The Michelangelo Foundation for Creativity and Craftsmanship, a Swiss-based entity dedicated to promoting fine craftsmanship at an international level, will present the first major cultural exhibition dedicated to European craftsmanship next September in Venice.
Isle of San Giorgio Maggiore home to the Fondazione Giorgio Cini, Venice, Italy
The Foundation, set up to revitalise fine craftsmanship and launch a cultural movement advancing the values embedded in this sector, works collaboratively in a variety of ways to promote, preserve and perpetuate craftsmanship at the highest levels. As its name suggests, it also bridges the worlds of design and of craftsmanship in order to ensure the future economic viability of the latter.
José Luis Bazán with handmade leather bowl
September 2018 will see the Michelangelo Foundation’s unprecedented celebration of European craftsmanship showcased across the range of beautiful and surprising spaces that comprise the Fondazione Giorgio Cini, an international cultural centre which lays claim to most of the island of San Giorgio Maggiore in Venice.
Franco Cologni and Johann Rupert, Co-Founders of The Michelangelo Foundation for Creativity and Craftsmanship
Homo Faber will adorn the Fondazione Giorgio Cini’s many varied spaces, including a number of historically and architecturally significant buildings, and will fill its galleries, libraries, cloisters and even its swimming pool with exquisite pieces, innovative installations and artisans creating work on site in full view. Taking up nearly 4,000 square metres, this exhibition will be the largest ever held at the Fondazione Giorgio Cini and will offer the public the opportunity to explore a range of spaces not generally open to them.
Dei Buora Cloister, Fondazione Giorgio Cini, Venice, Italy
Created by a hand-picked team of world-class designers, curators and architects, Homo Faber aims to put the finest artisans of Europe on centre stage while providing a unique and memorable experience for visitors. The Homo Faber team, which includes names such as Michele de Lucchi, Stefano Boeri, India Mahdavi, Judith Clark, Jean Blanchaert and Stefano Micelli, has come together to imbue the exhibit with untold imagination and energy. Also collaborating with the Michelangelo Foundation on this undertaking are partner organizations that share its vision including: the Fondation Bettencourt Schueller, the Triennale Design Museum, and the Cologni Foundation for the Métiers d’Art.
Palladiano Cloister, Fondazione Giorgio Cini, Venice, Italy
A huge range of materials and disciplines will be represented, from jewellery to bespoke bicycles, from skills on the brink of being lost to some of the most sought after icons associated with European style.
Longhena Library, Fondazione Giorgio Cini, Venice, Italy
Cenacolo Palladiano, Fondazione Giorgio Cini, Venice, Italy
Homo Faber is fuelled by an ardent belief in the power and value of real human engagement. As such, the exhibition is intended as an immersive experience – visitors will be able to speak to artisans, virtually enter the ateliers of the masters, observe conservators at work and truly immerse themselves in the world of fine craftsmanship, a world that relies on connection: connecting the hand, head and heart to create authentic works of lasting value.
“We chose Venice for this exhibition not only because it is a bastion of culture and a place of unequalled beauty,”Franco Cologni, Co-founder of the Michelangelo Foundation explains, “ but also because Venice is today and has always been a European hub for exchange and connection internationally.” HScheduled to overlap with Venice’s acclaimed Biennale of Architecture, Homo Faber will be an important complementary offering for the world’s tastemakers and influencers.
José Luis Bazán, Master leather craftsman, Benaocaz, Andalucia, Spain
“Homo Faber is an expression that was first coined during the Renaissance and it captures and celebrates the infinite creativity of human beings,”Johann Rupert, Co-founder of the Michelangelo Foundation, says. “The exhibit will provide a panoramic view of European fine craftsmanship but it will nevertheless have a singular undercurrent: what human beings can do better than machines.”
