Each specially commissioned piece draws on the techniques of artisans working with specific materials in a different region of Europe, and each was created through a collaborative process that pushed both artisan and designer to apply their knowledge in new and imaginative ways.
• A Zurich-based designer worked with a Swiss woodcarver to create a contemporary sculpture using the centuries-old Weissküfer technique.
• A product designer in Amsterdam intent on bringing the human touch back to design teamed up with a Delftware artisan aiming to create innovative new products using long-held know-how.
• A Paris-based designer returned to his homeland, Poland, to collaborate with two Warsaw carpenters committed to finding the best way of realising his vision of a wooden cabinet with marquetry inlay.
Eight original works created by pairings of European designers and artisans will be on display in Venice this September at Homo Faber in the Michelangelo Foundation’s namesake exhibit Creativity and Craftsmanship.
Commissioned by Italian architect Michele De Lucchi for the Michelangelo Foundation, each piece is a collaboration between an international contemporary designer and an artisan specialised in a technique or material prevalent in a particular region of Europe.
Each pair was briefed by De Lucchi to create their own interpretation of a unique theme: a freestanding object with an interior inspired by the spiritual notion of the tabernacle – a residence or dwelling place, intended to contain something precious. Designer and artisan then worked together over a process of many months, the object evolving through their face-to-face collaboration.
The result is eight objects reflecting the diversity of artisanal and design skill in contemporary Europe and the dialogue between them. Though physically very different, the objects are linked by their shared desire to express a narrative, an external and internal meaning, by using the hands of the artisan to translate the pure imagination of the designer into shape and form. Together, they show how long-held techniques can be influenced and improved by contemporary innovations, and vice versa.
The final pieces will be displayed in the 16th century Cenacolo Palladiano in the Fondazione Giorgio Cini, an appropriately monumental home for these deeply meaningful objects and one with which De Lucchi is intimately familiar since he carried out its restoration. Overlooked by the magnificent reproduction of Veronese’s Nozze di Cana, each object will be lit from within and above, and mounted on a pedestal under a large conical construction in wood, a dramatic scenography that reflects the powerful character of the room.
Short films showcasing each collaboration will be displayed on the walls nearby. Italian filmmaker Emanuele Zamponi uses a cinematic, highly visual, wordless approach to present a portrait of each object’s creation, showing how the final work is defined by the process of collaboration between artisan and designer. Shots of the surrounding environment and a text overlay will convey the creative context behind the work – the unique geographic influences that set each creation apart from another.
“Hands are the most effective tool we have. By making things with our hands, we connect our brain to reality, to matter, to shape. We give substance to imagination.” – Michele De Lucchi
Creativity and Craftsmanship is one of 16 exhibits within Homo Faber, a major new exhibition celebrating European craftsmanship, organised by the Michelangelo Foundation.
Notes for editors
Crafting a more human future
Fondazione Giorgio Cini, San Giorgio Maggiore, Venice
Free entry upon registration at homofaberevent.com
Homo Faber is the first major cultural exhibition dedicated to the very best in European craftsmanship. Organised by the Michelangelo Foundation, it aims to put fine craftsmanship on the global map and increase recognition and visibility for master artisans. The exhibition will bring together a vast range of materials and disciplines, from jewellery to bespoke bicycles, from the rarest artisanal techniques to some of the most iconic examples of the finest European workmanship. Created by a hand-picked team of world-class designers, curators and architects, the exhibition stretches over a number of magnificent spaces throughout the Fondazione Giorgio Cini. homofaberevent.com
The Michelangelo Foundation for Creativity and Craftsmanship is an international, nonprofit 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 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. michelangelofoundation.org
Michele De Lucchi
Michele De Lucchi has designed furniture and lighting for Artemide, Alias, Unifor, Hermès, Alessi and Olivetti and many others. A prominent figure in movements such as Cavart, Alchimia and Memphis, he also developed experimental projects for Philips, Siemens and Vitra. De Lucchi’s architectural work spans new buildings and restorations in Japan, Germany, Switzerland, Georgia and Italy. In 1990 he founded Produzione Privata, a small-scale company through which he creates products using artisanal techniques.
The objects in Creativity and Craftsmanship are:
Interno/Esterno: CasAperta – Designer: Ugo La Pietra; Artisan: Giulio Candussio Di Spilinbergo (marble mosaic)
Gabbiadoro – Designer: Martine Bedin; Artisan: Dominique Monié and Jean-Luc Cesses (gold leaf, wood)
Monochrome cabinet – Designer: Adam Lowe & Francesco Cigognetti; Artisan: Factum Arte Workshop (casted salt)
Trinity – Designer: Alfredo Häberli; Artisan: Roman Räss (wood, Weissküfer technique)
Endlich-Unendlich – Finito infinito – Designer: Ingo Maurer; Artisan: Martin Deggelmann, Enno Lehmann (metal, colour, light)
Starry Pyramid – Designer: Oscar Tusquets Blanca; Artisan: Pere Ventura Sala (leather, wood)
Celeste Blue – Designer: Piotr Sierakowski; Artisan: Andrzej Dobrowolanski and Jakub Przyborowski (wood marquetry), with artist Pola Dwurnik
One minute vase – Designer: Marcel Wanders; Artisan: Wilma Plaisier, Jorrit Heinen/Heinen Delfts Blauw (clay, gold)
In addition, artisans from the Milan-based Bottega Ghianda (bottegaghianda.com) will work in situ at the entrance to the exhibit. Furniture makers of excellence, these artisans produce some of the most refined objects of Italian design and epitomise the value of handmade.
Curator: Michele De Lucchi