A new exhibition at Fondazione Achille Castiglioni focuses on an unusual aspect shared by all the objects on view in the museum: “the viewpoint of the object transformed into a point of con-tact,” says its curator Marco Marzini.
The result is the exhibition “Fa ballà i man: the design of the Castiglioni brothers, seen with the hands,” which takes a wink in its title at the famous Lombard expression “Fa ballà l’oeucc”, i.e. “make the eye dance,” meaning “watch out.” In this case, however, the dance is done by the hands as they touch, grasp, press, turn, gestures the Castiglioni brothers always considered when creating their works.
“Objects should keep you company, Achille said, clearly summing up the humanization of the inanimate things that have to become ‘familiar’ extensions of the human hand – Marco Marzini continues. – So on objects there sprout up handles, knobs, turning sleeves, parts included to facilitate the grip. These objects reach out to the user, they are there to be used, consumed, to exist in our life. I have invented an alphabet of gestures, found in the 42 projects on view, where the hand becomes an accomplice of the design: in many cases, the results of innovative and surprising.”
The show examines objects from a different viewpoint, depending on the slowness of the gesture of the hand as it investigates the object in a way that is not aesthetic but functional, fulfilling the intended purpose. The exhibition, open until 13 February 2024, is set up inside the spaces of the foundation, at Piazza Castello 27 in Milan, which contained the studio of Achille and Pier Giacomo Castiglioni, beginning in 1962. The foundation, however, has been notified that its lease will be terminated, evicting the institution from this historic spaces.
Since the death of Achille Castiglioni in 2002, his children Carlo and Giovanna have opened these rooms to the public, transforming them into a museum where visitors can discover a fundamental chapter of the history of Italian design. The value of this initiative is clear, since over the last 20 years the foundation has welcomed over 80,000 visitors.
“We are in contact with the institutions, drawing the need for a solution to their attention – say Carlo and Giovanna Castiglioni. – Many of the visitors and friends of Fondazione Achille Castiglioni have pledged their support and assistance, so perhaps the time has come for a great collective effort, involving many people and various specific forms of expertise, to give a new life to Fondazione Achille Castiglioni, either in its original location or in a new structure that remains to be defined.” The Foundation has also launched an online petition to sign.
Photo © F.Ambrosi, M.Marzini