About The Michelangelo Foundation for Creativity and Craftsmanship
The Michelangelo Foundation for Creativity and Craftsmanship is an international, non-profit institution based in Geneva, Switzerland, which celebrates and preserves master craftsmanship and strengthens its connection to the world of design. Rooted in a tradition of culture and excellence and in the realities and challenges of today’s global economy, the Foundation seeks to support men and women who dedicate themselves to the pursuit of master craftsmanship and to foster a new cultural movement built around the values that are essential for their work. The Foundation focuses on Europe as a starting point for its activities, in recognition that craftsmanship has been a vital part of the economic and cultural fabric of the region for centuries, providing both a rich heritage and a competitive advantage in a global world.
The Michelangelo Foundation proudly presents Homo Faber Crafting a more human future
Sophie Beale, Master milliner, London, United Kingdom
An unprecedented, spectacular celebration of the very best in European craftsmanship.
From 14 to 30 September 2018 at the Fondazione Giorgio Cini on San Giorgio Maggiore Island inVenice, Italy.
Homo Faber, the first major cultural exhibition dedicated to European craftsmanship, aims to put fine craftsmanship on the global map and increase recognition and visibility for master artisans.
The exhibition will bring together a vast range of materials and disciplines, from jewellery to bespoke bicycles, from the rarest artisanal techniques to some of the most iconic examples of the finest European workmanship.
Artisans will be present throughout the exhibition, giving visitors the opportunity to observe first-hand their skilled work in real time.
Created by a hand-picked team of world-class designers, curators and architects, the exhibition stretches over a number of magnificent spaces throughout the Fondazione Giorgio Cini.
Covering some 4,000 square metres of space, Homo Faber will be the largest exhibition ever to be held at Fondazione Giorgio Cini.
Scheduled to overlap with Venice’s acclaimed Biennale of Architecture, the exhibition will be an important complementary offering for international tastemakers and influencers.
The Michelangelo Foundation for Creativity and Craftsmanship is an international, non-profit institution based in Geneva, Switzerland that celebrates and preserves master craftsmanship and strengthens its connection to the world of design.
The Homo Faber experience
As visitors make their way through Homo Faber they will encounter new works, see artisans creating in real time and have the opportunity to immerse themselves in the vision of some of Europe’s most celebrated designers, architects and curators.
Alessandro Rametta and Andrea Capriotti, Master metalworkers of La Fucina di Efesto, Milan, Italy
“We are thrilled to announce the participation of these outstanding professionals who have accepted to join us in the creation of Homo Faber,” Alberto Cavalli, the Michelangelo Foundation’s Executive Director for Culture and Craftsmanship, says. “Their involvement is a tribute to master artisans everywhere. Although the masters so often go unrecognised, they are actually a cornerstone and a true source of inspiration for so many designers, architects and curators.”
A number of distinct environments will come together to create the Homo Faber experience, each one conceived for a specific space within the Fondazione Giorgio Cini. Here are some highlights of a journey through the exhibition:
Exclusively Created for Homo Faber – Il Cenacolo Palladiano Curated and designed by Michele De Lucchi, Palladio’s magnificent hall will play host to a series of specially-commissioned works created by pairing designers with artisans. Nine European designers selected by De Lucchi are collaborating with master craftsmen to produce original pieces, each one an interpretation of traditional skills through contemporary forms. Marquetry, mosaic, woodwork, and blown glass will be just some of the beauty on display.
Michele De Lucchi has designed furniture and lighting for Artemide, Alias, Unifor, Hermès, Alessi and Olivetti and many others. A prominent figure in movements like Cavart, Alchimia and Memphis, he also developed experimental projects for Philips, Siemens and Vitra. De Lucchi’s architectural work spans new buildings and restorations in Japan, Germany, Switzerland, Georgia and Italy. In 1990 he founded Produzione Privata, a small-scale company through which he creates products using artisanal techniques.
Revealing l’Intelligence de la main - Sala Del Chiostro dei Cipressi Visitors will discover the story of the Liliane Bettencourt Prize pour l’intelligence de la main and its many talented recipients. In less than 20 years, this prize awarded by the Bettencourt Schueller Foundation has established itself as an international hallmark and the ultimate accolade for France’s globally-celebrated “artisans d’art” who display exceptional savoir-faire. Now presented to more than 100 laureates, this visionary award’s history is told through the exceptional skill of curator Alain Lardet.
