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‘UNBOXING’ with Galleria Rossana Orlandi at NOMAD Capri 2024
UNBOXING is a blend of collectible design and contemporary art at NOMAD Capri 2024
Image: Courtesy of Galleria Rossana Orlandi

‘UNBOXING’ with Galleria Rossana Orlandi at NOMAD Capri 2024

Explore Galleria Rosanna Orlandi’s UNBOXING exhibition at NOMAD Capri this year, where each exhibited piece tells a story of craftsmanship and aesthetic harmony.

by Aarthi Mohan
Published on : Jul 05, 2024

The term 'unboxing' brings to mind the excitement of revealing new things, discovering hidden treasures and experiencing the unexpected. This idea encapsulates the spirit of Galleria Rossana Orlandi’s design exhibition at the summer edition of NOMAD, taking place from July 4 - 7, 2024, at the historic Certosa di San Giacomo in Capri, Italy. Named UNBOXING, this design showcase transforms the 14th-century monastery’s vault into a world where visitors can discover a curated selection of works that blend collectible design and contemporary art.

The art gallery’s collection showcases both emerging and established Italian designers, offering a rich tapestry of creativity and innovation. At the heart of the exhibition are the sardonic ceramics by Vanessa Semaino. Known for her collaborations with high-end brands such as Versace and Dolce & Gabbana, Semaino’s work is a fusion of her Sicilian heritage and fashion experience. Her ceramic sculptures of female Moorish heads are provocative and ironic, using a pop visual language to address contemporary social issues, exploring the seven deadly sins, for instance. These artworks, such as the Elsa Head and Franka Head, branded under Surolù, are entirely handmade and feature the 18th-century Calatino majolica decorations, reflecting the rich cultural history of Sicily.

Complementing Semaino’s ceramics are the mirrors from CELO1 studio, such as Glimpse and The Present, which are more than functional objects; they are pieces of art that play with perceptions and space. Glimpse captures a fleeting moment within a larger context, inspired by cosmic phenomena. The mirror is divided into two sections: one half is transparent glass, providing a clear view, while the other half reflects the surrounding environment. The Present consists of three areas: an outer ring of transparent glass, an inner, dark-shaded ring and a central mirrored glass. This arrangement creates the visual illusion of an opening in the wall, reflecting the image like a mirror and symbolising a 'white hole' in space-time; a region from which energy-matter can only exit.

UNBOXING also features metal seating by Tim Teven, whose work pushes the boundaries of material science. His seating designs result from experiments that deform metal through mechanical actions, creating pieces with unique textures and forms. These chairs and benches not only serve as functional furniture but also as sculptures that highlight the beauty of industrial processes. Each furniture design embodies a balance between technical skill and artistic expression, offering a new perspective on the possibilities of metal as a medium.

These pieces harmoniously interact with Alessandro Ciffo’s creations from his project, La Bürsch. Ciffo redefines the use of this versatile material in art and design, presenting a domestic landscape of monolithic elements that resemble alien marble set in large granite frames, all made from regenerated silicone. Named after an ancient term for a house in the designer’s native, the Deer Valley of Biella, he uses the substance to faithfully reproduce the appearance of syenite granite. Historically used in Milan’s pavements, this material is now reinterpreted to furnish contemporary homes, blending tradition with modern innovation.

Designer Nacho Carbonell’s sculptural vases add another layer of intrigue to the exhibition. Carbonell views objects as living organisms, creating pieces that surprise with their whimsical behaviour. His Fabric Vase 1 and 2, created for Salone del Mobile 2015, is an outdoor adaptation of an interior concept, made with Sunbrella fabrics. These pieces blur the line between function and art, inviting viewers to imagine them as living entities. His designs emphasise the importance of touch and interaction, making each piece a sensory experience that engages the viewer on multiple levels.

Lighting plays a crucial role in setting the exhibition’s atmosphere, with contributions from Mandalaki Studio and NEMO lighting. Mandalaki’s Halo Mini is a compact, portable light with an integrated dimmer, creating an intense play of colours. Its size and lightness make it easy to transport, adaptable to any environment and perfect for creating the right ambience wherever needed. NEMO’s spotlights offer high-performance, battery-powered accent lighting with Plint. Their innovative designs and miniaturisation make them highly flexible and capable of highlighting the finest details of each artwork in UNBOXING.

Jacopo Gonzato's intellectual and creative energy that integrates design, thought, material and technology features prominently in the showcase. Since 2012, with a dual degree in architecture from IUAV in Venice and Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, he embarked on free experiments that culminated in the Geometriedel Suono. His Sonic Dodecahedron is a 12-face geometric figure, one of Plato’s five platonic solids made of wood which transmits sound when vibrated. Another piece, the Cerchio Sonoro is a sculpture that resonates when placed on a pedestal equipped with technology to play music via Bluetooth, cable or Wi-Fi. The harmonic geometry allows the structure to interact with sound frequencies, creating a unique spatial sensory experience.

Each piece in UNBOXING has been selected for its ability to surprise and tell a story. Vanessa Semaino’s ceramic Moor’s heads, for instance, are displayed atop transport boxes, symbolising movement and temporality. This presentation invites visitors to engage with the ephemeral beauty of collectible design and art, seizing the moment to explore and appreciate the unexpected.

Rossana Orlandi is known for her keen eye for finding pieces that balance aesthetics and sustainability. She finds and supports young designers, helping them grow into renowned artists. Since opening her gallery in Milan in 2002, Orlandi has created a global landmark for cutting-edge design. UNBOXING at NOMAD Capri 2024 is all about finding the extraordinary in everyday items. This immersive experience encourages visitors to look beyond the surface and explore the stories and craftsmanship behind each piece, blending innovation, tradition and the many possibilities of artistic expression.

‘UNBOXING’ is on view from July 4 - 7, 2024, at the Certosa di San Giacomo in Capri, Italy.

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