Double Signature. A dialogue between design and artisanal excellence

When competence makes the difference

The artisanal activities that we have selected for this edition of Doppia Firma have their roots in a series of noble traditions, typical of the different European countries where the objects presented at Palazzo Litta were made: traditions that are however reinterpreted, trying to give shape to the demands and expectations of a new world, rapidly evolving. And which therefore needs new master artisans who employ the most advanced techniques and know-how to combine tradition and innovation: who benefit from a mature and conscious dialogue with design.

Text by Alberto Cavalli

General Director, Fondazione Cologni dei Mestieri d’Arte / Executive Director, Michelangelo Foundation for Creativity and Craftsmanship

The excellence of craftsmanship is still based on the atelier tradition that rewards creativity, manual skill, competence, and curiosity. In fact, intelligence, patience, a remarkable artistic talent and a great desire to learn and create are always needed to become an artisan. With Doppia Firma we wanted to show how, throughout Europe, these artisans are irreplaceable professional partners for designers, to imagine and create every day the contemporary forms of authentic and original beauty. A beauty that, however, must always be revitalized, rediscovered, re-imagined, both from a production and distribution point of view, and from a training and communication perspective. Precisely for this reason, a project like Doppia Firma (now in its sixth edition, and quickly established itself as a reference model) represents a new way of understanding the collaboration between creatives and craftspeople, between designers and master artisans: a relationship that is not hierarchical but dialogic, that allows everyone to learn every day how to give shape to our thirst for beauty. A contemporary, stimulating form, perfect because it is deeply human.

To pretend to link artisan excellence to the arithmetic objectivity of industrial production, would be misleading. However, trying to give as clear a basis as possible to the characteristics that an “excellent” handcrafted product must possess means facilitating the transmission of the uniqueness and beauty of the object itself, contributing to a form of education and recognition of “well made beauty”. Which has a double positive function: to improve the visibility of the maker, and to present the methodology as a set of rules, practices, knowledge and experiences which underpin the “character” of Doppia Firma. This is the purpose of this edition of our project. A project that seeks to support, with a gentle but firm voice, the dialogue between knowing how to do and knowing how to create. A project that wishes to inspire an evolution to the culture of beauty, and to the beauty of a culture of “handmaking” that favours care and competence. A project that is an answer to the banality of so many mass productions, and that gives hope to those who know that talent leaves a mark on history. A mark capable of overcoming the passage of time.

The sixth edition of Doppia Firma, which celebrates the dialogue between artisans and designers from all over Europe, aims to propose a new definition of “craft”. A definition that distances itself from bygone styles, from divisions that are now outdated, from useless hierarchies.

Text by Franco Cologni

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

The sixth edition of Doppia Firma, which celebrates the dialogue between artisans and designers from all over Europe, aims to propose a new definition of “craft”. A definition that distances itself from bygone styles, from divisions that are now outdated, from useless hierarchies.The sixth edition of Doppia Firma, which celebrates the dialogue between artisans and designers from all over Europe, aims to propose a new definition of “craft”. A definition that distances itself from bygone styles, from divisions that are now outdated, from useless hierarchies.

The guiding thread of this sixth edition of Doppia Firma is nature, evoked by the designs on show through the texture of the materials, the decorations and the forms of the objects that are intended to embrace it. Vases, sculptures, seats, tapestries, lamps, cabinets, tables, containers and screens are the protagonists of an unprecedented Wunderkammer in which time-honoured techniques and the ideas of designers meet and meld to give rise to contemporary excellence.

Text by Francesca Taroni

Editor-in-Chief Living Corriere della Sera

The guiding thread of this sixth edition of Doppia Firma is nature, evoked by the designs on show through the texture of the materials, the decorations and the forms of the objects that are intended to embrace it. Vases, sculptures, seats, tapestries, lamps, cabinets, tables, containers and screens are the protagonists of an unprecedented Wunderkammer in which time-honoured techniques and the ideas of designers meet and meld to give rise to contemporary excellence.

I have always liked a distinction that the philosopher Baruch Spinoza makes in his Theological-Political Treatise: the one between Natura naturans and Natura naturata. 

Text by Franco Cologni

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

I have always liked a distinction that the philosopher Baruch Spinoza makes in his Theological-Political Treatise: the one between Natura naturans and Natura naturata. 

After exploring the synergies between design and craftsmanship with the creation of pieces of furniture for the home, Doppia Firma, staged for the fifth time this year, is emerging into the open air. The theme this time is garden design: a fascinating challenge that has been taken up by eleven Italian manufacturers which have set out to create, in tandem with the same number of creatives operating on the international scene, functional objects with an artistic spirit. 

Text by Francesca Taroni

Editor-in-Chief Living Corriere della Sera

After exploring the synergies between design and craftsmanship with the creation of pieces of furniture for the home, Doppia Firma, staged for the fifth time this year, is emerging into the open air. The theme this time is garden design: a fascinating challenge that has been taken up by eleven Italian manufacturers which have set out to create, in tandem with the same number of creatives operating on the international scene, functional objects with an artistic spirit. 

A beautiful garden and a courtyard full of flowers owe much of their beauty to what Hildegard of Bingen, a medieval German mystic and expert of healing herbs, would have called viriditas: that is, the vital force that runs through trees, flowers and plants and which constantly allows them to flower over and over again and to grow (again).

Text by Alberto Cavalli

General Director, Fondazione Cologni dei Mestieri d’Arte - Executive Director, Michelangelo Foundation for Creativity and Craftsmanship

A beautiful garden and a courtyard full of flowers owe much of their beauty to what Hildegard of Bingen, a medieval German mystic and expert of healing herbs, would have called viriditas: that is, the vital force that runs through trees, flowers and plants and which constantly allows them to flower over and over again and to grow (again).

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.

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.

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.