Perhaps the most beautifully conceived and executed show we saw during all of this year’s Milan Design Week was Arts & Crafts & Design: Time According to ECAL & Swiss Craftsmen, a cooperative effort between Swiss design school ECAL, Eindhoven-based studio Formafantasma, and expert Swiss craftsmen. Set inside the marvelously medieval Museo Bagatti Valsecchi, a 19th-century mansion-cum-museum, the exhibition (presented by Swiss luxury watch manufacturer Vacheron Constantin) featured a dozen, material-rich collaborations between students and noted traditional Swiss artisans, ranging from a saddler and a glassmaker to a stonemason and even a stringed-instrument maker. Under the direction of Formafantasma's Andrea Trimarchi and Simone Farresin, each student was charged with creating a contemporary work inspired by one of the four seasons and celebrating the expertise of their assigned craftsmen.
Every one a beauty, projects ranged from the mechanized yet poetic Explosion Printanière (Spring Explosion), an automaton that evokes the spirit of nature's growth, to Decrescendo, a sculptural "music box" incorporating various lengths of woods that allow for variations in resonance and volume. The abstract forms in colored glass that made up L.D.O (Light Dependant Object) called to mind stained glass windows, while the Eclipse Lamp plays a trick on the eyes, as marble appears to fold down like fabric at one end while a metal rod (seemingly) secures its base. And so on and so on; every project brilliantly refined and gorgeously executed.
Notably, Milan was just the first stop off for Arts & Crafts & Design. The exhibition will also be presented at the VIP Lounge of the Swiss Pavilion for the duration of Expo Milan 2015 (May 1st to October 31st, 2015). For more on the series, click here.
*All images courtesy of ECAL
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