Double Signature. A dialogue between design and artisanal excellence

An achievable utopia

crafted with love, designed with talent, presented with pride

Text by Franco Cologni

Chairman, Cologni Foundation for the Métiers d’Art

There are borders that are not inked on any map yet are very much present in our minds: the line between kitsch and authentic beauty, for example. Or the vast expanse between a hastily made object or cheap imitation and an artefact crafted with love, designed with talent and presented with pride. The Salone del Mobile, for which this exhibition was originally conceived, is a place where such lines converge: tradition finds originality, craftsmanship meets intuition, and creativity leads to innovation. With Doppia Firma we have once again sought to create a space in which vibrant design and flawless craftsmanship can bloom into something new and eloquent. We asked designers from eleven European countries to meet Italian artisans whose ateliers are located throughout the country – from Friuli to Sicily. These multifaceted artisans, whose talents are often out of view, opened their workshops, welcomed new ideas, made unforeseen friends, and created surprising projects born of a dialogue. The value of dialogue, cross-fertilization and exchange has dimmed in a world too easily dazzled by celebrity star power. 

It reminds us of what good design should always be: a culturally conscious way to express an original form of beauty. In the eyes of the designers and the hands of the artisans, this form takes on a bright new face.

To help light a different path, the Cologni Foundation for the Métiers d’Art has joined forces with the Michelangelo Foundation for Creativity and Craftsmanship and with Living Corriere della Sera. With this project, we envision a kind of Utopia, one that is composed of beautiful objects which can make our lives better and add meaning to our days. A land where know-how and talent come together and a place where an artefact has cultural value as well as economic value. 
A very achievable Utopia – not a far-off island, but a place we can call home: a space filled with beauty and fulfilment. These 15 narrative icons are made in a variety of materials: paper, silver, wrought iron, ceramics, wood. They have been crafted using time-honoured techniques: marquetry, inlay, “lustro”, lacquering. They are the fruit of a task that has been challenging and often exhilarating for the 15 artisans and the 15 designers: to give the best they can, to add value to each other’s work and to forge authentic links that are reflected in an object that carries both of their signatures. Doppia Firma is a project, an exhibition and an inspiring place where a Renaissance of the human values crosses geographical borders and old divisions. It reminds us of what good design should always be: a culturally conscious way to express an original form of beauty. In the eyes of the designers and the hands of the artisans, this form takes on a bright new face.

Form and material, design and work, intuition and solution have therefore equal weight in the creation of objects, and in the search for the meaning that we attribute to them.

Text by Franco Cologni

Chairman, Fondazione Cologni dei Mestieri d’Arte Cofounder and Executive Vice Chairman, Michelangelo Foundation for Creativity and Craftsmanship

The search for beautiful forms is an exciting activity that mankind has always pursued. Moreover, if – as it seems – our ancestors learned how to craft ceramics even before understanding how to bake bread, it is obviously because we cannot avoid crafting the matter that surrounds us to introduce new forms to the world.

In order to promote and protect their value, and to pass on this precious heritage to the future, the Michelangelo Foundation has undertaken a series of actions aimed at supporting the culture of fine craftsmanship

Text by Fabienne Lupo-Magnaudet and Alberto Cavalli

Co-Executive Directors Michelangelo Foundation for Creativity and Craftsmanship

The French theologian William of Auvergne wrote that the variety of the world contributes to its beauty. An assertion that is still perfectly valid, as anyone who appreciates the work of master craftsmen can confirm.

This year, 19 international couples, sharing the same aptitude for experimentation and appreciation of materials, rise to the challenge of creating a dialogue between craft and design.

Text by Francesca Taroni

Editor-in-Chief Living Corriere della Sera

The poetic lightness of Nymphemburg and Riso Porcelain, the vibrant colours of Atelier Mestdagh’s artistic glassworks, the silver textures of Wiener Silber Manufactur: the fourth edition of Doppia Firma scours Europe and goes as far as Japan in search of fascinating contemporary artisans and rare and precious production techniques.

Not only manual dexterity, but also dialogue, passion, research to reinvent a more human design

Text by Franco Cologni

Chairman, Fondazione Cologni dei Mestieri d’Arte and Co-Founder Michelangelo Foundation for Creativity and Craftsmanship

According to Victor Hugo’s classic work Les Miserables, authentic progress can be achieved only through a daring attitude. To dare means sometimes to challenge the system, to propose a new way of thinking and to see how people react; and that is exactly what we have decided to do with this third edition of “Doppia Firma”.

The intuitions of international designers ignite the talent of skillful master artisans

Text by Francesca Taroni

Editor-in-Chief, Living Corriere della Sera

When Doppia Firma made its debut three years ago, the theme of the “craft design” – that is, the artisanal production of inspiring objects, perfectly fitting a contemporary taste –  was just one of the numerous trends in a crowded creative scene.

A signature makes something our own and two signatures carry a message of shared identity

Text by Barbara Geary Truan

Secretary General, Michelangelo Foundation for Creativity and Craftsmanship

For the second year in a row, the Michelangelo Foundation for Creativity and Craftsmanship is proud to be a part of Doppia Firma, a project that embodies the Foundation’s core mission and values by bringing the worlds of design and of craftsmanship into close and fruitful contact with one another. Gorgeous, intriguing, even fun – these are just some of the ways to describe the objects created by the 13 designer-artisan duos who participated in this edition of the project. Still, it is important to remember that the objects are only a part of the story of this exhibit.

High-voltage design breaks into craftsmanship. new energy sparks unexpected projects

Text by Francesca Taroni

Editor-in-Chief, Living Corriere della Sera

Like a precious gem, the world of Italian fine craftsmanship has many facets. There are the time-honoured traditional techniques that constitute an invaluable heritage.  There are the artisans’ flawless gestures that require time to be learnt and patience to be transmitted. There are the manual skills nurtured in a specific territory. These facets shine even brighter when they meet the challenging vision of contemporary design and a cosmopolitan approach.

Unlimited possibilities unfold when creativity meets craftsmanship

Text by Barbara Geary Truan

Secretary General, Michelangelo Foundation for Creativity and Craftsmanship

For the last two hundred years or so, most of our systems, approaches and thinking have been moving consistently in the direction of specialization. The division of labour, which allowed for the growth of complexity and ultimately has given way to an explosion of information, requires us to separate, to categorize, and to disassociate one thing from another. 

between the creative spirit and the intelligence of the hand

Text by Franco Cologni

Chairman, Cologni Foundation for the Métiers d’Art

At the UNESCO headquarters in Paris, ceramic decorations on two spectacular walls evoke the beauty of the Sun and the Moon. The style is unquestionably Joan Miró’s. At the UNESCO headquarters in Paris, ceramic decorations on two spectacular walls evoke the beauty of the Sun and the Moon. The style is unquestionably Joan Miró’s.

Between fine craftsmanship and contemporary design

Text by Francesca Taroni

Editor-in-Chief, Living Corriere della Sera

Doppia Firma is a fascinating experiment focusing on Made in Italy’s key values, such as the excellence of Italian craftsmanship and creative talent. The project aims to establish a connection between top-end Italian workshops skills and contemporary designers vision. Together they’ll give birth to a collection of unique, innovative as well as functional objects.

Text by Federico Marchetti

yoox.com Founder and YOOX NET-A-PORTER Group Chief Executive Officer

The binary code, the basis of digital innovation, is made of two digits: 0 and 1. Like Yin and Yang, like Descartes’ notion of body and mind, these opposites are actually complements. Their duality serves to strengthen, not to divide.