fornasetti publishes first 100 'tema e variazioni' in a handcrafted, limited-edition book
 
fornasetti publishes first 100 'tema e variazioni' in a handcrafted, limited-edition book
apr 11, 2016

fornasetti publishes first 100 'tema e variazioni' in a handcrafted, limited-edition book

fornasetti publishes first 100 ‘tema e variazioni’ in a handcrafted, limited-edition book

 

 

 

for piero fornasetti, a single idea was inspiration enough to spawn endless variations of an image. his continually reinvented and reinterpreted motifs include the sun, playing cards, hands and self-portraits — but it was in 1952 that he began work on what would become his most iconic series: tema e variazioni (theme and variations). a portrait of lina cavalieri — an opera singer who lived between the 19th and 20th centuries, considered to be ‘the most beautiful woman in the world’ — became piero’s most fundamental and enduring motif. searching for different frames of mind, temperaments and moods, the italian artist transformed the image of her face into an immense catalog of personalities and peculiarities — by 1966 the series already included 299 variations; today there are almost 400.

 

on the occasion of milan design week, fornasetti has published ‘tema e variazioni. the first series 1 — 100’, a volume containing the first 100 illustrations from piero’s collection. the book has been entirely handmade, and is limited to 100 singed and numbered copies by piero’s son barnaba. barnaba revives, perpetuates, and pays homage to his father’s work and this series, while introducing the brand’s renewed endeavor into the publishing world — a sector that has been part of the fornasetti history since its inception.  

 

 


fornasetti | tema e variazioni the first series 1-100 | the book
video courtesy of fornasetti

 

 

 

in the design and development of book, fornasetti collaborated with experts who represent the epitome of italian craftsmanship. the original brass matrices, engraved using the vintage technique of etching, became an important aspect of the cover, giving each book a different appearance. the classic etching process is reimagined through a combination of manual and digital processing. the brass plates were masked before engraving in order to restore the full graphic detail and depth of black lines. each of the 100 illustrations is printed on cotton paper using a hand press, and are accompanied by text in monotype typography. writings by barnaba fornasetti, gio ponti, alberto manguel and glenn o’brien describe the series. 

fornasetti tema e variazioni book milan design week
‘tema e variazioni. the first series 1 — 100’

 

 

 

a process called ‘long stitch binding’ — with white and red linen thread — secures the pages of the book, a technique derived from a method used since the 5th century A.D. to bind archive volumes with paper or parchment covers. the knots of the threads have been deliberately exposed, leaving the spine on display as a graphic feature.  the volume itself is encased in a leather and velvet clamshell; its larger format is the perfect frame to hold the graphic detail in its original form.

fornasetti tema e variazioni book milan design week2
a process called ‘long stitch binding’ secures the pages of the book

fornasetti tema e variazioni book milan design week
inside the handmade, limited-edition collectors book
image © designboom

fornasetti tema e variazioni book milan design week
the publication features the first 100 images from the series ‘tema e variazioni’
image © designboom

fornasetti tema e variazioni book milan design week
each of the 100 illustrations are printed on cotton paper using a hand press
image © designboom

fornasetti tema e variazioni book milan design week
the book seeks to revive the significance and depth of an important chapter in fornasetti history
image © designboom

fornasetti tema e variazioni book milan design week
the portrait of lina cavalieri became piero’s most fundamental and enduring motif
image © designboom

fornasetti-tema-e-variazioni-book-handmade-milan-design-week-designboom-08
the italian artist transformed the image of her face into an immense catalog of personalities and peculiarities
image © designboom

fornasetti-tema-e-variazioni-book-handmade-milan-design-week-designboom-09
the original brass matrices became an important aspect of the cover

fornasetti-tema-e-variazioni-book-handmade-milan-design-week-designboom-010
fornasetti collaborated with experts who represent the epitome of italian craftsmanship

fornasetti-tema-e-variazioni-book-handmade-milan-design-week-designboom-011
the classic etching process was rewritten through a combination of manual and digital processing

fornasetti-tema-e-variazioni-book-handmade-milan-design-week-designboom-012
the brass plates were masked before engraving in order to restore the full graphic detail

fornasetti-tema-e-variazioni-book-handmade-milan-design-week-designboom-013
the images are accompanied by text in monotype typography

fornasetti-tema-e-variazioni-book-handmade-milan-design-week-designboom-015
the book revives, perpetuates, and pays homage to the work of fornasetti 

 

see designboom’s instagram coverage @milan.design.week

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