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Paper craftsmanship: making its mark for past and future civilisations and imprinting on our imagination at Homo Faber

In a world increasingly dominated by technology and machines, the significance of paper is celebrated in this imaginative and refined exhibition. Curated by Italian architect Michele De Lucchi, the exhibition pays homage to paper crafting – its relevance, diversity and the human hands integral to the creative processes.

Curator Michele De Lucchi - Laila Pozzo©Michelangelo Foundation

• A diverse showcase of paper types, uses and craftsmanship across Europe and Japan, envisioned by Italian architect Michele De Lucchi

• Watch master artisans demonstrate their artistic ways of working with paper and calligraphy, and witness the transfer of human emotion through movements of the hand

• An exhibition which explores the beauty, creativity and cultural significance of paper craftsmanship, of its tools and its variety of declination

This September visitors to Homo Faber in Venice will look upon paper in a new light. Through the skill, imagination and passion of its crafters discover how a humble material is transformed into sophisticated artworks, books, and decorative wallpaper by the versatility of the human hand in the exhibition Magnae Chartae.

Paper is a delicate material, yet – if carefully safeguarded - it can withstand centuries to share the narratives of civilisations captured by the written word, it can uphold constitutional laws and change the course of history through the simple gesture of a letter. There is more power to paper than we might acknowledge in this modern world of machines, where perhaps its uses are deemed ever superfluous. Paper is a decorative blank canvas which becomes a creative outlet for writers and artists equipped with pens, paintbrushes and printing technology. This deeply meaningful coexistence between the elements is explored in depth in this exhibition.

Inspired by the artists of Japan and Europe, this exhibition pays homage to the diversity of paper crafts, including paper making, book restoration, bookbinding, calligraphy, nib crafting 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’. Visitors will leave with a real appreciation of the care, mastery of technique, respect for materials, passion for process and time that go into finished products of the highest quality.

Discover the creativity of paper craftsmanship through paper artworks made by highly-skilled artists, decorated handmade Italian wallpapers, and photographs by Italian photographer Susanna Pozzoli showcasing production at the Gangolf Ulbricht paper making workshop in Berlin. Designer and curator, Michele De Lucchi, with a wonderful eye for detail and a flair for design, unveils a unique showcase of paper crafts and ignites a conversation about the value of paper within cultural contexts, especially today.

“Hands are sophisticated instruments. There is a beauty and perfection to the human hand and its capacity to transfer human emotion”– Michele De Lucchi

Calligraphy gesture - ©Montblanc List of participating artisans:

- Brown, Rogan, United Kingdom
- De Borchgrave, Isabelle, Belgium
- Gangolf Ulbricht, Germany
- Levy, Cecilia, Sweden
- Mihic, Uros, Serbia
- Papuli, Daniele, Italy
- San Patrignano, Italy
- Szenfeld, Bea, Sweden
- Tourré, Lucie, France

Magnae Chartae is set in Sala del Piccolo Teatro at Fondazione Giorgio Cini. It is one of 17 exhibitions that comprise Homo Faber, organised by the Michelangelo Foundation.

Notes for editors
Homo Faber
Crafting a more human future
Fondazione Giorgio Cini, San Giorgio Maggiore, Venice
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Homo Faber is the main event organised by the Michelangelo Foundation for Creativity and Craftsmanship, an international non-profit organisation based in Geneva, Switzerland, which was set up to celebrate and preserve master craftsmanship around the world and strengthen its connection to design. Rooted in a tradition of culture and excellence and in the realities and challenges of today’s global economy, the foundation aims to support those 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 Foundation focuses on Europe as a starting point for its activities, in recognition that craftsmanship has been a vital part of the economic and cultural fabric of the region for centuries, providing both a rich heritage and a competitive advantage in a global world.

Michele De Lucchi
The world-renowned architect and designer runs an experimental laboratory creating imaginative products using artisanal techniques. 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. Michele De Lucchi is the founding member of Amdl Circle, a multidisciplinary group of thinkers and innovators. Since 2018, Amdl Circle has focused on Earth Stations, future sharing architectures that combine technological development with humanist principles.

Collaborating on Homo Faber with the Michelangelo Foundation are partner organisations that share its vision including: the Fondazione Cologni dei Mestieri d’Arte, the Fondazione Giorgio Cini, and The Japan Foundation.

Fondazione Cologni dei Mestieri d’Arte
The Fondazione Cologni dei Mestieri d’Arte is a private, non-profit institution founded in 1995. Based in Milan, it promotes cultural, scientific and educational initiatives for the protection and diffusion of artistic crafts. The Fondazione Cologni’s mission is to inspire a “new Renaissance” of the artistic crafts and rescue them from the threat of extinction. Many of its initiatives focus on young people and training future generations of artisans.

Fondazione Giorgio Cini
The Fondazione Giorgio 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.

The Japan Foundation
The Japan Foundation, established in 1972, in Tokyo develops international cultural exchange programmes globally. The foundation’s aim is to promote Japanese culture to the world through programmes and activities in the following categories: art, cultural exchange, Japanese-language education and Japanese studies. The foundation has a global network, with 25 overseas branches in 24 countries. As part of their cultural programme, the foundation offers successful applicants support in the form of grants, research scholarships and training opportunities.

Calligraphy Gesture_Montblanc©Montblanc Gangolf Ulbricht Artisan_Susanna Pozzoli©Michelangelo Foundation Gangolf Ulbricht Artisan_Susanna Pozzoli©Michelangelo Foundation Gangolf Ulbricht Atelier_Susanna Pozzoli©Michelangelo Foundation Gangolf Ulbricht_Atelier Susanna Pozzoli©Michelangelo Foundation Magnae Chartae Space Rendering©Amdl circle Arch Michele De Lucchi Curator_Laila Pozzo©Michelangelo Foundation