curated by Beppe Finessi
installation Ricardo Bello Dias
graphics Leonardo Sonnoli
Fabbrica del Vapore
Via Procaccini 4, Milan
5th to 9th April: 10am-10pm
10th to 25th April: 10am-7pm
Following in the footsteps of the exhibition A Dream Come True, held in 2007 to mark the first ten years of SaloneSatellite, when for the first time we took stock of it all and what it had achieved, we are presenting a new exhibition – again curated by Beppe Finessi and designed by Ricardo Bello Dias. SaloneSatellite. 20 Years of New Creativity, which also features graphic design by Leonardo Sonnoli, is an attempt to rethink the entire history of the event, looking back at the work of all the designers who looked to SaloneSatellite for advice and dialogue with the manufacturing and critical world, and for contact with other young designers engaged in thinking up new design ideas, in the domestic realm particularly, in different parts of the world.
SaloneSatellite. 20 Years of New Creativity brings together more than 500 projects by as many designers, creators who have taken three consistent and diverse directions, corresponding to three different design methods and approaches. These three great design fields have informed the exhibition concept, an arrangement in three acts, corresponding to the three aisles in the large Fabbrica del Vapore “Cathedral”, the deeply fascinating and historical building hosting the exhibition.
Many creators have shown a propensity towards a typological innovation-based approach, seeking to revisit the traditional shapes of domestic objects by reinventing upholstered pieces, tables, bookcases, overturning previously ingrained concepts and, especially, avoiding the obvious, while coming up with projects exploring the world of children’s toys, objects for domestic gardens, or rethinking now indispensible technological instruments or timeless items such as candlesticks, clothes hooks and doorstops.
Other designers have focused their thoughts and activity on constructive experimentation, intelligently and discerningly researching materials and the possible and different ways in which they could be used, as well as the relative technological aspects. These young people have thrown themselves into truly patent-worthy structural inventions, turning to wood rather than to the more traditional metal, or using terracotta components rather than the more established and reliable moulded plastic, or cardboard rather than wire mesh; others have embraced the concept of recycling, reclamation and the transformation of raw and semi finished materials, or finished products that have come to the end of their (first) lives, but might still be of some use. This has informed the conscious choice of particular materials, which by being bent and cut in particular ways can engender frankly ingenious and wholly new objects; and of others in which a particular process, honed by means of original production techniques, has given rise to new shapes – and therefore new uses; and others still where the weight of a slab of precious marble, aside from its value, has ensured stability.
There are a substantial number of pieces owed to formal innovation, the pursuit of sculptural value and the decorative, conceived in a cheerful, witty spirit that draws on metaphor and allusion. In terms of everyday objects, all this has led to pieces with shapes reminiscent of the natural world, or vibrantly designed to be clearly sculptural, projecting volumes that are sophisticated in terms of composition, proportion and rhythm or featuring decorative solutions never seen before, and objects whose shape serves a fundamental function, because even the “beauty” of an object can have deep meaning and value, as an expression of one’s own time channelled by personal aesthetic sensitivity. These are objects that can also be proudly chosen by those who have the serenity and the courage to say, quite simply, “I like it.”
The exhibition is also a reminder that the world of design has changed profoundly in the last twenty years, and that the young designers who have taken part in SaloneSatellite have known how to gauge the new temperatures of “planet design” with foresight.
Thus, in the earliest editions, in the brief period before technological innovation threw up new possibilities, young designers allowed themselves greater freedom of expression, sometimes engaging in meta-projects, often laced with humour and irony. These days, we recognise palpable, refreshing and up-to-date good taste in many of the creators, evidenced by well-proportioned objects underpinned by the sort of good looks that are frequently elegant and sometimes sophisticated.
While twenty years ago there were far fewer design schools, and the number of architects looking for a field of expression and a professional niche in design was still very high, these days most of the young people wishing to embark on this profession have specifically trained as designers, and this particular training shows in their approach to design and in the way they present themselves and communicate their work. Thus, over the last few years almost all those taking part in SaloneSatellite have demonstrated that they know just how best present their ideas, first with a portfolio (assessed by the Selection Committee), and then in the way they set up their stands and display their pieces.