Lake Como Design Festival: Everything You Need to Know

Lake Como Design Festival: Everything You Need to Know

Giorgia Massari · 4 days 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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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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A book with unpublished photos of 2Pac has just been released

A book with unpublished photos of 2Pac has just been released Contributors · 1 week ago · Photography

“Tupac The Legend” is a forty-page volume containing a unique collection of images taken by Michel Haddi during a photo shoot in 1993 with 2Pac. The book, signed and numbered out of 500 copies, was released on September 13th and also revisits some of the rapper’s thoughts. What sets this book apart is the inclusion of quotes from Tupac himself, providing a deeper understanding of the artist’s thoughts and personality. «I am thrilled to present this limited edition book: ‘Tupac The Legend,’ featuring many previously unreleased images,» enthusiastically declares Micheal Haddi.

Haddi’s personal connection with Tupac adds a special layer to the book’s narrative. During their encounter, Haddi was inspired to portray Tupac in attire reminiscent of Martin Luther King Jr., a vision the rapper decided to embrace, and the result of which is reflected in the book.

Micheal Haddi’s own story is fascinating as well, from a turbulent childhood in Paris to collaborations with iconic figures in the fashion industry. His story is as compelling as his photography. In conclusion, “Tupac The Legend” aims to be a heartfelt visual tribute to the legacy of Tupac Shakur. This limited edition coffee table book, with its unpublished images and personal anecdotes, promises to be a valuable addition to the collections of fans and portrait enthusiasts of the rapper.

“Beyond Fashion” is the solo exhibition that will open on October 19, 2023, and will run until March 16, 2024 in Milan, at the29 Arts in Progress Gallery Milan.

Ph. credits Michel Haddi courtesy of 29 Arts in Progress, Sarah Coldron

A book with unpublished photos of 2Pac has just been released
A book with unpublished photos of 2Pac has just been released
A book with unpublished photos of 2Pac has just been released
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Rhythmic and melancholic dance in Nanda Hagenaars’ shots

Rhythmic and melancholic dance in Nanda Hagenaars’ shots Contributors · 5 days ago · Photography

Life, like a river, flows with its own rhythm, carrying us on a journey filled with both tranquility and turbulence,” explains photographer Nanda Hagenaars. “In moments of calm, we are embraced by the gentle currents, as if floating effortlessly through the passage of time. It is during these moments that we find solace, and our spirits are uplifted by the serenity of the waters. However, calm waters can transform into turbulent torrents, unsettling our footing and leaving us questioning our purpose.”

With these words, Nanda Hagenaars (1988) provides us with a glimpse into her perspective on life, offering insights to understand her photographs. Hagenaars captures these ebb and flow of life through her lens. Her work can be described as poetic, intuitive, and emotional, driven by the desire to translate her feelings and emotions into images. The concept of time and timelessness has led Nanda to focus on black and white photography, a choice that adds depth and timelessness to her art.

Connection Skins

For Nanda, the camera is more than just a simple tool; it’s a symbol of transformation. It has helped her see life in new ways, much like looking through her lens has shown her fresh perspectives. She believes in using photography as a means to grow and discover herself. “It’s not always easy to see things differently, but I make an effort to do so,” she says. This philosophy is reflected in her practice. She doesn’t just see the water; she also sees its reflection. This way of seeing extends to everything she captures, always in search of new compositions, eager to unveil hidden beauty. Nanda plays with light and shadow, creating a dance that is both rhythmic and melancholic.

«Just as the river carves its path through the landscape, so do the challenges we face shape us. The trials and tribulations, the moments of uncertainty and doubt, they all contribute to our personal evolution. They teach us resilience, patience, and the art of adaptation. We learn that life’s true beauty lies not in the absence of obstacles but in our ability to overcome them. And as we continue along our journey, we learn to trust the flow of life, knowing that, just like the river, we are forever evolving, forever moving forward.»

In Nanda Hagenaars’ world, each photograph is a reflection of this philosophy. With her lens as a guide, she invites us to join her in exploring the intricate twists and turns of the river of life, finding meaning and beauty in every shot.

Nanda Hagenaars will present one of her shots at the Photography exhibition at the Matalon Foundation in Milan from Sept. 22-24, 2023.

