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 MCASTâ€™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 werkdesigns.com 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 archetypepaper.com/mailinglist Also available from onepercent, Valley Road, Msida, Malta onepercent.com.mt Cover Image Canon Neoreal 2012 - In the Forest at Milan Design Week, Zona Tortona. Milan Design Week photography by Lisa Gwen
THE ARCHETYPE PAPER 8
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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THE ARCHETYPE PAPER 9
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THE ARCHETYPE PAPER 10
Kente designed by Philipe Bestenheider - collection with frame steel rod, cataphoresis treated.
THE ARCHETYPE PAPER 11
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.
THE ARCHETYPE PAPER 12
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Kenny designed by Kensaku Oshiro - collection in steel, cataphorisis threaded.
THE ARCHETYPE PAPER 14
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Swirl designed by Philippe Bestenheider â€“ collection with frame in cataphoresis treated. Power coated steel rod.
THE ARCHETYPE PAPER 15
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.
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.
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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.
THE ARCHETYPE PAPER 16
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Victor designed by R & S – collection with aluminium frame, seat and backrest in Batyline in different colours.
S&S Bathrooms, Mosta Road,Â Lija LJA 9012 T: 21 412 222 M: 79 447 447
Chris Briffa photographed by Alexandra Pace in his Valletta residence
THE ARCHETYPE PAPER 18
case study section 2
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
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
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
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
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
THE ARCHETYPE PAPER 19
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
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
His point of departure and concept was three-
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
THE ARCHETYPE PAPER 20
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.
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
FLOW. Photos by Chris Briffa Architects.
THE ARCHETYPE PAPER 22
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
THE ARCHETYPE PAPER 23
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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,
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-
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.
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.
THE ARCHETYPE PAPER 25
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.
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.
THE ARCHETYPE PAPER 26
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
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
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
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.
THE THE ARCHETYPE ARCHETYPE PAPER PAPER 2727
Luciano Micallef photographed by Alexandra Pace at Gallery 5.
THE ARCHETYPE PAPER 28
case study section 2
ABSTRACTION THE ARCHETYPE PAPER 29
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
THE ARCHETYPE PAPER 30
THE ARCHETYPE PAPER 31
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;
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”
THE ARCHETYPE PAPER 34
Milan Design Week
THE ARCHETYPE PAPER 35
Milan Design Week
THE ARCHETYPE PAPER 36
Milan Design Week
THE ARCHETYPE PAPER 37
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. www.pluma-cubic.com
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. www.moret.it
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. www.paradise.rca.ac.uk
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