Lake Como Design Festival: Everything You Need to Know

Lake Como Design Festival: Everything You Need to Know

Giorgia Massari · 6 months ago · Design

Naturalis Historia is the title of this year’s Lake Como Design Festival, now in its fifth edition. Opening last weekend and concluding on Sunday, September 24, this year’s Festival again offers a rich program of exhibitions and events, but we have selected four not to be missed.
For those who are not familiar with it, the Lake Como Design Festival is an initiative of Wonderlake Como that every year aims to organize exhibitions and moments of reflection within historical places of the city, with the goal of promoting and sharing the artistic and cultural heritage of the city through what is the most democratic language of all, design. In fact, we are not only talking about design but also about art. In fact, the exhibitions we will be proposing swing on the thin line that divides, and sometimes unites, design from art.

Villa Olmo, ph Robert Mawdsley

This year’s subject

As we anticipated, this year’s subject is Naturalis Historia. Rereading these two Latin words, they do not sound so new. They are in fact the work of Pliny the Elder, after whom, by the way, the square overlooked by the Palazzo del Broletto, our first stop, is named. The Lake Como Design Festival chooses to pay homage to and be inspired by the writer and naturalist who was born in Como precisely two thousand years ago. The Festival’s title refers to the first encyclopedia ever written that encompasses under the same container a veritable cataloging of the animal, human and botanical worlds, through medicine, mineralogy, metalworking and art history. What is surprising about Naturalis Historia is the incredible contemporaneity of the writings, with their lively and curious writing. Thus, stage by stage, this ancient writing accompanies visitors to discover works of art and design objects conceived from careful research into the natural world.

#1 Palazzo del Broletto, The Other Animals

We start from the cathedral square, going up to the beautiful hall of Palazzo del Broletto. On the upper floor is The Other Animals exhibition, which among all is the one that best renders the concept inherent in the Plinian encyclopedia. In particular, the exhibition focuses on the volumes devoted to Zoology. Curators Lorenzo Butti and Massimiliano Mondelli have selected sixty descriptions of animals, and for each of them they have chosen a work or design object to place in dialogue. Extremely contemporary creations find themselves communicating with such ancient writing that, paradoxically, appears very current. One example is the dialogue between Andreas Kowalewski‘s work Olifant with Pliny the Elder’s description in which we read, “The greatest among animals is the elephant, and it is also the closest to man’s sensibility: it understands the language of the place where it was born and obeys commands; it is capable of remembering exercises; it feels desire for love and glory.”
The variety of the selection is astounding, especially when one notices that alongside a piece by Ettore Sottsass one can find works by young and emerging artists such as Lucrezia Costa and Ilaria Cuccagna, who, by the way, have recently finished an exhibition at the nearby Ramo Gallery.

Olifant, Andreas Kowalewski, courtesy of Caussa – The Other Animals, Palazzo del Broletto – installation view, ph Robert Mawdsley
Lucrezia Costa, The Other Animals, Palazzo del Broletto – Installation View

#2 San Pietro in Atrio, Stories of Fabrics

The second stop is San Pietro in Atrio, which is a few hundred meters from the Palazzo del Broletto. Inside this magnificent location, which is open to the public on the occasion of the Festival, there is a selection of national and international designers working in textiles with a strong experimental bent. The exhibition, titled Stories of Fabrics, sees an evocative layout with special care devoted to lighting. Among the various designers, what strikes us is the installation by the duo Milla Novo, whose bright colors create a strong contrast with the darkness of the environment.

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Un post condiviso da Millaray Retamal Gamboa (@milla_novo_)

Stories of Fabrics, San Pietro in Atrio – installation view, ph Robert Mawdsley

#3 Villa Salazar, Contemporary Design Selection

Moving toward the lakefront we arrive at Villa Salazar, an 18th-century villa open to the public for the first time. Inside the magnificent rooms is housed the Contemporary Design Selection exhibition, curated by Giovanna Massoni in collaboration with Catawiki. The exhibition encompasses the work of thirty-five designers from different parts of the world, ranging from industrial design to site-specific installations and craftsmanship.

Contemporary Design Selection, Villa Salazar – installation view Jonathan Bocca – ph Robert Mawdsley

#4 Villa Olmo, Back to Nature

Our journey concludes at Villa Olmo with the Back to Nature exhibition. The event brings together designers, artists, publishers and galleries of modern and contemporary design. Various special projects take place in the different rooms of the villa, known as one of the main symbols of Como and one of the most famous historical residences in the area.

As soon as one crosses the entrance of Villa Olmo, one is confronted with Kris Rhus’s evocative floral installation The Second Song – Falling to Earth that leaves one breathless. Continuing through the various rooms of the villa we find, among others, the ETEL presentation by Brazilian architect and designer Oscar Niemeyer, the Ken Scott Archive’s exploration of the famous designer’s passion for botany through photographs and archival materials, and Grieder Contemporary gallery’s Mumo Forest exhibition featuring glass sculptures by Austrian artist Melli Ink. In the music room, the last one following the exhibition route, Movimento Club returns, which never fails in terms of staging and experimentation. With an exploration of unconventional perspectives on beauty and nature, The blue flower exhibition aims to be a rarity, like a blue flower – symbol of Romantic literature – emerging with wonder from the classic green landscape.