Alain Lardet has served as Associate Director of Danese and Directer of Poltrona Frau, and is co-founder of Designer’s Days in Paris. Now a consultant and curator, he continues to collaborate with companies and institutions to promote design and métiers d’art. The space is designed by Ramy Fischler, architect and scenograph, who has an eclectic creative practice. Among others, he designed the installations Heterotopia, for AD interior and Panorama 16 – Solus Locus Le Fresnoy at Tourcoing.
Tools from the workshop of Marc-Jens Biegel, Master jeweler, Frankfurt, Germany
A glimpse in to the workshops of Venice and the Veneto Region - Chiostro dei Cipressi Susanna Pozzoli’s specially-commissioned artistic photographs of local and regional artisans at work will be on display in this peaceful, contemplative space. Evoking the atmosphere of the atelier and pulling the visitor into the world of the workshops tucked away in Venice and the Veneto region, the images will come to life on large textile hangings placed at intervals around the Renaissance cloister designed by Giovanni and Andrea Buora.
Susanna Pozzoli studied photography in Paris and worked as an assistant for several renowned photographers. Her photography and multimedia work has been presented in numerous exhibitions in Italy and abroad, including her acclaimed project documenting master artisans in Korea. UNVEILING MASTERIES. Handmade Excellence in Venice and the Veneto Region is curated by Denis Curti, Artistic Director of Civita Tre Venezie and of the House of THREE OCIs in Venice. Previously Artistic Director of the Italian Foundation for Photography and the International Biennial of Photography of Turin, Curti writes about photography for Corriere della Sera and curated Sotheby’s first photographic auctions in Milan.
Ludovic Avenel, Master woodworker, Paris, France
Discovery of Rare Métiers - Sala delle Fotografie A surprising virtual and augmented reality experience uses the most modern of technologies to gain a new insight in to some of Europe’s oldest skills. VR will bring visitors in to the small corners of workshops that are usually hidden – allowing them to see rare objcts in the process of their creation. Here they will witness amazing skills which are practiced with passion by a small number of artisans whose work can be likened to precious gems: difficult to find and of immeasurable value.
The experience is curated by Alberto Cavalli, director of the Cologni Foundation for the Métiers d’Art and the Michelangelo Foundation’s Executive Director for Culture and Craftsmanship. A researcher and journalist, he lectures at Milan’s Politecnico University and is visiting professor at the Creative Academy. Cavalli also works with the centre du luxe et de la création in Paris.
Constantin Laan, Master woodworker, Paris, France
Icons of XX and XXI Centuries - Biblioteca del Longhena In the seventeenth century Longhena library, with its original Franz Pauc-carved wooden bookcases, a fresh look at the history of European design will be traced through carefully selected vases from the most important European collections. The vases will grace the library’s impressive oak tables in a light, elegant display and will present the evolution of techniques, know-how and materials.
Icons of XX & XXI Centuries is being created Silvana Annicchiarico, since 2007 Director of the Triennale Design Museum. After graduating in Architecture, Annicchiarico worked as an architect, curator and academic and has collaborated with several magazines. Alongside her may publications, she is responsible for acclaimed exhibitions including Gaetano Pesce: Il rumore del tempo and the ninth edition of the Triennale Design Museum, W. Women in Italian Design.
Donald Macliver of Carloway Mill, one of the original Harris Tweed mills, Isle of Lewis, Scotland
Encounter the Best of European Craftsmanship - Sala degli Arazzi Bringing together two acclaimed figures in the world of design, Jean Blanchaert and Stefano Boeri, one of the venue’s largest halls will become a journey into the heart of Europe’s finest artisanship, complete with master artist-artisans at work. Visitors wandering through this dream-like space will be able to appreciate the exquisite objects specifically sourced for the event and observe the skill of master artisans in real time and at close quarters.
