The works on show all the theme of play, and afford the opportunity to showcase the enormous potential of the designer-artisan duo when it comes to creating imaginative objects rendered precious by the savoir faire of master artisans. Yet they are also made contemporary by the concepts of their designers, who give the objects a domestic role interpreted with a fantastical approach. The result screens with spheres of lapis lazuli, boxes finely decorated in keeping with the eighteenth-century tradition of straw marquetry, thrones with human guises woven out of wicker, tables set with coloured glass objects that resemble sweets.
More traditionally linked to the world of children, the ‘playful design’ presented in the halls of Palazzo Litta is allow us all to revel in represent atmosphere redolent of Alice in Wonderland, and to savour the exquisitely enchanting, fairy-tale beauty designed to bring tongue-in-cheek joy into our everyday lives. The pieces crafted purposely for the exhibition include the Atelier Biagetti table, made by the Faenza-based Ceramica Gatti 1928 atelier, resembling a provocation thinly veiled with nostalgia: a glass top propped on three beachballs with wedges of colour made of ceramic. “Bagno Paradiso is a beach on the Romagna riviera where children run around in the sand between all the colourful, stripy beach umbrellas, and the adults chatter all cuddled up on the sun loungers in the shade…But then again, maybe it isn’t!” the designers say.
Which is like saying that the power to fascinate of the objects on show goes beyond the object itself. It will in fact be up to each of us to allow ourselves to be transported by our own dream.