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April 21, 2014

In Residence: Italo Rota

The Uncompromising Milanese Architect Discusses His Designs For Living

“As an Italian, I have always found the Renaissance period an unbearable bottleneck,” says Milanese designer Italo Rota. “I think what blocked the modernity of the 20th century has been this kind of thinking." Renowned for his use of light and strong gestures—from the restoration of Milan’s Piazza del Duomo to Roberto Cavalli’s phosphorescent Florence residence—Rota is an advocate for the evolution of contemporary architecture over heritage conservation. “The danger that Italian design was in has been elegantly overcome with great intelligence, allowing people all over the planet to play the game,” he says. “Today, most Italian design is designed by non-Italians. It is an inclusive system.” His progressive attitude extends to the development of the next generation of designers in his role as the unconventional Scientific Director of NABA and the Domus Academy. “My advice to a young architect is that all buildings are just one of the many clothes worn by that particularly capricious emperor we love to call architecture,” says Rota. “The gap between the ages of teachers, students and mentors should be reduced. I think the future is all about finding an equilibrium.”

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Spotlight

Philippe Malouin: Crystal Clear

The Young Designer's Must-See Picks at the London Design Festival

Photographer Ben Stockley documents rising talent Philippe Malouin's curated recommendations from the 10th London Design Festival. Launching in 2003, the festival promotes the forefront of contemporary design with exhibits across the capital. This year sees an immersive sound installation by Arup taking over Trafalgar Square and 100 design brands showcased at the old Post Office sorting house on New Oxford Street. Having graduated from the Design Academy, Eindhoven, and the École National Supérieure de Création Industrielle, Paris, Malouin was recently named Winner of the 2012 W Hotels Designer of the Future Award and received a Wallpaper* Design Award for best use of material. His newest work 'blur', seen at the London Design Museum, is a spellbinding Catherine wheel of multifaceted Swarovski crystal beads that rotate within the confines of digitally motorized pictures. These temporal LED ‘light paintings’ exploring memory and motion appear alongside works by Ron Arad, Yves Behar and Maarten Baas in the exhibition Digital Crystal. Here, Malouin gives props to his festival favorites.

Prosthesis and Innesti at Gallery Fumi
Construction workers on architect Marcio Kogan’s building sites anonymously created found-object structures, which were then curated and modified by his illustrious Brazilian architecture studio MK27: “The synopsis for the show sounds amazing. Spanning 4 years, debris and construction waste products were collected, catalogued and used to create new design pieces. A bit of a flashback to the Arte Povera movement with design in mind.”
16 Hoxton Square, London, N1 6NT, until 23 September.

The Wrong Shop Editions with prints by Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec and Pierre Charpin
The dynamic Bouroullec brothers and the enigmatic Pierre Charpin expose their design processes through limited-edition, signed prints: “I have been a fan of the Bouroullec's work since before I started studying design. These prints by the masters of form are hand-drawn and impossibly beautiful.”
twentytwentyone showroom,18c River Street, London, EC1R 1XN, until 23 September.

Hot Tools by ECAL at Libby Sellers
A new selection of work by Product Design Master students at the prestigious ECAL challenge the conventions of glassmaking: “I saw this show displayed in Milan this year and fell in love with the ingenuity these glassworks showed. Several students adopted creative manufacturing techniques and the results are beautiful.”
41-42 Berners Street, London W1T 3NB, until 22 September.

Bone China: New Works by Max Lamb, Suzanne Trocmé and Emily Johnson
“Bone China, produced by 1882 Ltd, is a contemporary bone china collection that is growing and proving to be exactly what England needed in terms of goods manufacturing. Bone china is reinterpreted by true design talents Max Lamb and Emily Johnson, and the result is very impressive.”
Bamford, 169 Draycott Avenue, London, SW3 3AG, until 22 September.

‘Blur’ by Philippe Malouin is in Digital Crystal: Swarovski at Design Museum until 13th January 2013.

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Spotlight

The Foodist Manifesto

Renowned Artists and Designers Cook Up Dada Snacks in Northern Italy

A cake made into a pie chart by Martí Guixé, a baguette repurposed as a shackle by Alexis Georgacopoulos and a knife and fork made from a potato and a leek by Peter Marigold were captured in photographer Daniel Stier’s clinical yet surreal style during a late night lock-in at Museo d’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea di Trento e Rovereto (MART). Because the objects had to be shot outside of museum hours, Stier and his assistant were granted access in the dead of night with just an elusive night guard for company: “It was just a beautiful atmosphere to be locked in alone in the museum in that crazy exhibition.” The northern Italian museum’s current exhibition The Food Project takes Good Design by Bruno Munari as a starting point to showcase food-inspired imagery derived from artists, designers and chefs including Bompas & Parr, Marcel Wanders, Carlo Cracco and Philippe Starck. Steir, who has shot for Wallpaper*The New York Times’ T Magazine and W as well as exhibiting internationally at venues including the Moscow House of Photography and the Festival International de Mode et de Photographie in Hyères, was attracted to the show's mash-up potential. “I wanted to create a set of images that’s pitched somewhere between a test kitchen and a science lab,” he explains. “With a bit of a mad-scientist twist.”

The Food Project runs through June 2 at MART.

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