Looking at the earth from above and feeling it underneath our feet: Alberto Biagetti designed a series of five carpets – handmade in Katmandu using a thin knot technique – that picture the earth photographed from a satellite. A graphic hint to deserts and forests, rivers and craters ready to be taken away and contemplated at home. Alberto Biagetti closely investigates the structure of the earth, the air, the sky, in search of impressions that can be translated into designs. “The Ground” carpets – numbered 1/5 – use a zenithal point of view allowing the designer to imagine space as something that goes beyond our perception, a crude, systematic and sharp vision of the surface of the earth seen from miles of distance, captured without perceptive filters except for Google Earth.
“The Ground” is only part of Post Design 2012’s collection. As this title suggests, evoking the great Ettore Sottsass’ sceneries, Alberto Biagetti is aware that in the future design will lose its functional component to concentrate solely on aesthetics. The tactile collection gathers around the idea of universal living, pieces include “The Wire Table”, the seatings, the furniture pieces “The Sky Pieces” (rigorously numbered) with a thin frame made of opaque brass standing on slim golden legs – a clear reference to the work of Charles and Ray Eames – the couches and seats “The River” that come in dark glade tones or light sandy desert ones. Alberto Biagetti uses unusual chromatic combinations for the table with a graphite wood top and for the furniture pieces created applying laminated plastic with an embossed finish – especially commissioned to Abet Laminati by the designer – representing Milan’s sky as seen from above the studio, giving name to “The Sky Piece”. This time it’s a photograph, no use of the internet, that underlines the designer’s dichotomy between physical reality and the digital realm. Contemporary technologies – available to us all, for instance the web – and mother nature, are elements we all feel close to in this era; in Biagetti’s work, the digital world is a tool as much as once were square and ruler. Putting to use technology and applying it to design by interpreting it according to a larger formula, his own, modifies and amplifies its meaning. Biagetti collects, elaborates and prints on objects – be those in natural leather, laminate or fabric – universal codes that belong to everyone, to the surface of the earth brought inside our homes by the designer, transforming it into an observatory onto the outside world.
The linear shapes of the pieces and the bedstands are influenced by Gropius’ discipline and interrupted by oblique lines on the feet that go through them and support them, capable of breaking the rigid stereotype with schematic games of fullness and emptiness. “The Sky Piece n. 5” has the presumption of elevating itself towards the sky, in contrast with the horizontal console and the low furniture, and show-off its ultra-white cupola: a shrine where to place a dear object or one precious to our hearts, something we like to see everyday but needs protection, just as it happens in museums to emphasize the sacrality of it – in this case a very intimate one. The piece is unfinished on purpose, leaving the future owner with the possibility to finish it with his actions.
Alberto Biagetti desacralizes leather and the idea that it is an untouchable and precious material: he dyes it with techniques that resemble the ones used in fashion, and is not afraid to use acid varnish on the solid geometry of the couches: “The River Armchair” and “The River Sofa”, sober and strict, look like they have absorbed the colours of the earth and tones, welcoming and comfortable thanks to the padding in memory-foam. It is a game of tradition and future played by Biagetti, perception and imagination fuse together; the search of materials and antique techniques, the use of brass and leather meet with crystal and colour, a contrasting combination of a laminate surface, shaped, printed on, mapped; the multi-shaped and heterogenous language of Alberto Biagetti goes beyond schemes and comes to a new vision of history and the contemporary world by reinterpreting simple lines and objects full of layers of meaning. The colour palette was chosen carefully: tobacco coloured leather and black, dark brown and blue, sand and yellow.
The brass legs have undergone the same treatment: a constant search for a new balance between things. Each one of the pieces of the Post Design 2012 collection has to do with the intimacy of our homes, the open spaces that are an extension of it. The Leitmotiv: surface and memory. The result is three families of objects that have in common the same sensitivity and chromatic tones, able to disclose both an intimate and universal story. Alberto Biagetti varies at ease between design, architecture, fashion and art without distinction, combining the real world with a virtual one, artisanship and technology. Post Design 2012, his first home collection, aims at developing the concept of living rather than production tout court: the collection suggests an intimate domestic space always evolving: prismatic like nature and our behaviours.
Text by Maria Cristina Didero