What happens when a 'general' designer works on jewellery design? Do you end up with a different or innovative product? Maybe we will find out at the Triennale Design Museum in Milan, where there's an exhibit on from July 2 to September 8, 2013, about jewellery by Italian designers, curated by Alba Cappellieri (professor of Jewellery Design at the Politecnico di Milano) and Marco Romanelli (designer and critic).

Alessandro Mendini, Spiritello, 2013, argento

The exhibit is a history of italian design through jewels, in which there are many famous names of designers who are used to working in all fields, from furniture to lighting, from 1950 to today. There are also 18 new items designed upon invitation for the exhibit, all by designers born in Italy and purposefully from different generations. Curator Romanelli explains his choice:

The exhibit with an 'invite to design' was a necessary way to force our way out of a situation of inertia and stereotype as well as to get a picture of the situation in this field right now. Now, as in the past, the two worlds of design and jewellery remain separate and don't consider each other very much. By inviting designers rather than having an open call, we were able to set up certain limits: we wanted to look into a very specific aspect of the situation. So we decided to choose 18 designers who respond to these precise conditions: be italian, belong to different generations, be working as all-round designers. The first two conditions are pretty clear, while the last has the consequence of excluding specialist jewellery designers. It's nothing personal against these professionals, but I think that it is a typically Italian approach to be able to apply ones self to a project on any scale, it's a historical skill and one that is still very relevant.

We find it very interesting to observe these designers working in a field dominated by specialists, since we see parallels to the world of makers. Both in this exhibit and in the world of makers, there are people who are not specialists but who find themselves looking for physical solutions to carry out a creative idea, often with innovative techniques thanks to the technological or design challenges that arise. We were, however, surprised and perhaps a bit disappointed to see that even the new objects displayed at this exhibit tend to be made with the traditional materials of the jeweler: precious metals and stones, enamel, occasionally base metals or paper. Only the projects by Gumdesign (2011) are in polyamide and PVC, without taking into consideration the fun items by ivdesign.it made of vegetables. We would have liked to see some 3D-printed jewelry, which offers shapes that cannot be executed in other materials. Rather, there is innovation in the shapes and forms proposed, even if there is limitation in the use of jewellery - in the end it has to be somehow worn on the body, and that is the challenge that the designer must face.

Exhibit info:

2 July - 8 September 2013
Triennale Design Museum
Viale Alemagna, 6, Milan, Italy


Leave a reply