Rhythmic and melancholic dance in Nanda Hagenaars’ shots
Rhythmic and melancholic dance in Nanda Hagenaars’ shots
Rhythmic and melancholic dance in Nanda Hagenaars’ shots
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Motherhood captured by Wendy Symons

Motherhood captured by Wendy Symons Contributors · 4 days ago · Photography

Wendy Symons, a self-taught Dutch photographer, embarks on a profound journey through her lens, capturing intimate moments of motherhood without any filter. Wendy Symons possesses a remarkable ability to perceive the beauty in everyday moments, those small and delicate details often overlooked by the frantic pace of life. Her photography is a heartfelt exploration of the human experience at every stage of life. However, it’s the early motherhood experience that holds a special place in Wendy’s heart. She approaches it with an honest and intimate lens, revealing the profound bond between a mother and her child.

Inspiration flows to Wendy directly from nature itself. The healing power of the natural world influences her work and often becomes the muse for her next shoot. Through her lens, Wendy finds solace and inspiration, effortlessly merging the worlds of art and motherhood. Wendy Symons’ style is a testament to authenticity and the raw essence of life. She relies exclusively on natural light to capture genuine moments in their full splendour. This choice infuses her work with a warmth and truthfulness that makes each photograph an unfiltered window into the lives she documents.

One of Wendy’s extraordinary projects is Art Mama, in which she merges her two worlds, the artistic and the maternal. In the midst of the pandemic, she embarked on this introspective journey, diving into her life as a mother and artist. Wendy’s photo diary paints an intimate portrait of her children and herself as they deal with the complexities of motherhood during turbulent times. Her images are a reminder that the journey of motherhood, although unpredictable and chaotic, is a shared experience that unites us all.

Wendy Symons will present one of her shots at the Photography exhibition at the Matalon Foundation in Milan from Sept. 22-24, 2023.
Courtesy Wendy Symons

Motherhood captured by Wendy Symons
Motherhood captured by Wendy Symons
Motherhood captured by Wendy Symons
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Valentina Sergi has a clear idea of what eternal love is

Valentina Sergi has a clear idea of what eternal love is Contributors · 3 days ago · Photography

Valentina Sergi (1997) is a fashion photographer with a passion for pastel colors, bold contrasts, and the vibrancy of images. Her professional work has led her to photograph a variety of subjects in exclusive locations, and her photographs have become a constant presence in many well-known fashion publications. However, what truly sets Valentina Sergi apart is her ability to craft an emotionally compelling narrative through the lens of her camera. Colors, the interplay of light and shadows, patterns, people’s hands, the warmth of an embrace, places steeped in nostalgia, and the hidden stories behind a wrinkle are all elements that Valentina Sergi seeks to capture in order to create a pure aesthetic composed of images that oscillate between the real and the surreal.

The A-Mors Series: A Deep Exploration of Love

One of Valentina Sergi’s most significant projects is the series titled A-Mors. This series delves into the theme of love in a profound and provocative manner. It revolves around genuine love, a love that has been eagerly anticipated, yet so strong that it overcomes the fragility of a tender heart. The intriguing wordplay in the title, where “A-Mors” appears to derive from the Latin “a-mors” (without death), underscores the eternity of this sentiment. In this series, Valentina Sergi explores the concept of an eternal love that transcends temporal boundaries. Her photographs capture moments of passion and affection, while simultaneously evoking a sense of transcendence.

Sergi’s works are emotional and surreal, with a strong conceptual underpinning. Valentina understands that photography is not merely the recording of an objective reality, but rather the presentation of stories, concepts, and worlds as she perceives them through her personal experiences, culture, and sensibilities.

Her connection between cinema and photography is evident, and this cross-pollination of the arts allows her to bring innovation to her work. The photographer leaves us with a famous quote by Vincent Peters, who states, “A photograph is not just made with a camera; it is brought to the act of photography with all the pictures you have seen, the books you have read, the music you have heard, the people you have loved.

Valentina Sergi will present one of her shots at the Photography exhibition at the Matalon Foundation in Milan from Sept. 22-24, 2023.
Courtesy Valentina Sergi

Valentina Sergi has a clear idea of what eternal love is
Valentina Sergi has a clear idea of what eternal love is
Valentina Sergi has a clear idea of what eternal love is
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