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'desacralized' architecture inspires milan design week exhibition inside historic church

galerie philia occupies a ‘desacralized’ church

 

For Milan Design Week 2023, Galerie Philia occupies the church of San Vittore e 40 Martiri with its dream-like exhibition ‘Desacralized.’ Scattered across the stone nave, beneath a lofty vaulted ceiling, the gallery showcases the lighting and furniture pieces by more than twenty international designers, both established and emerging, including Rick Owens and Ukrainian studio Faina. The exhibition will delve into the concept of ‘desacralization,’ or withdrawing a sacred status — the church itself has been deconsecrated and repurposed for various community uses since its closure for worship in the late eighteenth century. This historic building, which was originally constructed in the 11th century, now hosts a major exhibition for the first time ever. The installation will be on view from April 18th — April 23rd, 2023.

galerie philia desacralized
exhibition view | image couresy Galerie Philia

 

 

drawing from once-sacred architecture

 

Galerie Philia takes inspiration from the transformation of the Milanese church into a secular building, as well as its rich and extensive history, to conceptualize the ‘Desacralized’ exhibition. The gallery invites the diverse group of designers to provide their unique interpretation of desacralization and derive inspiration from objects that previously held religious significance but now serve purely functional purposes in our daily lives. The designers were collectively required to create works that were entirely white.

galerie philia desacralized
exhibition view | image couresy Galerie Philia

 

 

inside the exhibition

 

As the focal point of ‘Desacralized,’ Galerie Philia suspends a grand, luminous chandelier crafted by Morghen Studio, an Italian design team. The installation, named ‘Cascades of Light,’ goes beyond the traditional meaning of historic chandeliers and presents a transformative experience of light for visitors. Studiopepe has designed a small table made of marble that draws inspiration from ancient baptisteries found in Italy. The table has six sides to symbolize spiritual equilibrium and an uneven surface that alludes to Michelangelo’s unfinished work, ‘Non Finito.’

galerie philia desacralized
exhibition view | ‘Desacralized Trophy,’ Willem van Hooff (front), ‘Cascades of Light,’ Morghen Studio (center)
image © designboom

 

 

Pietro Franceschini has created a curved coffee table that explores the idea of materiality and transformation, while Kar Studio‘s chair was influenced by China’s oldest script from the Shang Dynasty. In her abstract light sculptures, Elsa Foulon investigates the use of seashells, a motif often present in Christian iconography and art history. Marble was chosen as a material because of its association with sacred architecture and objects and because it is an integral part of the exhibition’s language.

galerie philia desacralized
‘Origo’ low table, Studiopepe (left), ‘Trinidad Candelabra,’ Andrés Monnier (right) | image couresy Galerie Philia

 

 

Renowned designers from around the world will reveal unconventional pieces at the exhibition. Rick Owens presents a never-before-seen chair, while Arno Declercq will showcase a large-scale dining table with a distinctive form, incorporating white into his design for the first time. Henry Wilson‘s exhibit features a Pagoda table lamp inspired by the shapes of a Japanese temple and an altar. Andrés Monnier‘s attention-grabbing firepits made of rock are also on display, as will Pierre de Valck’s fountain, which historically represents transformation and vitality.

galerie philia desacralized‘Oracle Bone Script’ chair, Kar Studio | image courtesy Galerie Philia

 

 

Objects bear witness to the past — they carry memories and their function is defined by the era in which they were created,’ Ygaël Attali, Director of Galerie Philia and curator of the exhibition says.Sacred objects have all these qualities but they also transcend their physicality to achieve a spiritual and symbolic value. Desacralized is the third and last of our Milan exhibitions exploring the theme of sacredness and seeks to question the notion of desacralisation, in both its emotional and spiritual manifestations.’

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‘Trinidad Candelabra,’ Andrés Monnier | image couresy Galerie Philia

galerie philia desacralized
‘Coquillages,’ Elsa Foulon | image courtesy Galerie Philia

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‘Trinity’ coffee table, Pietro Franceschini | image © designboom

 

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'She's Lost Control' pedestal table, William Guillon | image courtesy Galerie Philia
'She's Lost Control' pedestal table, William Guillon | image courtesy Galerie Philia
'Trinidad Candelabra,' Andrés Monnier | image © designboom
'Trinidad Candelabra,' Andrés Monnier | image © designboom
'Duzhyi,' Faina | image courtesy Galerie Philia
'Duzhyi,' Faina | image courtesy Galerie Philia
'The Pagoda Lamp,' Henry Wilson | image courtesy Galerie Philia
'The Pagoda Lamp,' Henry Wilson | image courtesy Galerie Philia
'Kielich,' Jan Garncareck & Ewelina Makosa | image © designboom
'Kielich,' Jan Garncareck & Ewelina Makosa | image © designboom
'Fountain with Stone,' Pierre de Valck | image © designboom
'Fountain with Stone,' Pierre de Valck | image © designboom
'04,' Isac Elam Kaid | image © designboom
'04,' Isac Elam Kaid | image © designboom

project info:

 

exhibition title: Desacralized

gallery: Galerie Philia @galerie.philia

location: San Vittore e 40 Martiri, Viale Lucania, 18, Milan, Italy
on view: April 18th — April 23rd, 2023

photography: courtesy Galerie Philia (unless © designboom)

 

participating designers and artists: Andres Monnier (Mexico), Arno Declercq (Belgium), Boldizar Senteski (Hungary), Draga & Aurel (Serbia/Germany), Elisa Uberti (France), Elsa Foulon (France), Faina (Ukraine), Flora Temnouche (France), Frédéric Saulou (France), Henry Wilson (Australia), Imperfettolab (Italy), Isac Elam Kaid (Canada), Jan Garncarek (Poland), Kar Studio (China), Laura Pasquino (Holland), Lucas Morten (Sweden), Morghen (Italy), Niclas Wolf (Germany), Pietro Franceschini (Italy), Pierre de Valck (Belgium), Rick Owens (US), Samuel Costantini (Italy), Studiopepe (Italy), Willem van Hooff (Holland) and William Guillon (France)

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