It was only last year that i-MADE debuted at London Design Festival, filling Chelsea’s Saatchi gallery with a striking tribute to Italian manufactured design curated by Giulio Cappellini. The success of that four-day show sparked hopes that it might be a permanent fixture.
2020, of course, had different ideas, but i-MADE – the Italian Manufacture Art & Design Exhibition – hasn’t let that momentum melt away, instead launching as a digital version on online marketplace Artemest.com, another champion of Italian craftsmanship.
From 28 September, a staging named ‘Revolutionary Icons’ will offer a curated digital tour of Italian icons old and new, selected by Cappellini and presented in a shoppable format. Design lovers will have until the end of the year to snap up pieces from the showcase, which features everything from Italian-made furniture and lighting to rugs and tiles.
‘All pieces selected for Revolutionary Icons are innovative in terms of concept, imagery, use of materials and production process. By their novelty, these products are set to become icons of design and contemporary production, over time,’ explains Cappellini, who is art director of the eponymous brand. ‘The exhibition will showcase items by large international brands along with exquisite manufacturing by some of Italy’s finest artisans: it is all about the quality of the piece, not about popularity or size of the company.’
Few could argue with his summation given the treasures on offer – the ‘Carlton’ room divider and punchy ‘Yang’ vases by Ettore Sottsass re-edited by Alessio Sarri, the revolutionary Boffi ‘Minikitchen’ and the ‘Shimmer’ table by Patricia Urquiola for Glas Italia, plus a wealth of exquisite pieces manufactured by the likes of De Padova, Poltrona Frau, Budri and Bitossi.
There will also be a series of talks with top designers, architects and influential industry figures hosted on IGTV, including a discussion on the perception of Italian design and manufacturing in the UK with architect Massimo Mariani and Living Divani head of communication Carola Bestetti.
Cappellini certainly makes a convincing case for taking the plunge. ‘Bringing a piece of contemporary design history into one’s home is always a great investment: today to live with it, tomorrow to pass it down.’ artemest.com
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