Design Authorial Exhibition Design According To HeyCrates
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Authorial Exhibition Design According To HeyCrates

Giorgia Massari
crates design |

It is not easy to hear about authorial staging; even among insiders it is not such a popular term. Perhaps the term authorial staging better explains the concept, but the fact remains that it is not such an entrenched practice, at least in the art and design world. The fashion industry, on the contrary, seems to have already grasped its potential, perhaps because in terms of budget it can afford it and, on the other hand, has a great need for a scenic effect for both shoots and runway shows. Of scenic runways we had already talked about it, dwelling on the work of the Bureau Betak studio, which makes the sets of the fashion shows of major fashion houses including Gucci, Bottega Veneta and Jacquemus, turning them into real shows with an artistic flavor.

In any case, any show – be it fashion, art or design – needs production or rather, very specific services that make it all possible. From transportation to packaging, from exhibition design to the actual set-up. But who is in charge of it? Who are these actors? It is not easy to identify well-defined realities that deal with these services from A to Z, although in recent years real brands – or design studios – are emerging that aim to meet these demands in toto, inserting themselves in a complex process, not only from a logistical point of view but bringing a real creative contribution with a solid aesthetic line. Their position behind the scenes makes it difficult to draw an identikit of them, which is why we asked Matteo De Nando, founder of HeyCrates, an emerging brand that represents one of the few Italian examples of authorial staging.

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We met HeyCrates during Milan Design Week, specifically at Lampo, Isola Design‘s new main hub. The exhibition that HeyCrates will present next week in the Scalo Farini location well represents the direction the brand has been taking in the last period, materializing as the starting point of an important second phase for the brand. Let’s find out more and delve behind the scenes of an exhibition.

Let’s start with the definition “authorial staging” or “author’s staging.” In recent years it is increasingly in demand by various industries, think fashion, but also design and art. In the past, the production aspect was reduced to a simple anonymous service. Why do we need a set-up today that is creative and has an established identity? What has changed in your opinion?

Matteo De Nando: HeyCrates was born in a sphere, that of art, that pivots precisely on authorship, which is often the result of a synergy of various professions, from the design of a work of art to its conservation, including its staging. What I have been able to observe firsthand is that this last decade is marked by an increasing number of ephemeral events dotting the calendar of all major cities. As a result, I think the demand for original design, as well as responsive and “bespoke” logistics, has grown in tandem.

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HeyCrates x L’Essenziale Studio vol. 05 – artwork by Jacopo Benassi – ph Matteo De Nando
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HeyCrates x Fondazione Stelline – Drifting Sides curated by Giacomo Zaza – ph Matteo De Nando

This is where your brand fits in. How did the idea for HeyCrates come about? What was your intuition? Do you think you fit in and subsequently filled a void that was missing especially in the art world?

Matteo De Nando: It can be said that HeyCrates was born out of both a strong need and a great curiosity and interest in the world behind the scenes. An interest that is also aesthetic with respect to the art system and its mechanisms, declined in a form that can enhance the designer as well as the craftsman.

When I think of exhibition design, the much-loved “white cube” model comes to mind even though it seems to have become obsolete in recent years. Do you think this is the reason for the success of authorial exhibition design in the art world as well? Do galleries, or spaces more generally, need “wow” effect set-ups to adapt to a new language influenced mainly by social media?

Matteo De Nando: Surely social media, configuring itself as an “archive of news,” relentlessly influences the way of storytelling to its audience. Authorial setting has always been linked to curating; it is time to enhance production as well.

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HeyCrates, family products picture 2024 | ph Michele Foti

Who are your ideal customers? What should you expect when you call HeyCrates?

Matteo De Nando: My favorite clients are those with whom we talk about design and not problem solving. HeyCrates likes to design!

In talking with you one word that resonates in my mind is hybrid. A term perhaps widely used to give a definition to something that is difficult to explain in a few words. This is because, in addition to production, HeyCrates develops in parallel its products made by Italian and non-Italian designers. I’m thinking in particular of the installation that you are presenting at Isola – Storages – explain more about what these are. Are they large-scale or limited edition products? Do they wink at collectible design?

Matteo De Nando: For Isola’s shop area, I thought it was appropriate to reintroduce the Storages living room designed by Federico Fontanella as it fully fulfills the function of the space by giving some more food for thought on the possibilities of packaging as furniture, furnishings. To date, we have a family of products that could be said to be first-generation, so they are definitely relatable to collectible despite pointing to a broader production.

How do you choose designers to collaborate with? Do they have to reflect your vision? Are they constant collaborators or do you prefer to rely on designers depending on the project?

Matteo De Nando: To date they have always been people with whom I spontaneously start dialogues, but they go beyond that. So I find myself providing input, and if that input is gathered and processed then we go.

We close with a question about the future. How do you envision HeyCrates in the near future?

Matteo De Nando: Like a 15th-century workshop

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ph Michele Foti
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HeyCrates x Mali weil | ph Matteo De Nando
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wood crate | ph Matteo De Nando

Courtesy HeyCrates
Cover: HeyCrates x Luertìs – furniture_ Mini by Riccardo Gianduzzo x HeyCrates_ph Cesare Lopopolo e Anna Vezzosi

Designexhibitionproduct design
Written by Giorgia Massari
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