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the “souvenir” theme, which for type and size is part of the museum-merchandising topic mentioned at the beginning. The most recent event of this sort was held in Verona, at the past edition of Abitare il Tempo. The Pompeii Council, under the aegis of the Faculty of A r c h i t e c t u r e o f N a p l e s ’s S e c o n d University, took part with the exhibition “Bye bye Pompeii / new souvenirs for Pompeii.” In this case each author designed four objects inspired by ancient and sacred Pompeii (aside from being the most visited archaeological site of Europe, Pompeii is also an important religious sanctuary of South Italy). This initiative involved the University and Local Bodies to create, according to a totally new formula in Europe, a “regional museum system of design and applied arts.” I think this project can be, among other things, a valid support for developing cultural tourism by using, in particular, the great power of attraction of a place like Pompeii. Wrought iron in Sicily (pag. 44) Artistically made articles full of tradition and culture, the fruit of an ageold art that draws its origins and inspirations from religious and pagan sources The art of wrought iron was introduced into Europe by the East during the Indo-European invasions. No important works from periods before the XI century have survived, probably because of the easy deterioration of the material under the corrosive action of oxidants. In 15th-century Sicily the art was sustained by the patronage of the well-to-do classes, who made it a symbol of their incisive social role. In this perspective one has the development of the main Sicilian cities, Palermo, Messina, Syracuse, Trapani, Catania, etc., where, not by chance, the signs of desire for art of the time are more representative (fig. 6,7). Since promoters of culture are in general men involved in various entrepreneurial activities, one cannot overlook the role of the greatest purchasers of the time, including the Abatelli, the Aiutamicristo, the Fardella, etc. Amongst the artistic manufactured articles of the 15th and early 16th centuries, the greatest part of those that have survived until today are of a religious nature, although it was the palatial architecture that best registered the metamorphosis of the society of the time (fig. 8). From the 14th century palazzo-tower that was closed and exclusive, hostile and

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distrustful of the urban context, to the 15th century building that had a broad dialogue with the outside world, the route is the same as that of those who, holding the different kinds of Sicilian society in their hands, evolve their status from feudal to mercantile and financial, negotiating a profitable relationship of give and take with the monarchy. It was in the Baroque period, however, that wrought iron reached another artistic level: the grating became an artistically worked spatial frame; even the ornamental motifs assumed spatial functions, perfectly merged with the architectural-perspectival conception of the courtyard or garden. One witnesses an accentuation of the architectural and decorative language in the portal element and balcony above (fig. 8), often connected in order to form gallery on which the family coat of arms was placed. The XVII century is best remembered for the catastrophic earthquakes that shocked the whole of Sicily, but one prefers to refer to that which followed, that is to say, above all, the much-desired rebirth that every town longed to undergo. It is during this period that the accent is placed on the play of convexities and concavities, the inspiration of wrought iron. Gratings are rhythmic to the point of having large or small curls, and display daisy-like flowers with very pointed petals on their corners (fig. 9); then there are the non-protruding railings that, with their geometry, participate in the transformation of Baroque taste, until arriving at the fluid lines of Art Nouveau in the 19th century (figs. 10, 11, 12). Furthermore, the sunburst patterned railings have a semi-circular form, composed of two or three strips, of which the smallest is in the central zone, and the position of the largest is dictated by the addition of modules that are also proposed in a specular way (fig. 13). However, one of the main motifs is the shoot of a plant that assumes widely varying dimensions and positions, independently of its surroundings or of filling another motif in the composition. At the end of the century an ever more definite tendency towards a classical style was typical on the island, especially in those towns, like Palermo, that remained in close contact with Naples, capital of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies, and with Rome. Towards the end of the XVIII century tastes changed profoundly and the sobriety of soft steel combined with bronze motifs was preferred to the flexibility of iron. The decline of wrought iron was

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later accentuated by the introduction of decorative objects in cast iron, a much cheaper material. At the beginning of our century new creations appeared and ornamental themes with trees, branches, flowers, fruits, modelled by hammer and welded in the forge, were particularly developed. Art & Craft (page 50) A workshop that presents furnishing accessories and objects made from natural materials, from recycled metal to natural paper Its multi-coloured and extravagant shop windows stand out against the chaos of a provincial road: this is an oasis of calm, one understands this when observing the furnishing accessories. The furniture is special and sophisticated at the same time. The interiors are elegant in a tranquil, composite way, in no way diminishing the originality of some of the furniture sets. The lamps are not lacking in colour and sophisticated shape, but are never “intrusive”. The chairs, coffee tables, objects, dressers, glasses… are all sculptures. The “Snail” project springs from the study of the “natural shape” resulting from an application that considers every aspect of shape, in this case animal shape. Studies, cross-sections, divisions of the whole examined, then allow to divide and assemble elements to create a house-and-garden object: in Snail design fuses with the essence of life. Instead, “Fire” springs from studying the shape of fire. Its spatial construction lines flicker like flames and like them twists to form astonishing vortexes and spirals. These and many other projects show that the artistic level here is extremely high, the result being to blend furnishings with art through functional and aesthetic study, spreading a culture of the beautiful without disregarding functionality. To use glass, metal, eco-paper, textiles, natural materials without distinction gives free rein to imagination and allows it to create the most peculiar and original projects. Anna De Plano (page 52) A designer absorbed between traditional handicraft and new design form Willowy and transparent vases, Anna De Piano’s most recent works, are today the last stage of the long artistic route taken by this designer; an itinerary that starts from Sardinia, her native land. The Sardinian culture of doing is rich in

Profile for Fondazione Cologni dei Mestieri d'Arte

Artigianato 44  

Magazine about crafts

Artigianato 44  

Magazine about crafts

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