Back to Nature, Villa Olmo – installation view installazione floreale di Kris Rhus , ph Robert Mawdsley
Villa Olmo – Sala della Musica, Movimento Club Installation view
Back to Nature, Villa Olmo – installation view Mumo Forest di Melli Ink, ph Robert Mawdsley
Una collaborazione tra Draga & Aurel, Giuliano dell’Uva e Galleria Rossana Orlandi

Don’t miss the Lake Como Design Festival 2023 and other stops:
– Former Ursuline Convent San Carlo, Between Art and Nature
– White House, FENIX with the installation When Nature Blooms
– Ramo Gallery, De Curiositas
Find out all the others and more info at the dedicated website

Lake Como Design Festival: Everything You Need to Know
Lake Como Design Festival: Everything You Need to Know
Lake Como Design Festival: Everything You Need to Know
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Has food truly conquered us?

Has food truly conquered us?

Anna Frattini · 2 months ago · Photography

Over the past year, the internet seems to be obsessed with food culture, fueling a trend that is now evident even in the world of visual culture. From the Tomato Girl Summer, which many mock retrospectively, to the foodie fashion girlies, Balenciaga’s collaboration with Erewhon, and the massive success of The Bear. Food appears to be experiencing a rebirth, but in the worlds of art, photography, and design, it has always been present. Is this just a passing trend, or is it the glorification of an element that has always been part of our lives?

Un’illustrazione di Maisy Summer

From Tomato Girl Summer to the pomegranate

It was only in 2020, with lockdown recipes—does anyone remember Dalgona Coffe?—that so much talk about food emerged. On TikTok, @wishbonekitchen made us dream by showing us her life as a private chef in the Hamptons this summer. Unforgettable were her Heirloom Tomato Gallette and the garden where she harvested fruits, vegetables, and herbs. In 2023, it seems to have been the summer of food not only with the release of the second season of The Bear but also with Tomato Girl Summer. On the other hand, according to Danielle Cohen on The Cut, it now seems to be the time of the pomegranate.

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Un post condiviso da Cansu Porsuk Rossi (@cansupo)

Thanks to its shape and the vivid red that characterizes it, this fruit is widely recognized as a symbol of fertility in many parts of the world. But not only that, we find the pomegranate in mythology, art history, and, according to Cohen, even in the Torah. In short, fruits and vegetables seem to be largely protagonists of this rebirth, so we have collected some works and photographs by artists and photographers we have talked about in the past and more.

Browsing through our archives, we remembered Michael Crichton‘s photos and his photographic series, Conceptual Food, as well as Dan Bannino, who many years ago narrated the eating habits of the powerful. But there is also Stephanie Sarley, an artist who, with fruit fingering, challenged the way the art world has represented the female reproductive organ throughout its history.

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Un post condiviso da Stephanie Sarley (@stephanie_sarley)

Why it seems not to be just a passing trend

The success of food in visual culture can be attributed to its tangible communicative power. We see and experience the colors and textures of food daily, all evocative elements of memories that we have been collecting forever. In conclusion, we can only wonder which will be the next fruit to receive all this attention, already dedicated to tomatoes and pomegranates, even before avocados and bananas.

Has food truly conquered us?
Has food truly conquered us?
Has food truly conquered us?
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Michel Haddi beyond the fashion shots

Michel Haddi beyond the fashion shots

Anna Frattini · 2 months ago · Photography

29 ARTS IN PROGRESS recently showcased Michel Haddi: Beyond Fashion, a photographic exhibition dedicated to the Franco-Algerian photographer, marking his first solo exhibition in Milan. Starting from January 16, the second chapter of this exhibition opens, featuring unconventional shots infused with a street and urban soul. Additionally, there are elements of irony and sensuality that highlight Haddi’s complex personality.

michel haddi
© Michel Haddi – Debbie Harry, British Vogue, London, 1994 | Courtesy of 29 ARTS IN PROGRESS gallery

In this second chapter, nude shots and unpublished works by Michel Haddi are presented, stemming from advertising campaigns he personally captured. The displayed photographs capture the spirit of their time, thanks to influential figures such as John Galliano or Patsy Kensit, who have played pivotal roles in the realms of fashion, cinema, and music.

Michel Haddi has the ability to portray his subjects with both irony and depth, and each of his shots tells a unique story. His life, marked by a turbulent start, has nevertheless propelled him to become one of the leading fashion photographers from the 1990s to the present day.