Curator Jean Blanchaert is a gallerist, antiquarian, glass sculptor, and illustrator. For the past 30 years he has run his family’s gallery, which specializes in glass, ceramics, enamel and other contemporary materials. Alongside this and his own career as a designer and artist, he curates and writes about design. The space is designed by Italian architect Stefano Boeri. Boeri’s projects include the Vertical Forest in Milan, the Villa Méditerranée in Marseille, and the House of the Sea of La Maddalena. He leads studios in Milan and Shanghai, and has served as editor-in-chief of both Domus and Abitare.
Keith Levett, Master ceremonial and livery tailor, London, United Kingdom
Be transported by Craftmanship in Motion - Padiglione delle Capriate Highlighting the contribution that expert artisans make to the most luxurious vehicles in existence, bespoke transport design from a motorbike to a helicopter will be in pole position in the Padiglione delle Capriate. Visitors can watch the world’s best Ferrari restorer at work or see high-end British bespoke bicycles being made, as traditional skills create contemporary velocity.
Craftsmanship in Motion is curated by Professor Stefano Micelli of the University of Venice, Ca’ Foscari. Since 1999, Micelli has served as the Director of TeDIS – Venice International University’s research centre focusing on innovation in small to medium sized industrial companies. His academic work has focused on Italian artisanal craft and its future manufacturing potential. In 2012, he received the ADI Design Index prize.
Hands and details of Gérard Desquand, Master heraldic engraver, Paris, France
Fashion’s Salute to Craftsmanship - Ex Piscina Gandini Curated and designed by Judith Clark, an exploration of fashion’s relationship to craftsmanship is installed in the Fondazione’s 1960s-designed swimming pool. Carving, molding, weaving, pleating and knitting are some of the techniques that will be considered in relation to their effect on silhouettes and materials – particularly wood, straw and calico. A decking motif will provide a dramatic setting which invites visitors to consider fashion in an entirely new way.
Judith Clark is a curator and exhibition-maker based in London. She studied Architecture at the Bartlett (UCL) and the Architectural Association, and is currently Professor of Fashion and Museology at London College of Fashion, UAL, where she teaches on the MA Fashion Curation. Since setting up her gallery in 1997, Clark has curated 40 exhibitions of dress. She lectures widely on issues of dress display and fashion.
Details from the workshop of Eleuterio, an independent jeweller specialized in filigree work, Travassos, Portugal
Meet The Artisans of Luxury - Sale del Convitto Some 20 luxury houses will present in-house skill as the Sale del Convitto is transformed into a series of exclusive workshops. From leatherwork to embroidery, each maison will demonstrate a specific skill closely linked to their history and ethos. Master artisans will be present throughout the exhibition allowing visitors rare access to some of the most fascinating techniques that go into making iconic and treasured products from the world of luxury.
This space is curated by Nicolas Bos of Van Cleef & Arpels. Bos graduated from Paris’s premier business school, the ESSEC, and joined the Richemont Group in 1992 when he went to work for the Fondation Cartier pour l’Art Contemporain, in 2000 he joined fine jewellery house Van Cleef & Arpels where he is now President and CEO. Bos is also a member of the Comité Colbert where he chairs the Commission on Know-How and Creation.
Detail of the work of Caterina Crepax, Master paper artist, Milan, Italy
Mastery of Restoring Art - Sala del Piccolo Teatro A team of conservators from Milan’s Open Care will be restoring traditional and contemporary artworks on site throughout the exhibition in a space that will be transformed into a workshop specially made for viewing. Visitors will have an opportunity to witness the careful, intricate processes that go into preserving masterpieces of all kinds and to understand how priceless works of art are preserved and protected for the enjoyment of future generations.
Curated by Isabella Villafranca Soissons, Director of Open Care which offers integrated services for the conservation, management and promotion of artworks and collections, with particular expertise in mixed media. The services of Open Care have been called upon by high profile institutions such as the Uffizi as well as by private clients.
Detail of the work of Renata Casertelli, Master Cantù lace maker, Cantù, Italy
Architecture and Decoration - Sala Carnelutti Three large ‘follies’ created by India Mahdavi, in collaboration with master artisans, will dominate the Sala Carnelutti. Upon entering each of the structures, a colorful interior will be revealed, each one showcasing different techniques and materials – from marquetry and lacquer work to silk and rattan. The installation will focus on the value and contemporary potential of craftsmanship for interior design.
