Forza Tappeti: the Rug Revolution, La Pelota, Via Palermo, 10, Milan, Italy. La Pelota is the venue for designjunction’s curated exhibition and Forza Tappeti is located at the entrance. Please visit and say hello!
Vitruvius disliked unreality. The ancient Roman architect, engineer and town planner promoted firmitas, utilitas, venustas – solid, useful, beautiful architecture. And the decorative arts, he argued, must follow realism. In his seventh book Vitruvius rails against the stage designs of Apaturius which displayed what Vitruvius saw as illogical architecture. Fantasy was forbidden. No vine tendrils acting as columns to hold up a roof. Be real or begone, Vitruvius might have said. Instead what he actually wrote was “such things do not exist, and cannot exist and never will exist”. (cont)
But Vitruvius might make an exception for the now famous trompe l’oeil 3D representation floor from “House of the Faun” at Pompeii. Or he would if he’d known about the fluid mechanics of volcanic activity. Although the House of the Faun mosaic floor is a flat surface with three-dimensional aspirations, the geometric blocks have geologic precedents.
The coastline field of upright basalt columns known as the Giant’s Causeway in Ireland was formed some sixty million years ago when volcanic activity forced molten rock upwards through chalk bed fissures. The lava cooled at varying rates to form a field of polygonal basalt pillars (mainly hexagonal plus five and four sided). Knowing this, Vitruvius might agree the House of the Faun floor is a rendition of reality for the “giants” who roamed the causeway and “saw” the same view beneath their fictional feet that pre-AD 79 Pomeiians enjoyed when they walked through the House of the Faun.
Fancy your own Pompeiian floor or Giant’s Causeway? CC-Tapis in Milan designed Infini Stucco, a beautiful and elegant hand woven rug and contemporary echo of the House of the Faun mosaic. (cont)
If you are in Milan next week for the Salone Internazionale del Mobile please visit the COVER stand at the entrance to La Pelota where CC-Tapis are one of our guest exhibitors. But if you want to see Infini Stucco then take a ten minute walk to the CC-Tapis showroom on via San Simpliciano n. 6. where you will discover they follow the ancient Roman credo remis velisque – “giving one’s best”. DJ
Just weeks to wait until the Salone Internazionale del Mobile welcomes the world to the annual design exposition. Spread across the city but centred in the Brera district, one of the focal points is La Pelota where the UK’s designjunction will present EDIT.
Rather like the anticipation created by a nested set of Russian Matryoshka dolls where the urge is to power through the nest to find the innermost gem, visitors will want to ensure they discover COVER magazine’s Forza Tapetti: The Rug Revolution pavilion. Strategically located in the forecourt of La Pelota, Forza Tapetti is a must-see curated exhibition of the best in contemporary carpets. Here’s a sneak peak at the carpets that will be displayed in our Michael Sodeau-designed pavilion. DJ
Woven in linen and cotton Red Meander was designed by Anni Albers, famed alumnus of the Bauhaus in Germany and founding faculty member at the legendary Black Mountain College in North Carolina. It was she who can be credited with developing and disseminating a revolution in 20th century contemporary textile design and production. But is Meander truly a meander or is it more mythical maze? (Cont)
The word meander calls to mind a loose, loopy gambol not a rectilinear purposeful path. Albers’ pattern recalls labyrinth floors like St Quentin, Chartres Cathedral or the infamous labyrinthos of Greek mythology.
Daedelus designed the labyrinth to cage King Minos’ stealth weapon – the “man-bull” Minotaur. At war with mainland Athens, the island King prevailed and demanded “tributes” of Athenian youth every nine years to feed the Minotaur. Enough was enough. Athens sent Theseus to Crete. He got lucky. It was un coup de foudre when the King’s daughter saw him. Betraying dad, she gave Theseus the secret directions to the heart of the labyrinth. “Forwards, down and never left or right”, and she gave him a ball of yarn to unroll as back-up “map”. Theseus killed the man-bull. Fair fight? No. Theseus had a sword. Poor Minotaur. Trapped his whole life in a maze, no friends, and infrequent feedings. Cruel. (Cont)
Whatever Albers’ influence for Meander, it seems she may have inspired Keith Haring, or is it only your scribe who sees similarities between Meander and Haring’s hip hop graffiti?
