could? One week is

opportunities, and allowed Ventura Lambrate to

hardly enough. And a lifetime of power walking

The Ventura Lambrate region is the new, emerging

host smaller, unexpected, conceptual exhibitions,

and weightlifting together with hourly doses of

Zona Tortona, so to say. Locals who are highly

which ultimately brought a fresh energy to this

wonderfully ingested pure Italian caffeine-filled

tuned into the design week’s goings on favour this


coffee, will not assist you and your cause. Not by

up and coming area which is attracting more and more independent designers who are increasingly

much at least. A few of our favourites:

shying away from the chaotic and somewhat saturated Zona Tortona.

One can but attempt. And if at first you don’t § The stunning feathered ‘lamp objects’ created by

succeed, pick yourself up and try again… there’s

Heike Buchfelder.

always next year.

comprised 90 exhibitions (and one special project),

§ The luxurious textured yet playful Italian carpets

Virginity lost, one seeks solace at the thought that

selected from over 500 applications. All of design

by Moret.

experience does count, for some things at least.

This year alone, the Ventura Lambrate area

week was a lesson in creating opportunities, collaboration,





§ The students’ cutting-edge designs in the RCA’s (Royal College of Art, London) Paradise pavilion.

In their media release, the Ventura Lambrate organisers described the scenario as the following:

§ The stylish contemporary jewellery design

“The contemporary design world is at the verge of

label chi ha paura...? by Gijs Bakker and Marijke

change… focussing more on portraying concepts


and processes, instead of only focussing on presenting finished products. Ventura Lambrate

§ The impeccably curated Spazio Hayon, which

captured this change; the latest edition presented

showcased a collection of designs by Hayon in

a diverse mix of projects and concepts. Bringing

collaboration with multiple brands and designers

new life to forgotten techniques and inventing

such as: Baccarat; &tradition, Kutani Choemon;

unknown processes, which shift ones’ focus,

Italian ceramics manufacturer Bosa; SE; Ceccotti;

and which create new perspectives. This way of

Bernhardt Design and Lladró Atelier among others.

thinking challenges the eye of the public, and asks

for a new way of observation.” § The simple and clean Hiko designs by “Economic difficulties create new opportunities.

collaborating designers Enzo Berti and FLAI.

In this edition, Ventura Lambrate experienced the

influence of the worldwide economic crisis”… budgets were cut, or completely removed from THE ARCHETYPE PAPER 38

We didn’t manage to reach each and every corner


section 2

case study

Archetype 4  

The fourth issue of the Archetype. Designed and produced by WERK, published by onepercent ( Editor In Chief - Lisa Gwen

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