In Milan there is an unusual, fascinating exhibition space created in the 19th-century structure of Porta Nuova, one of the six gateways to the city along the circle of the Spanish Walls, which have been demolished.
Caselli 11-12 (Piazzale Principessa Clotilde) is located inside what were once customs offices, carefully restored by Oltrefrontiera Progetti, a design and architecture firm operating in the retail and visual sectors, of which the gallery – though that is a limiting term, in this case – is an extension.
The site is now hosting Makers 1, an exhibition (until 15/01/2023, open by appointment) on the relationship between designers and two specific materials: metal and wood. “Our starting point was precisely the direct contact between designers and matter,” says Veronica Gisondi, co-curator of the show. “We are interested in approaching people who push the conventions of what can be considered a piece of furniture or an artistic project. A sensibility that goes beyond product design in the strict sense of the term.”
Makers 1, the introduction says, “shortens the distances between thought and the creation of objects.” The pieces on display are a hybrid of find crafts, artistic practices and industrial culture: like, for example, the wood inlays – also using salvaged materials – by Lewis Kemmenoe or Jan Hendzel, which reinterpret an age-old tradition from a new perspective. The results are remarkable, on an aesthetic level and in terms of workmanship.
The selection covers the works of 29 studios or individuals, many of whom are making their debut in Italy. The choice has followed “connections, paths that intersect – also on Instagram, why not? We wanted to create an interaction of different approaches, experiences and perspectives,” Gisondi continues. Makers 1 is the first episode of a series: at the moment, more exhibitions focusing on specific materials are underway.