Last but not least, the younger generation takes a bow: Chiara Andreatti’s Nina armchair for Arflex Japan, Marco Dessì’s Thonet 520 PF chair for Thonet, and Arthur Arbesser’s garments, a tip of the hat to artists Heinz Stangl and Koloman Moser.
“History can be a weight, a pedestal, and a bargaining chip,” says Sammicheli. “I wanted to present a catalogue of possibilities, to reveal the courage it takes to face up to the threat of nostalgia: for many designers, history is something to be shaken off, especially in Italy. Modern-day editions of works by past masters is a marketing invention we first saw in the late 1980s.”
As well as the exhibition at the Ridotto del Teatro Sociale in Como, the theme of measuring up to history is explored at other Lake Como Design Festival initiatives. For the first time, Palazzo Mantero, built in 1923 as a private residence for Mantero Seta founder Riccardo Mantero, before becoming the company’s long-standing headquarters, is being opened to the public to host Reeditions, a selection of seven companies (Alias, Amini, Azucena, FontanaArte, Ginori 1735, Molteni&C, and Somma 1867) that have delved back into their archives to re-edit pieces from the past; the walls are adorned with litho prints from Ettore Sottsass, Andrea Branzi, Enzo Cucchi, Michele De Lucchi, Ico Parisi, Alessandro Mendini, and Nathalie Du Pasquier.