Venice Design Week Chapter 3: Light, Art and Colors
This is our third chapter dedicated to Venice Design Week. If you missed our first two, you will find the links at the bottom of this page. This time we will discuss the second edition of Light Art and Colors.
Lights Art and Colours is a competition promoted by Venice Design Week, ADI Veneto’s Industrial Association and organized by Arte Design Venezia – Cultural Association in collaboration with Gioielli Nascosti di Venezia, (Hidden Jewels of Venice). It’s an international competition, and participants submitted their applications from Italy, the Netherlands, Iran, Singapore, China, India, Canada and the United States.
A LITTLE BIT OF BACKGROUND
Before looking at the competition, the winner and special mentions, I think it is important to learn some more subtleties that are necessary to understand the relationship Italians have with their history and our cities. And consequently the choice of the challenge for this competition.
As I often do when working on Venice Design Week, to understand the peculiarity of this festival, you have to understand the peculiarities of Venice.
Being extremely generic, I’d say in Italy we have a strong connection with our cities, and tend to identify with them. Milanese are in love with their city, Neapolitans are one thing with Naples and so forth. It’s comparable to student spirit towards their faculty, if that makes any sense.
But there are two cities in Italy, whose peculiar history is reason for a deeper affection. One does not exclude the other, of course, but the closer you get to any of these realities, the stronger you will perceive the bond inhabitants feel for them and their history. These two cities are: Rome and Venice. They have both been hearts of most glorious and dramatic moments of our history, Rome with its intimidating past and Venice being the heart and soul of a 1000+ years old majestic republic.
It’s necessary to keep in mind the unique relation between people and territory, when we talk about Venice: there is something absolutely metaphysical first in how we feel them as visitors, and above all how inhabitants of these cities live their surrounding and history. This permeates every interaction at all levels: personal, professional, interpersonal.
Venetians are mainly pragmatic people, generally hard working souls, with an inborn sense of aesthetic, and an incredibly pleasant self-esteem, given by the awareness of being the ones that have inherited this place, its charisma, its celebrated past and its unique scenario as a whole. This is for sure the charm of all cities with a rich cultural and economical history. It feels like the city itself anthropomorphised and passes its sense of self-worthiness and value straight into the individuals that inhabit it.
The identity of Venice is in 4D, id est, there is an extra dimension that is Venice, and Venice only. You can have an idea of it if you browse pictures of its cityscape, details and canals, but it permeates you only if you walk its streets.
VENICE AND A DIFFERENT AESTHETIC
The Republic of Venice was rich and prosperous, and had the opportunity to develop its own identity even artistically. Already at the end of the XVth century, Venice had a flourishing artistic reality. Music, art and architecture had a distinctive trait, and if you are even slightly familiar with visual arts, names like Tiziano, Giorgione, Bellini or Tintoretto are no strangers at all.
While back in that century the concept of Italian art was mainly mannerist, Venice became leader of a new style.
The evolution is (hear hear) in a new approach to light and color: the Venetian school evolved a new plasticity, which in paintings means the quality to expand and articulate through space using technical illusions: one for all, create the illusion of reliefs and different plans using the chiaroscuro.
In case you visit Venice, try to give active attention to how lights and colors work in the architecture of the city, as it is an active inspiration of the Venetian school.
Long story short: the Venetian school gives an extraordinary value to the sense of light and colors combined, considered the elements that together interact to create the magic of spaces, giving tri-dimensionality, depth and adding sensuality and poetry to shapes.
Elements required for a piece of art to integrate in the stream of the Venetian school as it developed, are:
- fusion and transparency as technical instruments;
- chromatic harmony (traditionally identified with the colors of the city in different times of the day as perceived along the lagoon, secularised in selective uses of color palettes);
- attention to harmony that reflects in luminosity, perspective, geometry and translates into meticulosity that seems effortless;
Here are some highlights from the city that might give you an idea of these elements combined: fusion, chromatic harmony in different moments of the day, luminosity and geometry:
LIGHT ART AND COLORS
Knowing that participating to a competition in Venice, you have to measure your work with these characteristic of this very peculiar place, and believe me there is not an inch of arrogance in this, more respectful dignity of an identity that means thousands of duties of high standards, let’s see the challenge for this competition.
This year the designers were asked to create lighting bodies and lighting systems, inspired by the particular light and art of design characteristic of the city of Venice, through the use of home automation systems and the IoT (Internet of Things).
A little digression again: Venice Design Week is a balanced compendium of tradition and modernity, new tech and environmental awareness. So to be eligible, it’s not enough to melt with the millennial style of the city: it has to be modern, essential, elegant, not seen yet, environmental friendly, timeless, IoT and while at, aesthetically pleasing.
Of all the competing projects, the jury selected three significant project that were exhibited at Sant’Eufemia Gallery. Of those three, the winner of the competition was Misirizzi by Marco Fiorentino.
MISIRIZZI by Marco Fiorentino
Born in Alassio, a delightful tourist-friendly city on the western Ligurian coast, class 1975, and graduated in architecture, Marco Fiorentino presented a design work made with a single sheet of aluminum: this is the body of the lamp that becomes a lampshade and at the same time a handle, to be carried and hung. Thanks to the semicircle base and a weight inserted inside it, Misirizzi always remains standing. It can be pushed, pulled and it always gets back to its original position.
Misirizzi light shows to be a versatile item that can be hung and used as atmosphere light, both indoors and outdoors. The base contains, in addition to the weight for balance, the electrical part and the LED bulb and the opal plexiglass diffuser.
Tow more pieces received a special mention and were selected for the exhibition. These are: Michele Dalmonte’s Rubaluce and Daryl Pong’s Nebula.
RUBALUCE by Michele Dalmonte
Rubaluce lamp has simple and clean lines, and it recalls in a subtle way some traditional components of Venetian history.
Having the curvy shape of waves and streams, it adds details that makes it customisable, as an example: the fabric panel can be transparent on both sides, or alternatively one of the two sides can be covered with damask fabrics or double thickness velvets, typical of the venetian tradition. The adjustable steel bar, looks like a music stand (reference to “La Fenice theatre”). Both are intentional choices, to emphasise the emotional component.
Nebula By Daryl Pong
Finally Nebula, inspired by how the play of light can be magical, is a light created by the combination of dichroic paper and light.
The author is a diver so it’s clear how the sea can be a source of inspiration for him. Nebula has the unique characteritc that it comes alive as time passes with an ever-changing light streaks. Created with a 3D printed front and a black plate, the lamp has a color changing led which can be controlled with a remote, dichroic paper and a clock mechanism running continuously.
Luckily, we have the opportunity, in this case, to have the designer’s interview for Venice Design Week, so you can hear first hand how the idea came to life, by listening to the video here below.
The jury for this competition was composed by:
- lighting designer Claudio Cervelli
- architect Marco Zito
- designer Carlo Trevisan
- director of MUDAM’s cultural program Anna Lopocaro
- Culture section coordinator from Gioielli Nascosti Laura Marcomin
For Venice Design Week chapter 4, get ready as we raise the bar and take you through the discovery of new advanced green tech design and the (close) future of mobility.
If by chance you missed chapter 1 and chapter 2 dedicated to Venice Design Week, her are the links:
Pictures of Venice by Flora MC ©
Pictures of Misirizzi, Rubaluce and Nebula are courtesy of Venice Design Week ©