Designer and architect India Mahdavi has been awarded France’s Officier des Arts et des Lettres and named Designer of the Year by Salon Maison & Objet. Her projects include The Gallery at London’s Sketch, Monte Carlo Beach in Monaco, Rivington Hotel in Manhattan, Coburg Bar at London’s Connaught Hotel, and Townhouse Hotel in Miami, as well as collaborations with Ralph Pucci, Jonathan Morr, Ian Schrager, Givenchy, and Louis Vuitton. Mahdavi studied architecture at École des Beaux Arts in Paris, and moved to New York to study graphic design at the School of Visual Arts, furniture design at Parsons, and industrial design at the Cooper Union. Before setting up her own company and showroom she was Art Director at Christian Liaigre. India Mahdavi works from the Parisian studio that she established in 2000.
Pino Grasso, Master embroiderer, Milan, Italy
Collaborating on Homo Faber True to its ethos of collaboration, the Michelangelo Foundation has partnered with a number of organisations to bring Homo Faber to life. Each partner has been chosen because they share the vision of the Michelangelo Foundation, and their work and remit is aligned with the Foundation’s own. These collaborations reflect the Michelangelo Foundation’s ongoing commitment to building a network of diverse organisations, including associations, museums, and educational institutions.
The Fondazione Giorgo Cini is a non-profit cultural institution based in Venice, Italy. It was established by Vittorio Cini, in memory of his son Giorgio, with the aim of restoring the Island of San Giorgio Maggiore and of creating an international cultural centre that would re-integrate the Island into the life of Venice.
Alain Lardet - Curator for the Fondation Bettencourt Schueller
Denis Curti - Art Director
Beyond its architecturally and historically significant buildings, which bear testament to the lasting value of the work of skilled artisans, the Foundation’s long history of supporting local craftsmanship make it the perfect venue for Homo Faber. The Arts and Trades Centre, which was created during the establishment of the Fondazione, originally provided training in wooden boat building as well as traditional artisanal work.
Today, there are LE STANZE DEL VETRO which host two exhibitions of glass art a year. The Fondazione Giorgio Cini continues in its mission to promote the redevelopment of the monumental complex on the Island of San Giorgio Maggiore and encourage the creation and development of educational, social, cultural and artistic institutions in its surrounding territory.
Isabella Villafranca Soissons - Director, Open Care Conservation and Restoration
“Taking talent to the top” was the approach chosen by the Bettencourt Schueller Foundation nearly 30 years ago to contribute to a better French society and boost France’s influence on the international stage. Created by a family, the Foundation trusts in people and their capacities, emphasizing initiative, creativity, quality and openness. Its convictions define its spirit and ways of working – in the common interest, not-for-profit, and with social responsibility in mind.
Jean Blanchaert - Gallerist and Curator
Judith Clark - Fashion Curator and Professor, University of the Arts London
Working across life sciences, social inclusiveness and the arts, the Bettencourt Schueller Foundation’s dedication to the métiers d’art is beautifully manifest in the Liliane Bettencourt Prize pour l’intelligence de la main which rewards excellence, collaboration, expertise, creativity and innovation in craft. It has become a label of excellence for French crafts and enhances their reputation. Since its inception, this competition for professional craftspeople has recognised the talent of 100 laureates working in 48 different fields whose achievements demonstrate the intelligence of the hand.
The Cologni Foundation is a private, non-profit institution based in Milan and established in 1995 by Franco Cologni. The Cologni Foundation’s founding purpose is to accomplish a “new Renaissance” of the artistic crafts and rescue the métiers d’art from the threat of extinction. Its initiatives are chiefly addressed to the young and to training of the next generations of artisans.
Michele De Lucchi - Architect, Designer and Artist
Silvana Annicchiarico - Director, Triennale Design Museum
The Cologni Foundation promotes, supports and carries out a number of cultural, scientific and educational programmes. These include apprenticeship programmes, working with schools and institutions of higher education, publishing specialized books and magazines, and collaborating with a number of like-minded foundations and organisations.
