poltronova envelops designs by ettore sottsass, superstudio, & more, in a shimmering maze

poltronova envelops designs by ettore sottsass, superstudio, & more, in a shimmering maze

‘Ultrafavola. Poltronova Beyond the Mirror’ 

 

On the occasion of Milan Design Week 2023, Poltronova has renewed its synergy with Mosca Partners for Design Variations, this time crossing the threshold of the Palazzo del Circolo Filologico Milanese in the heart of the Brera Design District. From 17 to 23 April, in the large and evocative Liberty Hall, under the luminous eye of a suggestive skylight, in a maze of rooms suspended in space and time, iconic objects and unusual new proposals took center stage amid thousands of books in one of the city’s oldest cultural associations.

 

Dubbed ‘Ultrafavola: Beyond the Mirror,’ the exhibition takes inspiration from Poltronova’s best seller — the legendary ‘Ultrafragola’ mirror designed by Ettore Sottsass — inviting visitors to go beyond reflective surfaces and discover the magical dimension of Poltronova’s product catalog. 

poltronova envelops designs by ettore sottsass, superstudio, & more, in a shimmering maze
images © Serena Eller Vainicher (unless stated otherwise)

 

 

explore iconic poltronova products from the 1960s onward

 

Laced with an array of symbolic qualities — from the fantastical world of Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland to the contemporary selfie culture, the myth of Narcissus, and the duplicity of reflections — the mirror archetype has informed the immersive Fuorisalone exhibition’s visual and performative journey. Upon entering, visitors begin winding their way through eight environments dictated by a surreal draping of metallic ‘curtains’ and a reflecting floor, coaxing them to explore and let their imagination run free within ‘Ultrafavola. Poltronova Beyond the Mirror’. 

poltronova envelops designs by ettore sottsass, superstudio, & more, in a shimmering maze
‘Ultrafavola. Poltronova Beyond the Mirror’ exhibition | image © Ruy Teixeira

 

 

Each ‘room’ is dedicated to a furnishing accessory: the ‘Joe’ (1970) armchair by De Pas, D’Urbino, Lomazzi; the ‘Ultrafragola’ (1970) mirror; the ‘Safari’ (1967) sofa, ‘Superonda’ (1967) sofa, and ‘Mies’ (1969) armchair by Archizoom Associati; the ‘Plasma’ (2011) chair by Nigel Coates, the ‘Rumble’ (1967) sofa by Gianni Pettena, and the ‘Canton’ (1988) bench by Franco Raggi in its new colors — vibrantly contrasting the metallic backdrop undulating across the space.

 

On the side, products like the sea monster-inspired ‘Gherpe’ (1968) lighting fixtures and ‘Passiflora’ (1967) table lamp designed by Superstudio, and the palm tree-shaped ‘Sanremo’ (1968) floor lamp by Archizoom Associati, amplify the playful and dreamlike dimension of the ‘Ultrafravola’ experience. Covering the main pathway are a series of ‘Autostrada’ carpets shown exclusively during Fuorisalone 2023. Designed by Lapo Binazzi, a former member of the radical UFO collective, and produced in a single copy by Poltronova (see more here) in 1990 on the occasion of the exhibition ‘Il Dolce Stil Novo (della casa)’ curated by Andrea Branzi at the Fondazione Palazzo Strozzi in Florence, the ‘Autostrada’ project was recovered and reworked by the author based on an autograph sketch kept in the Poltronova Study Centre for Design Archives notified to the Superintendence of Fine Arts.

poltronova envelops designs by ettore sottsass, superstudio, & more, in a shimmering maze
‘Ultrafragola’ (1970) mirror by Ettore Sottsass

 

 

The result is a new cult object, a carpet replicating a carriageway with a dotted centreline and grass border on the sides. The hand-tufted wool carpet system consists of two modules -one curved and one rectangular- which, also playing with three different color combinations, allow endless compositional possibilities,’ writes the Tuscan brand. 

 

‘Autostrada’ is not the only rug to be added to Poltronova’s already rich catalog. Thanks to a memorable collaboration with cc-tapis – an Italian company specializing in contemporary hand-knotted carpets created in Nepal by expert Tibetan craftsmen — Poltronova has showcased a new carpet series. On the one hand, the ‘Farfalla’, ‘Prato’, and ‘Cielo’ (2023) rugs were inspired by the lively fabric pattern designed by Archizoom Associates in 1967. On the other hand, the ‘Stella & Stellina’ (2023) rug is a nod to the iconic ‘Joe’ armchair tribute to Joe DiMaggio, while ‘Sofo’ (2023) is an off-scale re-proposition of the trademark and logotype designed by Superstudio for the identity of the colorful modular seating of the same name.

poltronova envelops designs by ettore sottsass, superstudio, & more, in a shimmering maze
‘Canton’ (1988) benches by Franco Raggi

 

 

The Poltronova collection has always worked with its heterogeneous archive to construct a poetic and symbolic dimension of living, as is also demonstrated by this new series of products in natural fibers on which cc-tapis imprints the wisdom of craftsmen’s hands and which defines the bond between man and the space in which he chooses to live. An ‘artificial universe’ the home, as Branzi defined it, in which the design project wants to be read as an integral part of the evolutionary dynamics of society, as the result of a search for form and substance that translates a desire for vitality, a thought, a taste and a personality that is not homologated,’ concludes the company.

poltronova envelops designs by ettore sottsass, superstudio, & more, in a shimmering maze
a maze of rooms draped in metallic films enclose the iconic design pieces

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‘Safari’ sofa by Archizoom Associati

poltronova envelops designs by ettore sottsass, superstudio, & more, in a shimmering maze
‘Plasma’ (2011) chair by Nigel Coates and ‘Prato’ (2023) rug

poltronova envelops designs by ettore sottsass, superstudio, & more, in a shimmering maze
‘Superonda’ (1967) sofa by Archizoom Associati and ‘Farfalla’ (2023) rug

ultrafavola-designboom-full-6

‘Joe’ (1970) armchair by De Pas, D’Urbino, Lomazzi

poltronova envelops designs by ettore sottsass, superstudio, & more, in a shimmering maze
sea monster-inspired ‘Gherpe’ (1968) lighting fixtures by Superstudio

poltronova envelops designs by ettore sottsass, superstudio, & more, in a shimmering maze
‘Rumble’ (1967) sofa by Gianni Pettena

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image © Ruy Teixeira

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