Join us 09 - 26 sept. 2021

Guest of Honour

Guest of Honour

Welcoming Japan’s finest artisans and designers to Venice

This edition of Homo Faber celebrates the cultural dialogue between Europe and Japan as it invites the very best Japanese artisans and designers to Venice. A country of exquisite craftsmanship traditions, Japan is constantly striving to safeguard this important cultural heritage, such as by naming its finest master artisans National Living Treasures, a title that recognises their excellence and helps protect their skills for the future. Japan’s ongoing quest to champion its artisanal legacy fits perfectly with the aims of Homo Faber: to celebrate, showcase and preserve excellence in craftsmanship

Japanese artisan


A Japanese perspective on design and craftsmanship

To cast a shining light on Japan’s artisanal excellence, Homo Faber draws on the talent of some of the country’s leading designers and cultural experts, whose knowledge of Japanese master artisanship is second-to-none. Whether helping to designate the country’s National Living Treasures, in the case of Tokugo Uchida, or applying a unique design philosophy to international brands, like Naoto Fukasawa, our curators are leaders in their field. Together, they bring a distinctively Japanese perspective to Homo Faber, all the while working in harmony with their European friends and colleagues.

Naoto Fukasawa Naoto Fukasawa Curator/designer

A Japanese designer, professor and curator who has brought his unique design philosophy to leading brands around the world.

Rinko Kawauchi Rinko Kawauchi Photographer

A Japanese photographer whose work has been published and exhibited around the world.

Tokugo Uchida Tokugo Uchida Curator

Director of the MOA Museum of Art and Hakone Museum of Art, Tokugo Uchida is one of Japan’s foremost cultural commentators.

David Caméo


David Caméo has spent his career serving the decorative arts. A politics graduate, he was an advisor on the decorative arts for the French Ministry of Culture, before becoming a technical advisor for successive culture ministers and then-Prime Minister Lionel Jospin. In 2003 he became head of the world-renowned French government-owned porcelain company Manufacture Nationale de Sèvres, later also heading up the Cité de la Céramique Sèvres, which includes the Musée National de Céramique in Sèvres and, from 2012, its sister museum in Limoges. In 2014 he returned to Paris where he ran the Musée des Arts Decoratifs (MAD) for four years.

Frédéric Bodet


Since 2013, he has served as Curator in charge of modern and contemporary collections at Sèvres-Cité de la Céramique (National Museum for Ceramics). From 1999 to 2012, he worked at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris as Curator Assistant, in charge of the craft contemporary collections. He specialized in modern and contemporary ceramics and jewellery. Since 2004 he has curated regular exhibitions projects at the Bernardaud Foundation in Limoges. He gives lectures at European art schools and he publishes articles for reviews, catalogues, and often takes part in jury’s for international Biennales.

Sebastian Herkner


German designer Sebastian Herkner combines his unconditional love for traditional craftsmanship with a flair for colour, a curiosity for different cultures and a feel for new technologies. Herkner has designed furniture for some of the world’s most respected manufacturers including ClassiCon, Rosenthal, Ames and Cappellini, as well as architectural projects and museum and exhibition designs. His work has garnered numerous awards, and he was named Designer of the Year 2019 by Maison & Objet.

Naoto Fukasawa


Naoto Fukasawa has worked for leading brands around the world across many different design disciplines from precision electronic equipment to furniture and interior spaces. What links his work is a dedication to the beauty of form and the power of silence, a design philosophy that has garnered him international recognition for his ability to express the true essence of an object. In addition, he is the curator of The Japan Folk Crafts Museum, a professor at the Tama Art University and has sat on several judging panels including the Loewe Craft Prize. In 2007 he was named Honorary Royal Designer for Industry by the UK’s Royal Society of Arts.

Tokugo Uchida


Tokugo Uchida completed his PhD in aesthetics at Keio University in 2007 and has since lectured widely in Japan and abroad. He served as a member of the Cultural Council, Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology; committee member for UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage and Guest Professor at Kyushu University. He is involved in the selection for art-related awards, holds important roles in governmental organisations for traditional crafts as an art history specialist and has authored numerous publications.

