Past meets present at ECAL's gorgeous show


Bridging the Gap

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.

Left: Decrescendo music box designed by ECAL/Lorena Sauras, realized by instrument-maker Jeanmichel Capt. Right: Detail of Explosion Printanière automaton designed by ECAL/Jean-Baptiste Colleuille, realized by automaton maker François Junod. Photos by Jonas Marguet. Left: Decrescendo music box designed by ECAL/Lorena Sauras, realized by instrument-maker Jeanmichel Capt. Right: Detail of Explosion Printanière automaton designed by ECAL/Jean-Baptiste Colleuille, realized by automaton maker François Junod. Photos by Jonas Marguet.

Explosion Printanière automaton designed by ECAL/Jean-Baptiste Colleuille, realized by automaton-maker François Junod. Photo by ECAL/Axel Crettenand. Explosion Printanière automaton designed by ECAL/Jean-Baptiste Colleuille, realized by automaton-maker François Junod. Photo by ECAL/Axel Crettenand.

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.

Left: Natura Morta glass composition by ECAL/Nicolas Lalande, realized by glassblower Matteo Gonet. Right: L.O.D. (Light Dependant Object) designed by ECAL/Kaja Solgaard Dahl, realized by glassmaker Roland Béguin. Photos by Jonas Marguet. Left: Natura Morta glass composition by ECAL/Nicolas Lalande, realized by glassblower Matteo Gonet. Right: L.O.D. (Light Dependant Object) designed by ECAL/Kaja Solgaard Dahl, realized by glassmaker Roland Béguin. Photos by Jonas Marguet.

Left: Paysages Désertiques enameled clay plates, designed by ECAL/Josefina Munoz, realized by ceramist Peter Fink. Right: Aventure Romantique picnic bag in leather, rattan and steel, designed by ECAL/Alexis Tourron, realized by saddle maker Patricia Rochat. Photos by Jonas Marguet. Left: Paysages Désertiques enameled clay plates, designed by ECAL/Josefina Munoz, realized by ceramist Peter Fink. Right: Aventure Romantique picnic bag in leather, rattan and steel, designed by ECAL/Alexis Tourron, realized by saddle maker Patricia Rochat. Photos by Jonas Marguet.

Left: Eclipse lamp in crystalline marble, polished steel and LED, designed by ECAL/Annie Tung, realized by sculptor Vincent Du Bois. Right: La Macina millstone made of Galala marble, chiseled and cast bronze, designed by ECAL/Stefano Panterotto, realized by stone sculptor Luca Bellei. Photos by Jonas Marguet. Left: Eclipse lamp in crystalline marble, polished steel and LED, designed by ECAL/Annie Tung, realized by sculptor Vincent Du Bois. Right: La Macina millstone made of Galala marble, chiseled and cast bronze, designed by ECAL/Stefano Panterotto, realized by stone sculptor Luca Bellei. Photos by Jonas Marguet.

Left: Le Nouvel Âge (axe, knife, & rope) made of milled carbon sheets and stainless steel. Designed by ECAL/Rodrigo Caula, realized by composite materials specialist Bertrand Cardis. Right: Artisanal tools. Photos by Jonas Marguet. Left: Le Nouvel Âge (axe, knife, & rope) made of milled carbon sheets and stainless steel. Designed by ECAL/Rodrigo Caula, realized by composite materials specialist Bertrand Cardis. Right: Artisans' tools. Photos by Jonas Marguet.

 

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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