03.10.2016 – 04.23.2016
This exhibition highlights Northern Italy’s ongoing design legacy and furniture making traditions through Mario Milana’s spirited collection of chairs handcrafted in the designer’s hometown of Milan. Italy’s excellence in design and craftsmanship drew international acclaim at the dawn of the Renaissance in the Fifteenth century. Venice and Lombardy’s masters were invited to work in residence with kings and patrons across Europe to create inventive furniture and works of art. The impact that Italian-made crafts had on Europe’s visual and decorative arts is apparent in Leonardo Da Vinci’s long residence in France and by the infamous account of mirror-makers smuggled out of Venice by Louis XIV to cut costs on glass imports for the Hall of Mirrors at Versailles.
The design and craftsmanship of Northern Italy never ceased to receive the world’s accolades as it evolved through to the Industrial Design period in the early 20th century. Most recently the famed Rationalist and Memphis movements, both of which came out of Milan, inform the collection before you in it’s rigorous use of geometric forms and volumes.
Mario Milana believes that one can create innovative designs using traditional production techniques. Focused on supporting and integrating time-honored techniques in his work, the designer collaborates with some of the most respected workshops in Milan for the fabrication of each chair. Unveiled here in brass for the first time, the seats’ structures are hand tooled — the weld marks left by Milana tell the story of their production. In the same vein, the fine Italian leather is entirely stitched by third-generation upholsterers in the north of Milan. Created in the context of this exhibition, the brass collection results from the collaboration between Mario Milana and Les Ateliers Courbet.