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.