A spectacular exhibition set in the spaces of HangarBicocca and articulated into two parts, Backstage_Behind the scenes, edited by Patrizia Moroso and Marco Viola, and Metamorfosi_ Behind, After or Beyond by Martino Gamper, recounts and interprets the history of one of the most creative and innovative companies of Italian design. Thus Moroso has chosen to celebrate its first 60 years. For the occasion, we met Patrizia Moroso, Art Director of the company, and designer Martino Gamper.
DROME: Why the choice of the concept of “metamorphosis” as a fil rouge to celebrate 60 years of Moroso?
PATRIZIA MOROSO: The change and the fusion have always played an important role in my life, in my work. We were looking for a theme for the 60 years of Moroso and one day a friend told me: “You know that in China in 2012 will be the year of the Dragon?”. The sign of the Dragon is a very strong symbol, orders the changes, a kind of bomb that comes every 60 years and changes the cards on the table, who knows how to pick the right wave gets a lot of energy. So the theme of metamorphosis seemed perfect for this occasion. Furthermore, we wanted to conceive a project with Martino Gamper, a designer who interprets the metamorphosis better than anyone else. Everything comes back!
DROME: Martino, transformation and renovation are, in fact, key concepts of your work. How did you develop this project for Moroso? What inspired you most?
MARTINO GAMPER: Especially the free and creative attitude of Moroso inspired me. Often, with some companies, you are facing a wall, but in this case, all options were open. I addressed the issue in a very personal way. After consulting the catalogs of Moroso, I picked up the pieces and started to cut and assemble the parts, combining fabrics, shapes, materials, styles, like in a patchwork or a collage. This for me is metamorphosis. It is very important to revisit what was done, also to try to slow down a bit in a world that moves too fast, which changes continuously.
D: From Moroso Prize for Contemporary Art to numerous collaborations with artists and institutions like the Venice Biennale, the dialogue with the art world has always been intense and prolific for Moroso. How do you see the interaction between art and design?
PM: It is a multifaceted exchange. Everything depends on the people who work in these two areas. I always liked to stay on the edge, never at the center, because the center is boring, dictatorial. I am interested in the paths to the margins, that are where you find more interesting people. When I choose to work with designers, they are always people who have the same attraction for borders, fascinated by the art and other disciplines. Very often the designer is interested in art for the extreme freedom to do and to think without ties, is fascinated by the research, by seeing things from another point of view, not necessarily related to the reproducibility. It is clear that art is not design, and vice versa, because the heart of these two worlds goes in very different directions, but who is on the border between these fields may give rise to attractive interactions. Pollination has always brought great results, and the world, thankfully, goes on like this, through mutation, the interaction.
D: Martino, how do you live interaction between these two areas? You are the winner of the first edition of the Moroso Prize, and your production and your design approach are situated in the balance between art and design.
MG: Yes, I work on the border between these two worlds, but I consider myself a designer. My pieces are functional even though at first sight it wouldn’t seem so. It is important that different ways of thinking and doing co-exist in design. in the methodology, I am much closer to an artistic attitude . Many times I work without limits, without briefing, a little bit like an outsider. I always tried to find my ways, I like to create the conceptual space within which to operate. I work with many artists and craftsmen, my wife is a sculptor. I do not see a hierarchy between art, design and craftsmanship, all this for me is creativity, the ability to create thoughts, stories to tell.
D: About crafts, for Moroso the combination of craftsmanship and industrial design has always been vital.
PM: For companies like ours, a virtuous relationship between industry and crafts is fundamental. There are phases of our production that can not be mechanized in any way, such as sewing, lining or finishing, and others in which the intervention of the machine has allowed to speed up some processes. An average Italian company as Moroso has the ability to operate freely, following its vision, even risking. If you are very big, it is the market that decides the rules, if you’re small you do not have the means to do important things, while a “nice” middle way is the best condition. The DNA of Italian design is in the combination of craftsmanship and evolved methodology. In our region there was the so-called “chair district”, until 20 years ago 80% of the chairs in Europe were produced in Friuli, unfortunately most companies did not make the jump, were not able to adopt a major company strategy. You need to have a contemporary structure, capable of understanding the evolution of the market, whilst maintaining a heart, that of manufacturing, a great treasure of Italy. We are among the world’s best in craftsmanship, it’s a tradition, losing this leadership would be a shame.
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