Rinko Kawauchi


Rinko Kawauchi was born in Shiga Prefecture in 1972. In 2002, Rinko received the Kimura Ihei Award, for her publications Utatane and Hanabi. Numerous other awards include 25th Infinity Award, Art Category in 2009. Rinko has held several solo exhibitions including The River Embraced Me (2016), Contemporary Art Museum Kumamoto. She is also the author of multiple publications such as Halo (2017), a picture book Hajimari no Hi (the day it started, 2018) and When I was Seven (2019).

Michelangelo Foundation


The Michelangelo Foundation for Creativity and Craftsmanship is an international, non-profit institution based in Geneva, Switzerland, which celebrates and preserves master craftsmanship and strengthens its connection to the world of design. Rooted in a tradition of culture and excellence and in the realities and challenges of today’s global economy, the foundation seeks to support men and women who dedicate themselves to the pursuit of master craftsmanship and to foster a new cultural movement built around the values that are essential for their work.



The group brings together four online stores – NET-A-PORTER, MR PORTER, YOOX and THE OUTNET – powered by a single technology and operations platform serving more than three million customers around the world. The company in its present form was founded by the merging in 2015 of leading online fashion portal NET-A-PORTER and YOOX the online lifestyle store for fashion, design and art, both of which made waves in the luxury online marketplace after launching in 2000.

The Prince’s Foundation


The Prince’s Foundation aims to realise HRH The Prince of Wales’ vision of creating harmonious communities by respecting the past and building the future. The organisation encourages people to live in a sustainable way, partly through the teaching of traditional skills. The Prince’s Foundation offers a broad range of inspiring education programmes in subjects including the traditional arts and heritage craft skills, architecture and design, both in the UK and internationally. Its School of Traditional Arts offers postgraduate degrees, short courses and outreach programmes related to traditional arts, ensuring that these skills evolve and endure.

Fondazione Cologni dei Mestieri d’Arte


The Fondazione Cologni dei Mestieri d'Arte is a private non-profit organisation founded by Franco Cologni in Milan in 1995. The foundation’s initiatives are primarily focused on young people and the training of the next generation of artisans. It supports and carries out a number of cultural, scientific and educational programmes, including the development of an important collection of publications related to craftsmanship, an innovative apprenticeship scheme, and a title to recognise and celebrate master artisans.

Sylvain Roca


Since more than twenty years, he has designed the scenography for temporary and permanent exhibitions all over France and around the world, including at the Musée d’Orsay and the Grand Palais in Paris, the British Museum in London, the Heritage Museum in Hong Kong, the Bundeskunsthalle in Bonn, the Bouregreg Culture in Rabat, the World Exhibition in Shanghai… He creates events and scenography for communication agencies and has developed product design studies for leading brands.

Stefano Boeri


Italian architect and urban planner Stefano Boeri is one of the world’s leaders in his field. A professor of urban planning at the Politenico in Milan, he has also been a guest professor at universities around the world including Harvard Graduate School of Design in the US. He founded a studio in Milan in 1999 and later opened a second in Shanghai. He has authored many books and is the former editor-in-chief of the magazines Domus and Abitare. In 2018 he was appointed chairman of the Triennale in Milan.

Simon Kidston


Based in Geneva, Switzerland, Simon Kidston is a world expert on cars. He began his career in the car auction department at Coys in London, before co-founding Brooks (now Bonhams) Europe in Geneva, spending the next decade staging high-profile car sale events. In 2006 he set up an independent consultancy for motor car collectors around the world. He has been involved in several heritage events for historic cars including Cartier Style et Luxe Concours d’Elegance at Goodwood, UK, and the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa Este in Italy. He also writes a monthly column for Classic Cars magazine.

Stefano Micelli


An authority on Italian artisanal craft, Stefano Micelli is Professor of Business Economics and Management at the University of Venice, Ca’ Foscari. Since 1999, he has served as the director of TeDIS – Venice International University’s research centre focusing on innovation in small to medium sized industrial companies. His academic work has centred on the evolution of Italian artisanal craft and its future manufacturing potential. In 2012, he received the ADI Design Index prize for his authoritative analysis of Italian artisanal craft, Futuro Artigiano.

Robert Wilson


Texas-born Robert Wilson is one of the world’s foremost theatre directors and visual artists. His works for the stage unconventionally incorporate a wide variety of artistic media including dance, movement, lighting, sculpture, music and text. His productions have been acclaimed by audiences and critics worldwide, and he has won numerous awards including the Golden Lion of the Venice Biennale, two Premio Ubu Awards and an Olivier Award, as well as a nomination for the Pulitzer Prize. His drawings, paintings and sculptures have been exhibited internationally and are held in private and public collections around the world.

