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
Forza Tapetti Rug Revolution pavilion, EDIT, La Pelota, Milan Design Week 2013
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)
Christopher Farr, Red Meander by Anni Albers. Weave raised Aubusson, handspun wool.
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)
Pompeii labyrinth graffito 79 AD
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 cow as villain is probably urban myth, but Chicago’s reputation as a lodestone for architectural excellence began after the conflagration in 1871 when a bovine was blamed for bowling over a lantern and setting the city ablaze. Bold buildings soon followed and the Second City became and remains an influential centre for architecture; renowned as the city that built the first steel-frame skyscraper. The bull market that fueled the boom was the catalyst for a memorable saying coined by Chicago realtors in 1926 to underscore the value of a property’s locale. “Location, location, location.”
Location, location, location is still applicable to real estate. And the phrase becomes meaningful for COVER magazine during Milan Design Week 2013. We’ve bagsied a prime location for Forza Tappeti: The Rug Revolution. COVER’s exhibition pavilion is part of designjunction’s Edit show at the prestigious (and massive) La Pelota venue. Our Forza pavilion will be located in the courtyard entrance to La Pelota. Fair organisers estimate up to 10,000 daily visitors will encounter the Forza pavilion as they enter and exit Edit. However visitors find us, by intent, chance or with COVER’s version of a vaudeville hook, your scribe believes visitors will be captivated by our exhibitors and their handmade rugs.
But while location is key, it only becomes the winning trifecta when linked to superb content contained within sublime space. Acclaimed designer Michael Sodeau has designed our Forza pavilion. His innovative accordion-shaped frame emphasises the iconic shape’s architectural virtues – structurally sound, flexible, dynamic, and expressive – to create a sheltered stand with infinite spatial solutions and significant volume. All of which combine to make the Forza Tapetti pavilion unmissable. 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
Close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades. Your scribe’s favourite idiomatic expression can be augmented with “. . . and meteors”, following today’s meteor crash in Russia which blew the roof off a factory and shattered countless windows. Video footage looks like outtakes from Mars Attacks!, but there’s more tonight when Asteroid DA14 becomes a NEO (not an EO which is what the meteor turned into).
At 1930 GMT your scribe will crouch in wintry blackberry bramble on the flat roof of the Victorian garage behind her garden. A flask of the warm stuff in one hand and high powered binoculars in the other, she will pick bramble thorns off her cat cohorts until 2100 hrs when Asteroid DA14 hoves into the European sky. Loyal readers might like to see your scribe’s interpretation of the size of the asteroid, using COVER magazine’s Forza Tapetti: The Rug Revolution logo for Milan Design Week 2013 as a stand-in for the asteroid (click to view larger):
Size comparison diagram for Asteroid 2012 DA14 as visualised by the COVER scribe
Assuming a near miss means there’s time to shop for a rug to commemorate these remarkable events, your scribe suggests a rug by inimitable design world star and raconteur Vladimir Kagan, whose famous designs include his 1975 Serpentine Sofa. Kagan’s Meteor of Shower handtufted 100% New Zealand wool carpet is right on the money. Eerily it seems to have massive meteor fallout landing on what appears to be Russia. So it’s tin hats at the ready dear readers and happy weekend. DJ
Vladimir Kagan Meteor of Shower rug