SAGITT LERISQUE, MASSA FAUCIBUS
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2007 – 2017
DESIGNED BY WOMEN
Milan, in addition to being recognized as an industrial and financial command center and quintessential fashion city, has also built an identity as an international capital of design.
Lindsey Adelman, Woodchuck Wp.01.01 in brushed brass with walnut. Photo by Marc Patrick | photo of jewels by Alberto Zanetti
With an architectural heritage ranging from the medieval to the Neoclassical, from Gothic to Liberty, from Rationalism to contemporary, it is a city whose most hidden courtyards conserve the work of brilliant professionals and aesthetic artisans, finding its highest expression in April during the annual Salone del Mobile, when the city presents the latest innovations in international design.
The ‘Salone del Mobile’ (International Design Week) has the extraordinary capacity to be both an exclusive appointment and a party open to everyone. It is a fascinating marathon— some would say exhausting as well—consisting of exhibitions, presentations, conferences and installations that invade every corner of Milan.
Patricia Urquiola, Jellies Family – Kartell, 2014. | photo by Alberto Zanetti
Some of these events are spectacular, others forgettable, but it is undeniable that ‘Salone Week’ attracts not only the protagonists of the design world but also simple enthusiasts who see design as a territory to discover, a world from which to draw inspirations, new viewpoints and extraordinary visions of the world around us. Because this is what design does: it activates circuits of knowledge based on reflection and research, to show that a different way is possible. Indeed, those who believe that the Salone is all about beautiful objects on display are seriously mistaken.
Cristina Celestino, plumage vase — Botteganove Vase Collection, 2016. photo by Mattia Balsamini | photo of jewels by Alberto Zanetti
The exhibition is instead the product of the ideas and the people who animate it—entrepreneurs, journalists, art directors, and of course, designers. Everyone is curious to find out who will be the next rising star to tread the red carpet, and ideally, to discover a new and original approach to design that mirrors the spirit of our time. In recent years the issue of gender has evolved as much for the actors on this electrifying stage as in society in general. One need only recall that the great Gabriella Crespi was one of the few women to attend the Politecnico university in Milan in the ’40s, when women were discouraged from pursuing this kind of career.
Inga Sempé, Collo alto flat ware – Alessi, 2013. | photo by Alberto Zanetti
Normally I am not inclined to make distinctions between an architect and a woman-architect, but it is undeniable that the presence of women in recent years has greatly increased not only in the world of architecture but also in industrial design. Lately, product design by women has received more and more attention. The Triennale exhibition inaugurated in April 2016, entitled W. Women in Italian Design and curated by the director of the Triennale Design Museum, Silvana Annichiarico, presented and cataloged the most interesting historical figures alongside others who are active today, providing a varied and multifaceted overview of the discipline.
India Mahdavi, The Gallery At Sketch, 2014 London. Photo by Rob Whitrow. Courtesy of India Mahdavi | Chair: courtesy of Gebründer Thonet Vienna, photo by Alberto Zanetti
Text by Maria Cristina Didero