Judith Clark


Judith Clark is a curator and fashion exhibition maker and currently Professor of Fashion and Museology at University of the Arts London, where she co-directs the Centre for Fashion Curation. Clark opened the first experimental gallery of fashion in London. Since then she has curated 40 fashion exhibitions. Commissioning museums include the V&A in London, ModeMuseum in Antwerp and Palazzo Pitti in Florence. In 2015 she curated and designed the inaugural exhibition at La Galerie Louis Vuitton in Asnières, while in 2018 she created the Fashion Inside and Out exhibition for the inaugural Homo Faber. Clark lectures internationally on issues of dress display.

Michele De Lucchi


Michele De Lucchi has designed furniture and lighting for most well-known Italian and European companies including Artemide, Alias, Unifor, Hermès, Alessi and Olivetti. His architectural work spans residential, industrial, cultural and corporate spaces in Italy and around the world. Alongside his professional work he has always pursued a personal exploration of design and craftsmanship, and in 1990 he founded Produzione Privata, an experimental laboratory through which he creates imaginative products using artisanal techniques. In 2000 he was appointed Officer of the Italian Republic for services to design and architecture.

Studio Salaris


Studio Salaris was established by professional interior designer Alessandra Salaris in the historic centre of Milan. Alessandra studied interior design at Istituto Europea di Design (IED), Milan and Politecnico di Milano, as well as undertaking further studies in London. Alessandra is specialised in designing custom-made sets and unique interior spaces with her flair for contemporary aesthetics.



Founded in Florence in 1860 as a workshop, shop and school of watchmaking, for many decades Panerai supplied the Italian Navy in general, and its specialist diving corps in particular, with precision instruments. The designs developed by Panerai in that time, including the Luminor and Radiomir, were covered by the Military Secrets Act for many years and were launched on the international market only after the brand was acquired by the Richemont Group in 1997. Today Panerai designs its watches in Italy and crafts them at its Neuchâtel premises in Switzerland, combining Italian design flair with Swiss horological expertise.

Jean Blanchaert


Jean Blanchaert is a Belgian-Italian gallerist, antiquarian and artist. For the past 30 years he has run his family’s Milan gallery, which specialises in glass, ceramics, enamel and contemporary materials. He has curated numerous exhibitions and writes about design for the monthly Art e Dossier and other publications. He is also a talented illustrator, calligrapher and glass sculptor in his own right. He has illustrated for children’s books, newspapers, cultural initiatives and theatre projects, and his work has been exhibited in Milan several times.

Fondazione Giorgio Cini

The Fondazione Giorgo Cini is a non-profit cultural institution based in Venice, Italy. Established by Vittorio Cini in 1951 with the aim of creating an international cultural centre re-integrating the San Giorgio Maggiore Island into the life of Venice and the region, today it is an important centre of humanistic studies and encourages the creation and development of educational, social, cultural and artistic institutions in the surrounding territory.

Porcelain Virtuosity

The 17th century Longhena library is a beautiful backdrop for this celebration of porcelain craftsmanship across Europe and Japan. The exhibition comprises work by independent master artisans including Katsuyo Aoki (Japan), Tamsin van Essen (UK) and Ruth Gurvich (France), along with pieces from porcelain manufacturers Meissen, Sèvres, Nymphenburg and Bernardaud. Together they illustrate the collaborative process between designer and artisan and the different ways in which porcelain artists in Japan and Europe approach porcelain making, considering their techniques, savoir-faire and artistic experimentation.

Pattern of Crafts

German designer Sebastian Herkner explores the crucial contribution master artisans make to the world of interiors. Taking the geometric pattern of the terrace of the Basilica of San Giorgio, on San Giorgio Maggiore island, Herkner invites selected master artisans from Japan and Europe to interpret this lace-like octagonal pattern in a graphic artwork to be displayed on the wall of the Sala Barbantini. Whether in marble, glass, mosaic, stucco, wood marquetry or textiles, these exquisitely crafted pieces demonstrate how the savoir-faire of master artisans can serve the imagination of a designer to produce dazzling pieces of interior decoration, integrating time-honoured techniques.

