Italian design shown as artworks for the first I-MADE exhibition at Saatchi Gallery

Italian design shown as artworks for the first I-MADE exhibition at Saatchi Gallery

Opening today as part of London Design Festival, I-MADE, curated by Giulio Cappellini, showcases the finest in Italian manufactured design

At London Design Festival this year, Italian design heavyweights have set their crosshairs on Chelsea. From the 19-22 September, the best, brightest and biggest producers of the Bel Paese will receive the white cube treatment care of the Saatchi Gallery. Curated by Giulio Cappellini (of the eponymous brand), I-MADE, the Italian Manufacture Art & Design Exhibition, will feature 50 of Italy’s finest furniture makers.

‘The idea was to differentiate I-MADE from other trade shows by presenting the products as works of art, highlighting great craftsmanship,’ explains Cappellini of the concept behind the fair and the choice of Saatchi Gallery as a location, ‘the prestigious gallery provided the perfect setting for such a presentation.’

Casting a wide net across the industry, Cappellini seems to have covered all his bases: ‘The selection of pieces on display, which exhibitors were given the freedom to choose, includes a mix of industrial or highly-artisanal, small and large products,’ he says of the curation, which includes top-notch manufacturers such as Poltrona Frau, Living Divani, Molteni & C, Cassina, Poliform and Flexform.

Molteni Gio Ponti
Amura ottoman
Above, D.153.1, by Gio Ponti, for Molteni & C. Below, Panis ottoman, by Amura

Lighting will be well-represented by the likes of Driade and Martinelli Luce and there will even be representatives as far across the board as Fiorano-based ceramics manufacturer Florim and exercise equipment trailblazers Technogym. ‘Visitors can expect to see products characterised by quality materials and innovation as well as objects from both past and present,’ he adds.

Indeed, I-MADE’s satellite project, ‘Take a Seat’, will showcase a prime slice of history. ‘I have selected iconic chairs which are recognisable to everyone,’ explains Capellini of the show. ‘There are works by Gio Ponti, Aldo Rossi, Marco Zanuso and Alessandro Mendini. These are complemented by more recent pieces by Antonio Citterio, Philippe Starck, Piero Lissoni, Patricia Urquiola, Jean Marie Massaud, Jaime Hayon, Jasper Morrison and Doshi Levien. It’s a testament to the diversity of materials mastered by the Italian industry with seats made of wood, metal, fabric, leather and plastic.’

Above, Concrete by Florim. Below, Elica lamp, by Brian Siron, for Martinelli Luce

Over the weekend, a series of talks will host some of the leading figures in Italian design. Cassina art director and design Patricia Urquiola, Moroso creative director Patrizia Moroso, Molteni’s Giulia Molteni and and Boffi|De Padova CEO Roberto Gavazzi will convene to discuss the proverbial nuts and bolts of their shared industry.

‘When the organisers of I-MADE asked me to curate this fair, it was already clear to me that their intent was to present a selection of the best that Italy has to offer in terms of design and manufacturing,’ Cappellini continues. ‘The London Design Festival seemed like the perfect platform. I embraced the idea of an event that I believe has the potential to grow into an important annual appointment for connoisseurs and the general public and give them a platform where they can gather to admire the top brands from every corner of Italy. It’s an absolute novelty in this context.’ §

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