Original Anni Albers rugs and textiles are found in private collections, museums and The Josef and Anni Albers Foundation. Several exemplary contemporary dealers are authorised by the Foundation to sell renditions of Meander. Alan Cristea Gallery sells screenprints, and Christopher Farr sells the rug. Find Farr in London or better still, stop by COVER’s Forza Tappeti: The Rug Revolution exhibition at Edit during Milan Design Week next month to see Meander and more. DJ
The Alf Onnie curtain shop in East Ham, London, was on its uppers. Established in 1920, the family owned curtain company was one net curtain away from financial disaster. But then along came Alex Polizzi. Star of BBC television reality show The Fixer, Polizzi uses her business nous to rescue a company in each episode (filmed over four months). Daughter of hotelier Olga Polizzi, niece of Rocco Forte, granddaughter of Lord Forte, Polizzi is – in an unconventional but illustrative use of the legal phrase – a force majeure. Ignore her at your peril.
The three brothers who run Alf Onnie were in a pickle. The store was crammed with unrelated merchandise, the accounts were shipwrecked and the brothers were at odds. Most of Polizzi’s advice made sense, and without her expertise the shop was doomed. But on the subject of craft and skilled hand work your scribe sides with brother Jeremy. In 2008 Robert Hanks reviewed Richard Sennett’s book The Craftsman. Hanks told a story about his decorator Peter. Hanks feels guilty because he can’t pay Peter enough to account for “his meticulousness and dedication”. One day Hanks finds Peter re-doing an area because irregularities had appeared. Hanks jokes about obsessive-compulsive disorder. “Peter responded with an agonised, reproachful look. ‘It’s not me’, he said. ‘It’s how it has to be.'”
“How it has to be” is at the heart of superlative craft. It is the bulwark against bodging. And it is at the heart of the rug companies who will exhibit superlative handmade rugs at COVER magazine’s Forza Tappeti: The Rug Revolution exhibition at Edit during Milan Design Week 2013.
Polizzi takes the brothers to five star Brown’s Hotel. They visit a guest room. Youngest brother Jeremy – “I am a perfectionist” – examines the room’s curtains. He doesn’t like what he finds. Polizzi calls him a “curtain nerd” and tells viewers he’s “all het up about some very minor details”. But the devil is in the details, and Jeremy has observed the curtains are unweighted at the hemline, a professional taboo. His hangdog expression says it all as he tells Polizzi, “I’ve never ever made a pair of made-to-measure curtains where I haven’t put weights in . . . I think that would be almost like cheapening myself.” Polizzi is unrelenting. But Jeremy is right. He is a consummate craftsman. He knows how it has to be. And for that your scribe salutes him. Here’s to the next ninety years of Alf Onnie, and “how it has to be”. DJ
Go on. Lean deep into the hairpin curve. Forza Tappeti Rug Revolution 2013 at the Salone Internazionale Del Mobile, Milan will be an exhilarating ride. Celebrating its second successive year at the Salone, Forza Tappeti is a COVER magazine exhibition presenting the best in contemporary hand made design carpets. COVER are delighted to present Forza Tappeti as part of designjunction’s Edit exhibition.
The venue is La Pelota, on the via Palermo in Milan’s famous Brera-Garibaldi artist quarteriere, aka the Brera Design District. Before the massive venue was renovated and transformed to host events, La Pelota was the place to watch the riotous and rapid game of pelota. Promoted in North America (and elsewhere) as Jai alai, the small rubber game ball can reach speeds of 300 km per hour. Expect Forza Tappeti to deliver similar speed, expertise, exhilaration, players, audience and more.
Edit’s dates are 9-14 April 2013, and includes highlights from designjunction’s September 2012 London Design Week show. And now for the first time it will also include Forza Tappeti. Just two months to go. Get ready to ride. DJ