Homo Faber. Crafting a more human future is a new international exhibition celebrating the importance of exquisite craftsmanship. Organized by the Michelangelo Foundation for Creativity and Craftsmanship, it will officially open on 14 September 2018 at the Fondazione Giorgio Cini, on the island of San Giorgio Maggiore, Venice. The show, which will run until 30 September 2018, will take visitors on a unique journey through the rich, varied creativity and craftsmanship of the finest contemporary and traditional designers and artisans in Europe today. The exhibition spreads across 16 themes that showcase a range of artisan materials, techniques and spirit while also offering the chance to explore parts of the Fondazione Cini that are not normally open to the public. Stefano Boeri Architetti is the brains behind the staging for the Best of Europe show, curated by antiquarian, gallery owner, sculptor and glass expert Jean Blanchaert, in the Fondazione Cini’s Sala degli Arazzi. This prestigious venue, which covers an area of 500 square metres and stands 12 metres tall, will play host to the works selected by Jean Blanchaert from all over Europe that represent the very best of artisan design and that pair technique with creative flair to bridge the almost imperceptible divide between craftsmanship and art.
“In one large space we had to accommodate hundreds of objects of different sizes: from a very small sculpture, 2 centimeters in diameter, to a fantastic flower three meters high. The challenge was to design an installation that was perceived as an unicum, a fluid and immersive space. So we decided to use different parallel exhibition planes at different heights, capable of accommodating the objects in different depths.” Stefano Boeri
“We have had to exhibit hundreds of objects of different sizes in this unique space, from very small sculptures measuring just two centimetres across to a fantastic three meters-high flower. The challenge was to design the space to appear as a whole, moving seamlessly from one exhibit to another and immersing visitors in the experience. This is why we have set the shelving parallel and at different heights: to showcase the products at a range of depths,” explains Stefano Boeri, who came up with the design for the Sala degli Arazzi exhibition space together with Milan-based architects Giorgio Donà, Jacopo Abbate, Maddalena Maraffi, Esteban Marquez, Martina Mitrovic and Chiara Tomasin. “The room’s layout has been designed to be a box within a box through which the exhibition snakes like a ribbon, giving visitors an aesthetic experience that they are free to explore in their own time,” says Giorgio Donà. The shelving is made from MDF sheets painted various shades of grey, with the darkest at the bottom and the lightest highest up to give the impression that the objects are rippling like a wave.
The shelves come in seven heights ranging from 15 centimetres to 105 centimetres high and are each 15 centimetres apart. The first three levels are all the same size while those at 45 centimetres and above have been offset to increase the depth of the display – which varies between 40 centimetres and 120 centimetres – and suggest a certain link between the objects despite their different display heights. Stefano Boeri Architetti’s design for the exhibition is not just a way of arranging the Sala degli Arazzi, but a way of highlighting the creative process and craftsmanship that went into forming such unique objects. “As an architect and as president of La Triennale di Milano, I am certain that this exhibition will give new impetus to the world of design and focus international attention on the relevance of craftsmanship to our world,” says Boeri. Homo Faber. Crafting a more human future is being run by the Michelangelo Foundation in collaboration with the Fondazione Cologni dei Mestieri d’Arte, the Fondation Bettencourt Schueller, the Fondazione Giorgio Cini and La Triennale Design Museum.