the designs of life and it’s invariable finality which follows has always been of great interest to me; the belief that it has the power to improve our lives however long they may last, motivated by intimacy not itemacy.
design has become objet d’art, a possession joining an array of inert accumulations, monuments. perhaps the reason lies deep within the aspirational drivers of society, fuelled by lack of confidence, desire for acceptance and general confusion about our own identity; a politicised, aesthetic existence.
fascination with death and funerary rites seems like a symptom of longing, a longing for change of existence, regardless of the consequence; even a longing for an unknown.
the evening before the 2017 salone in milan i was having dinner with an architect friend, since we know each other so well we didn’t really have much to talk about so we started playing a drinking game; aptly called dead or alive. it basically consists of thinking of a prominent/famous italian architect/designer and guessing if they are still alive. yes, i also thought it was easy colombo, sottsass, gae aulenti etc. but then what about vico magistretti, enzo mari, or gaetano pesce;
at the re-launch of a giant version of his iconic ‘up’ chair, pesce is as much alive as ever. the resin soaked clothes used to create this intervention were previously worn by woman all over the world and now contribute to this monument of tolerance and diversity; the power of design iconography.
the second exhibit was called ‘holy handmade!’orchestrated by the influential style bible wallpaper*; the irony to me lies at the heart of the concept of objects, worship and ownership. it purports honesty and commonality but only respects exclusivity; the core of most religious enterprises.
the non-denominative church holds pieces designed for the exhibition; contemplative and meditative concepts gaining form from famous names. the objects are both predictable and pretty; blandly titled, immaculate care case, stairway to heaven, let there be light, infinity table, meditation tablet and sacred basin or worshipful wardrobe, they colourlessly try to match concept with utility.
continuously this in/exclusive designer battle is fought on social media, facebook, instagram, snapchat and such where membership is completed only through the ultimate ritual of possession… taking a selfie.
around the corner in the vestibule a woman hands me a gift bag with a single printed page in it, when i ask her what it’s for, she shrugs and points at the painted room saying it is sponsored. perhaps i was a little overwhelmed by the sheer vacuousness of it or perhaps that was the point; how empty all this adoration eventually is.