A series of encounters, installations and events scattered in the city of Como and the surrounding territory, to rediscover historic, unusual or forgotten locations. Now at its 5th iteration, the Lake Como Design Festival starts with this context to develop cultural themes capable of generating an original dialogue between history, architecture, design and art. Also extending into exploration of unconventional worlds.
Naturalis Historia, the title of this year’s event (from 16 to 24 September), fits perfectly into this line of thinking, borrowing the name of a work by Pliny the Elder, who was born in Como in 23 AD. The year of celebrations for the bimillennium of the naturalist and author becomes an opportunity to emphasize the multidisciplinary approach of the festival. And more specifically the close relationship between the arts and nature, investigating the animal and vegetable world.
“The program of the Lake Como Design Festival, ever since its first edition, is always variegated and versatile,” says Lorenzo Butti, creator and artistic director of the event. “Design is not the only creative expression to which we make reference; in fact, one of our goals is to examine the themes that guide the festival each year through the widest range of different artistic approaches.”
Two exhibitions in the city center, in collaboration with Arte Applicata, set the stage in greater depth. Between Art and Nature. Photographs from the collection of Fondazione Sozzani, curated by Maddalena Scarzella, looks at nature from the viewpoint of some of the greatest photographers. In the former Convento Orsoline San Carlo, open to the public for the first time, 80 shots by 20 photographers, taken from the permanent collection of Fondazione Sozzani in Milan, formulate a wide-ranging tribute to flora and fauna.
From the impeccable still lifes of Kenro Izu (1949) and Tom Baril (1952) to the idyllic worlds of Annelies Štrba (1947), and from the painstaking ethnographic documentation of Edward Sheriff Curtis (1868-1952) to the flocks of birds of Masahisa Fukase (1934-2012).
Instead, The Other Animals offers a focus on zoology in art and design. Held at Palazzo del Broletto and curated by Lorenzo Butti and Massimiliano Mondelli, president of Accademia Pliniana, in collaboration with a board of selectors from different fields, the exhibition pays homage to the innate fascination of human beings with “the variety and interplay of Nature.” The artists include Andrea Branzi, Mario De Biasi, Michele De Lucchi, Aldo Londi, Formafantasma, Enzo Mari, Steve McCurry, Ico Parisi, Ettore Sottsass.
The various appointments of the festival also include Back to Nature at Villa Olmo, a selection of works, projects, objects and décor complements inspired by nature; and Contemporary Design Selection, at Villa Salazar, an open call for independent designers, makers of editions and galleries, conducted in collaboration with Catawiki and curated by Giovanna Massoni. There will also be a cycle of evening talks coordinated by Armando Besio. See the complete program at lakecomodesignfestival.com