Poltrona Frau introduces 'True Evolution 2022' as a reflection of its design history
by Poltrona FrauOct 11, 2022
•make your fridays matter with a well-read weekend
by STIRworldPublished on : Apr 12, 2023
"Design is about the possibility to create new objects, to enjoy them in a different way; your space has to always contain an element of surprise, it is not only about the function," says Patrizia Moroso, the artistic director of Italian brand Moroso, in a conversation with STIR. It is not every day that vivid hues, playfulness and glaring elements of surprise are associated with a living space. Moroso—having already secured a place in haute couture of international design, as a leading company in the upholstery sector—defies the limits of furniture design with a multi-coloured stack of rich velvet mattresses, with an upper half that levitates in space. Italian artist Paola Pivi conceives art that explores life by challenging the onlooker’s perceptions—an ethos that coincides with that of Moroso—making this collaboration imminent. More-So, the internal division of Moroso S.p.A. that develops research and experimentation projects for furnishing design, recently announced MILANO, an artistic venture by Pivi in collaboration with Perrotin New York. The soft sculpture, a composition of stacked seams of colours, will be on display at the new Moroso Flagship Store at 105 Madison Avenue, New York City, from March 1 to May 15, 2023.
The artist’s collaboration with Moroso is not their first; their alliance can be traced back to a few years when Pivi created a public artwork in Rotterdam. “When I moved to the foreign places, I absorbed the places and their societies; most of those elements trickle into my life and then into my art," Pivi notes. She had decided to create a completely functional recording studio that is open to everybody—to code or perform music. Pivi landed upon Moroso while investigating designer furniture to adorn the studio space—an exploration that subsequently led her to Patrizia Moroso, the company's artistic director. "Recently, I had the idea to make two artworks and MILANO, and since they are made of soft material and velvet, I thought I would knock on Patrizia's door one more time wondering if was going to help me make them,” recalls Pivi. The vision for a piece of sculptural art that weaves together the creative language of the installation artist to the expertise of the company was met with Moroso’s sheer enthusiasm.
Diving a little deeper into what inspires Pivi’s artistic process, its conception, origin story, she says, "It begins with full conscience and full exploration which also includes the perceptive process and understanding the connection between timelines of the past, current and the future which eventually realises itself into my artworks."
"I had been cultivating a wish to work with Paola for a number of years. I have immense respect for her artistic achievements and her ability to create surprise through relationships that are as unexpected as they are powerful in arousing deep emotions," says Patrizia Moroso. “Paola takes a rigorous approach to her artistic work, paying great attention to the performative aspect, which is mainly functional in industrial design,” she adds. Moroso is renowned for an undeniably strong brand identity, a strength that is equally conspicuous in the oeuvre of Pivi. Despite their characteristic individuality, the creative collaboration does not baulk their languages from unfolding seamlessly—although this time around they unravel through an organic synergy. “When two entities meet each other for a project, it is possibly important to have both strong personalities to create something new because if not, something belongs to one or the other,” states Moroso.
It begins with full conscience and full exploration which also includes the perceptive process and understanding the connection between timelines of the past, current and the future which eventually realises itself into my artworks. – Paola Pivi
MILANO—akin to the artist’s other “explorations into life”—also deftly draws on Pivi’s memories of childhood and her native country—a place she no longer resides in, yet it remains deeply etched in her consciousness. It was first brought to life in April 2022 as part of Pivi’s solo exhibition titled I Want It All, curated by José Carlos Diaz at the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh, USA. With MILANO, the artist “imagined a unique place of open function, a void for people to fill as they wish, or simply contemplate at home.” MILANO lays bare a playful and magnetic ambience in a seductive space of silky and brightly coloured velvets, impressively proportioned and with a surprising form that invites engagement. It is a work of art that shapeshifts into a striking piece of furnishing, enlivened and activated when someone enters it. The void between the two halves is open and comfortable and soft, novel, strange and subtle in tandem—and unusual in allowing people to slip inside. A personal environment delimited by the primary colours of blue and red, offering a novel place to enter. “For me it is an extraordinary sculpture because it can be used as a funky sofa in a living room, as a place in the house for resting, for a moment on a phone call or watching a movie all the while being a sculpture,” Pivi says.
With its debut on the global platform in cahoots with More-So, MILANO’s creation spoke of a dialogue between art and design. “This collaborative act of artistic experimentation led to the creation of functional sculpture activated by hundreds of participants, typically uncommon in museum settings. More-So understands that artists have no limitations,” says José Carlos Diaz, curator of I Want It All.
In the beginning, since the project commenced its journey as an art piece, the collaborators decided that it is not a one-time immersive installation and had the potential to be utilised in the future as well. Hence, the idea of evolving MILANO into a limited edition of pieces was born. “It is an edition of eight pieces and these will be a part of production for galleries and collectors,” explains Moroso. “The project began with the gallery of Paris and was organised in the United States because Paola’s exhibition took place there, so in this case, the collaboration is with the gallery and the story of the piece is similar to what happens in a gallery,” she adds. Simultaneously, the brand has set the conception of yet another experience in motion with Pivi. Moroso is contriving another advanced story, another experience that will make her art more about a sofa—precisely a reproducible sofa. For both Moroso and Pivi, the next step is towards cultivating something industrial without compromising on the tenets of artistic freedom and expert craftsmanship. “For me it was important to realise what she exactly wanted. I had no doubt that when you work with her, with an artist, especially for a limited edition, we have to treat the object and the artist like art,” Moroso points out.
Art helps us to change our perspective of things. When we engage with it, art interferes with our common thinking—art is a way to interfere. – Patrizia Moroso
"All artworks provoke the process of developing the capacity to think, and that is where you find the questions,” shares Pivi. “When I do my art, it is contained in the art and many people can perceive it,” she adds. Moroso, despite conforming to a distinctive language, believes in evolution and transformation—a state of constant flux that is upheld by constant cross-pollination and collaborations. With an odyssey that began in 1952, Moroso has only strengthened its legacy by focusing on a production model capable of balancing industrial processes with craft techniques and finishes. This time, the brand’s creative impulse propels a jovial project that aspires to become a safe space for everyone to relish in childlike wonder and emotions. It is only obvious why this layered artwork exuding relaxation and imagination shares its name with Pivi’s native land—a place where her childhood flourished. With MILANO, Moroso and Pivi begin a crusade of interference with presumptions and perspectives. In the words of Moroso, “Art helps us to change our perspective of things. When we engage with it, art interferes with our common thinking—art is a way to interfere.”
STIR’s coverage of Milan Design Week 2023 showcases the best exhibitions, studios, designers, installations, brands, and special projects to look out for. Explore Euroluce 2023 and all the design districts—5Vie Art and Design, Brera Design District, Fuorisalone, Isola Design District, Tortona District, and Milano Design District—with us.
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