Dressing a Diva

An exhibition dedicated to the legendary Italian actress Eleonora Duse, unparalleled muse for writers, poets and fashion designers alike. A patroness of artists and artisans, and a celebrated collector of couture pieces signed by Poiret, Worth and by the most acknowledged Maisons of her time, Eleonora Duse (whose precious archive is preserved at the Fondazione Giorgio Cini) will be presented in her modern and free spirit thanks to archival images, superb costumes and personal documents, that will reveal the craftsmanship that goes into creating the allure of a diva.

12 Stone Garden

Get up close to a selection of objects handcrafted by 12 of Japan’s National Living Treasures, those artisans who are masters of traditional skills and prized in the country as integral to Japan’s cultural heritage. Selected by Naoto Fukasawa and Japanese museum director, Tokugo Uchida, these exquisite works – including kimonos, an urushi lacquered harp and a bamboo flower basket – are simply yet reverentially displayed in the magnificent Cenacolo Palladino on 12 blocks shaped as stones in a design by Naoto Fukasawa inspired by the traditional Japanese garden. Short films provide insight into the working processes of the masters who crafted these sometimes unassuming, but always exceptional pieces.

The Ateliers of Wonders

This stunning photography display gives visitors an unprecedented glimpse inside the workshops of 12 Japanese National Living Treasures whose work is presented in the exhibition 12 Stone Garden. The artful and intelligent lens of Japanese photographer Rinko Kawauchi captures the materials, skills, gestures and savoir-faire of these exceptional artisans, who are recognised for upholding and preserving an important aspect of Japan’s intangible cultural heritage, whether it be lacquering, bamboo work or kimono making.

Masterful Gestures

In the magnificent surroundings of the Cenacolo room, talented master artisans from Europe and Japan will demonstrate their skills, dexterity and time-honoured techniques as they work in front of visitors, challenging present times with everlasting beauty.

The Modern Artisan Project

The Modern Artisan, a partnership between global leader in online luxury fashion YOOX NET-A-PORTER and The Prince’s Foundation founded by HRH The Prince of Wales, brings together the next generation of British and Italian design and artisanal talents in a creative cultural exchange, to develop the collaborative, digital and technical skills needed for data-driven design and artisanal textiles manufacturing to create lasting luxury. Meet the next generation of artisanal talent and discover what it means to be a Modern Artisan today thanks to an immersive exhibition, presenting a new method of collaboration between creativity, technology, and craftsmanship.

Italy and Japan: the Marvellous Liaisons

In homage to the cultural exchange between Italy and Japan, which has always found a fertile breeding ground in Venice, this room invites visitors to delve into a dialogue between the finest Italian craftsmanship and the Japanese culture. On display, a selection of objects handcrafted by Italian master artisans, many designated as "MAM", the Italian equivalent of National Living Treasures, and inspired by Japanese decorative motifs, techniques, materials and formal approaches.

Blossoming Beauty

Leading Venetian glass manufacturer Venini collaborates creatively with innovative international flower artists to craft a collection of glass vases. A selection of the most celebrated flower designers will present bespoke bouquets to complement these exquisite vases and draw visitors into an enchanting floral garden. The idea of “blossoming” has in itself the very concept of creativity and know-how helping each other to find their respective, most beautiful shape and identity. The project by Sylvain Roca accentuates the enchantment of this fairy tale flower garden.

Next of Europe

The future of craftsmanship is in the hands of those who dedicate themselves to passing on their skills to young talents. A cabinet of curiosities will showcase a stunning selection of objects drawn from all over Europe, crafted by the master artisans who not only embody the finest European craftsmanship but are dedicated to transmitting their savoir-faire to the next generation through apprenticeships and training. Visitors can even see some of these European "living treasures" working in the room, a rare opportunity to witness first-hand how these masters create objects of such fine craftsmanship.

Mechanical Marvels

Discover how the skills of European master artisans contribute to the automotive world in this fascinating exhibition. Whether assembling a 12 cylinder engine, hand painting bodywork, hand stitching car seats or customising interiors, the hand of the artisan has always been essential to the creation of luxury cars. Visitors can see how the master restorers from the Italian workshop Cremonini Classic breathe new life into magnificent vintage cars, such as Gianni Agnelli’s 1960s bespoke three-seat Ferrari. Special attention will be given to a young generation of artisans, designers and engineers, who will be called on to collaborate on a unique project.