The Triennale Design Museum is the leading museum of Italian design, founded in 2007 by the Triennale di Milano, the historic institution dedicated to architecture, design, art, fashion, photography, new media and performing arts. The Triennale Design Museum is a dynamic museum which is constantly innovating and offers a diverse range of points of view and perspectives. It’s a museum that is not only scholarly and rigorous, but engaging and addictive.
Stefano Micelli - Design Specialist and Professor, Ca’ Foscari University, Venice
Susanna Pozzoli — Photographer and Artist
The Triennale Design Museum puts Italian design on the stage with a programme of thematic displays that change every year. The museum seeks to answer the question, ‘what is Italian design?’ according to its own innovative formula. The Triennale Design Museum represents the multiplicity of the expression of Italian design. It exhibits in the Triennale buildings in Italy as well as exhibiting overseas and taking part in international design events. Additionally the Triennale Design Museum has a permanent collection of the famous names of Italian design from the 20th and 21st century, who are themselves some of the most celebrated designers in the world.
Alberto Cavalli – Co-Executive Director, Culture and Craftsmanship, for the Michelangelo Foundation for Creativity and Craftsmanship
About the Michelangelo Foundation
The Michelangelo Foundation for Creativity and Craftsmanship is an international, non-profit institution based in Geneva, Switzerland that celebrates and preserves master craftsmanship and strengthens its connection to the world of design. Rooted in a tradition of culture and excellence and in the realities and challenges of today’s global economy, the Foundation seeks to support men and women who dedicate themselves to the pursuit of master craftsmanship, recognizing that such mastery takes years to acquire, cultivate and transmit.
The Foundation was created by Johann Rupert, a South African business luminary and Chairman of Compagnie Financière Richemont, and Franco Cologni, an Italian entrepreneur, author and cultural authority and former Managing Director and Chairman of Cartier International. Their motivation for creating the Foundation was based on their strong belief that the creation of value is based on a combination of culture, heritage, excellence, mastery of skill, creativity, and the relationship between the maker of an object and its owner together with their awareness of the economic dangers faced by master artisans today.
They set up the Foundation to foster a new cultural movement built around the values that are essential for the work of master artisans. Creative, collaborative and pragmatic, the Foundation’s activities are guided by a commitment to quality and long-term potential. They include:
original projects that bring the diverse actors within this sector – designers and artisans, masters and apprentices – together to share knowledge and experience, and to imagine and create new objects of lasting value;
communication products and events that explore, explain and champion the métiers d’art, renew their image, and rekindle value and esteem for master craftsmanship;
the development of a network with a view to finding and catalysing natural synergies and areas of cooperation among different kinds of organisations, artisans, designers, educational and cultural institutions, etc.
The Foundation focuses on Europe as a starting point for its activities, in recognition that craftsmanship has been a vital part of the economic and cultural fabric of the region for centuries. From lacemaking to leatherwork, from haute couture to crystal, from incomparable musical instruments to finest porcelain, producing the best and most beautiful objects has been a fundamental aspect of European life for centuries. The Foundation believes that excellent craftsmanship is also one of Europe’s most significant areas of competitive advantage in a global world.
From its base in Geneva, Switzerland, the Foundation crosses borders and cultures to create an active network where dialogue and synergy will flourish and a multinational perspective will stimulate ideas, exchange and new projects. Once its baseline activities in Europe have been built, the foundation will extend its reach to other parts of the globe.
The choice of the Foundation’s name reflects not only the fact that the 16th century sculptor, painter, and architect of world renown was a living treasure of humanity whose masterpieces are milestones in the history of the visual and applied arts. Michelangelo, whose work 500 years on stands as irrefutable testimony to lasting excellence, is also a fitting patron and beacon for the Foundation as it seeks to rekindle an appreciation for all that is of the highest quality and made to last. And importantly, Michelangelo’s focus on the human body underscores the Foundation’s goal to put the human being back in the centre of a picture in today’s globalised world that is often dominated by machines and technological advances.