Ettore Sottsass, Shiva, vaso/vase, 1971, BD Barcellona Design, Courtesy Collezione Permanente del Design Italiano, Triennale Design Museum

The sexy facet of design, Triennale Milan.

Over twenty years ago, we organized for Domus Academy, together with Isao Hosoe and his staff,  an exhibition at Triennale di Milano entitled “Incontri di Lavoro” (Work Encounters) . The fact that the seven key words pinpointed as possible start to rethink the office included also the factor “erotism” caused a sensation.
It seemed that the office, a result of the functionalist and rationalist design, should not face anthropological themes that lie outside production, the office, as most of the twentieth-century design, kept ignoring sexuality the body was taken into consideration just for those aspects related to ergonomics and productive comfort.

Today at Triennale the interesting exhibition “KAMA. Sex and Design” (5th December 2012 – 10th March 2013) curated by Silvana Annicchiarico, explores the relationship between eros and design. The title refers to the Hindu God of sexual pleasure, human love and desire. KAMA tries to deal with one of the more exasperated contemporary “ghosts”, but in the meantime the more removed.
The exhibition wants to investigate how sexuality incorporates itself in the things and makes them medium of knowledge. For the designers, but also for the users.

The heart of the exhibition is a survey, curated by Silvana Annicchiarico, from historical, mythic and anthropological roots until today, with more than 200 among archeological finds, drawings, pictures, objects and artworks by International artists and designers.
A wide and multi-faceted selection far from the easy stereotypes of pornography, “pruderie” or scandal: from Etruscan vases to Roman phallic amulets, from drawings by Piero Fornasetti to pictures by Carlo Mollino and Ettore Sottsass, from Mae West Sofa by Salvador Dalí to the amazing and provocative The Great Wall of Vagina by Jamie McCartney, comprising plaster casts taken from the genitals of 400 different women.

At the same time, in order to enlarge the points of view and have a choral and collective tale, 8 international designers –Andrea Branzi, Nacho Carbonell, Nigel Coates, Matali Crasset, Lapo Lani, Nendo, Italo Rota e Betony Vernon– deal with this theme and present their personal interpretation with brand new site-specific installations.

On the wllas of the aisles are displayed “Ossessioni magistrali” by Alchimia, Piero Fornasetti, Carlo Mollino, Gaetano Pesce e Ettore Sottsass and the review “Disjecta membra” with works by Paola Anziché, Francisco e Casilda Figueiredo, Anila Rubiku, Jemina Stelhi.

By Renata Sias

The curator ask herself: When is design erotic?

When it instills desiring tension in a project?
When it makes the object –or the space- fertile and propitiatory?
When it triggers off the sensorial nature of things and exalts their skin?
When it forces us to perceive thingswith our senses rather than our minds?
When it ensures things let off and release -first and foremost- sensations?

Send WOW! your comment. Tell us when, in your opinion, design is erotic!

Leave a Reply