Michel Haddi beyond the fashion shots
Michel Haddi beyond the fashion shots
Michel Haddi beyond the fashion shots
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Joel Meyerowitz is the master of color photography

Joel Meyerowitz is the master of color photography Contributors · 1 month ago · Photography

A few weeks ago, the Huxley-Parlour gallery in London announced the new exhibition by Joel Meyerowitz, which opened on January 17th. We couldn’t help but talk about him, the American photographer born in New York in 1938, famous for his street photography, and recognized as one of the pioneers of color photography. The London exhibition, titled “Dialogues,” highlights this aspect effectively. Pairs of photographs engage in a dialogue concerning light, color, and composition. The pairings are chosen to investigate the development of color in the artist’s work, set within non-hierarchical and unresolved compositions.

The exhibition in London

Meyerowitz’s imagery blends a distinctly American aesthetic with a meditative approach to color. Spanning from 1964 to 2011, the exhibition at Huxley-Parlour reveals Meyerowitz’s enduring interest in the sensory and evocative experiences of his surroundings. Paired with lesser-known images from the artist’s extensive archive, the exhibition features some of Meyerowitz’s most famous works, including his early street photography and images from his seminal series, Cape Light.

Joel Meyerowitz and the Color Revolution

Joel Meyerowitz is widely acknowledged as one of the first photographers, along with William Eggleston and Stephen Shore, to bring color photography from the periphery to the center of fine art photography. Historically, where black and white photography was considered a serious medium, color was widely viewed as technically inferior and aesthetically limited, relegated to advertising campaigns, television, and personal holiday photographs. In the London exhibition, it’s interesting to trace Meyerowitz’s shift from black and white to color. On display are works from “A Question of Color,” where Meyerowitz, carrying two cameras, paired black-and-white and color prints of nearly identical scenes.

Courtesy Joel Meyerowitz

Joel Meyerowitz is the master of color photography
Joel Meyerowitz is the master of color photography
Joel Meyerowitz is the master of color photography
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A photographic journey in Bangkok with Xiaomi

A photographic journey in Bangkok with Xiaomi

Giulia Guido · 1 month ago · Photography

Not even a week ago, Alessia Glaviano – Head of Global PhotoVogue – a guest on our Spigola podcast, reminded us that it no longer matters whether you shoot with a camera or a smartphone. What matters is the intention behind the shot, not the means. We pondered deeply on this statement, and although there was initially some skepticism, we concluded that to take a true stance on the matter, we had to try it ourselves: capturing moments solely with a smartphone, but with the same attitude we would have had with a professional camera. Xiaomi provided us with the opportunity and the means.

Almost by chance, Xiaomi presented us with a challenge: to visit a distant place and attempt to capture its uniqueness using the brand-new Redmi Note 13 Pro+ 5G. And so began our journey, short but very intense, in Bangkok.

All the promises of this new device – which, along with four others, forms the new Redmi Note 13 Series, further enriching the brand’s Redmi Note lineup – were substantial. Starting from the battery, rechargeable to 100% in just 19 minutes with a lasting capacity of days (not hours), and of course, the camera system consisting of 3 cameras, including a main 200 MP camera, an ultra-wide-angle camera, and a macro camera.

We decided to put Xiaomi to the test in every moment spent in the Thai capital. The first stop was at the Royal Palace and the Wat Pho temple, where the goal was to capture the colors of the mosaics and decorations.


Being one of the most touristy places in the city, we encountered many people who, like us, were fascinated by the architecture of these sacred places. The Redmi Note 13 Pro+ 5G came to our aid in this moment as well. The smartphone is equipped with AI-based editing tools that, among other things, allow us to remove people who accidentally end up in our shots. You know those photos you see on Instagram of tourist spots always empty? Now you can have them too, effortlessly!

But a city is not only visited during the day; often, it comes to life at night, illuminated by a myriad of different lights. In our case, the lights were those of the legendary tuk-tuks, indispensable in a trip to Bangkok. In this case, the challenge was formidable: darkness, colored lights, movement. All the ingredients for a challenging shot were present.


Not content with just the shot, we continued to play with AI tools and added a bit more movement, some stars, many stars.

When traveling, we know very well that we are not only captivated by architecture, landscape, and glimpses, but we also focus on the faces we encounter on the streets. However, we often don’t have much time to photograph them, sometimes because they move, other times because we are the ones on the move. That’s exactly what happened to us in the characteristic Thai markets, first and foremost the Floating Market.

Reviewing the photos on the return flight and at home with friends was like reliving the journey once again, leaving no detail behind.


In Bangkok, on the occasion of the launch of the new Redmi Note 13 Series, the brand also introduced the brand-new Redmi Watch 4 and Redmi Buds 5 Pro. Visit Xiaomi’s website to discover all the features of these devices.


Photos shot on Xiaomi Redmi Note 13 Pro+ 5G

A photographic journey in Bangkok with Xiaomi
A photographic journey in Bangkok with Xiaomi
A photographic journey in Bangkok with Xiaomi
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