WAITING with peace and darkness

The iconic American director and visual artist Robert Wilson shines a light on the Japanese inspiration behind his theatrical productions, notably Puccini’s Madama Butterfly. This evocative exhibition will allow visitors to be immersed in Wilson’s staging genius, as he transforms the former Gandini 1960s swimming pool into a dramatic theatrical stage with his signature use of lighting, sound, costumes, artworks, videos, objects and furniture, created in collaboration with master artisans using time-honoured techniques. Featuring video portraits of Japanese choreographer Suzushi Hanayagi, the exhibition plays with displays of different mediums.

Details: Genealogies of Ornament

Witness the transformative power of craft in this multi-layered exhibition showcasing the craftsmanship of 15 luxury maisons dedicated to making the finest watches, shoes, kimonos, jewellery, and much more. Observe master artisans at work in a series of intimate studio spaces inspired by Antonello da Messina’s painting of Saint Jerome in his Study. Beautifully crafted wall panels and tiled floors reflect the heritage of each craft and its tools, while a central museum space reveals Japan’s influence on European artisans. The craftsmanship of exhibition making will be demonstrated by students from City and Guilds of London Art School.

Magnae Chartae

Inspired by the paper artists of Japan and Europe, this exhibition pays homage to the diversity of paper crafts, including paper making, book restoration, bookbinding, calligraphy and wallpaper decorating. Visitors can witness the skill and artistry of these crafts first hand by engaging with master artisans working in the room. Test the exquisitely crafted gold nibs of Montblanc in its on-site ‘ink bar’. Discover paper artworks made by highly-skilled technicians, decorated handmade Italian wallpapers, and photographs by Italian photographer Susanna Pozzoli showcasing production at the Gangolf Ulbricht paper making workshop in Berlin.

Doppia Firma

An exhibition dedicated to Doppia Firma 2021, a project by Fondazione Cologni dei Mestieri d'Arte and Living Corriere della Sera, an annual project which brings together innovative European designers and Italian master artisans in a creative and cultural exchange, resulting in the realisation of unique contemporary objects. This year 12 creative partnerships (with legendary designer Ugo La Pietra as special guest) will take their inspiration from the theme of outdoor living, to produce a collection of authentic singular objects and small-scale series which will be unveiled at Milan’s Salone del Mobile. The fruitful dialogue between creativity and craftsmanship at the heart of this project will be celebrated in an outdoor exhibition in the gardens.


Welcome aboard Eilean: step onto a legendary 1936 yacht expertly restored by Italian master artisans. Moored in the Venetian waters off San Giorgio Maggiore Island, this beautiful Bermudan ketch will dazzle all who see her. Step on deck and discover the rich history of this ‘little island’ (the Gaelic meaning of Eilean). Learn about her birth in Scotland in 1936 at the hands of legendary boat builders, her heyday as a charter yacht in the Caribbean and her descent into disrepair, before she was lovingly rescued and restored to her former glory. Admire the beauty of her original design, the quality of her materials and discover the meticulous craftsmanship of the Italian master artisans who brought her back to life.


A journey through the traditions, culture and artistry enriching contemporary Japanese craftsmanship

Japan in focus

A unique encounter with the traditions and culture of Japan

Discover the beauty, rigour and refinement of Japanese craftsmanship in a series of fascinating experiences. The exceptional mastery of 12 Japanese National Living Treasures is showcased in an exhibition of their exquisite works and through the lens of leading photographer Rinko Kawauchi. Visitors can experience the elegant traditions of Japanese Ikebana and the famous tea ceremony in workshops and demonstrations, see Japanese master artisans working on site, and explore the influence of Japan’s sophisticated culture on paper crafts, ceramics, luxury European craftsmanship and even the world of theatre.

The Ateliers of Wonders
12 Stone Garden
Italy and Japan: the marvellous liaisons
WAITING: with peace and darkness
Porcelain Virtuosity
Magnae Chartae
The Ateliers of Wonders
12 Stone Garden
Italy and Japan: the marvellous liaisons
WAITING: with peace and darkness
Porcelain Virtuosity
Magnae Chartae