Delta is a collaboration between the Roman Design Gallery Giustini / Stagetti1 Roma and Formafantasma. The project is curated by Domitilla Dardi, senior curator at Maxxi in Roma.
The delta of a river is a landform that forms from deposition of debris carried by water over millennia. More than referring directly to river Tevere which is the primary watercourse of Rome, the title of the collection expresses the characteristic mix of architectural styles of the city that as sediments have layered over the centuries. As often in their work, the studio found knowledge in the past: almost as in a study-trip to the city, Formafantasma visited the numerous Roman archaeological venues and museums and accumulated a large number of photos and documents that over the year-long process to design the collection have become the foundation of their work. During this time a precise selection of materials emerged made of marbles, metals, porcelain and wood and the collection is composed by a large number of lights, some vessels an oil lantern, a cabinet and a mirror.
The designers have been particularly attracted by very mundane objects of the Imperial Rome. While some artefacts shown in the museums have served as inspiration, others have been directly sampled and carefully updated for contemporary use. In the case of the porcelain pieces, for instance, the designers decided to change as little as possible in the forms, and even the chosen colours are a very clear reference to the history of Roman pottery.
In contrast to contemporary fashion, red was used for almost 500 years and black for the other 500. The only addition to the very sober pallet is a subtle off-white colour. Differently, the lights are in most cases pairing travertine stone with brass. In one of the pieces, a thin LED lighting disc is hanged in front of another one in stone, formally recalling the central opening in the Pantheon ceiling while the light reflected on the travertine recreates the very peculiar feeling of the sun illuminating Roman buildings. The Helmet light, a composition of curved brass pieces placed on an electrified plate, is designed in such a way to remove the switch and transform the action of activating the light in a gesture: via turning the top wings in different positions, the light goes either on or off.
While working on the project, the rigorous beauty of the ruins that survived over the centuries stripped down of almost any decoration and the functional perfection of the utilitarian objects conserved in the museums appeared to the designers as extremely contemporary and naturally connected in the design attitude to some of the twentieth-century rational architecture built in Rome. Because of this especially in the cabinet, the gridded wood containers mounted on the travertine structure recalls both the marble benches on the terrace of the ‘Palace of Congress’ by Adalberto Libera and Luigi Moretti’s SGI building at the EUR area in Rome. Delta as a collection result as a coherent body of work that more than delivering a portrait of a city, it uses design to draw unexpected links between historical periods in search for timelessness.
Notes, References and External Links
1. FF x Giustini / Stagetti . Giustini / Stagetti was founded in Rome in 2009 by Roberto Giustini and Stefano Stagetti. The gallery specializes in both twentieth century Italian design and in International contemporary design.
CONCEPT, DESIGN Andrea Trimarchi, Simone Farresin CURATOR Domitilla Dardi
DEVELOPMENT Daniele Misso, Francesco Zorzi, Nicolas Veschaeve, Jeroen Van Der Gruiter PRODUCTION Giustini / Stagetti Roma, Fonderia Artistica Battaglia, Werkstätte Carl Auböck PHOTO CREDITS Giuseppe Brancato
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