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Architect and curator Beppe Finessi on devising a new model for Euroluce 2023

In a conversation with STIR, Beppe Finessi talks about the rich cultural programme animating Euroluce 2023 at the Salone del Mobile.Milano, dedicated to lighting.

by Salvatore PelusoPublished on : Apr 15, 2023

It has been four years since Euroluce, the biennial furniture fair dedicated to lighting, was held. The Salone del Mobile section will be returning this year, from April 18 to 23, 2023 in pavilions 9-11 and 13-15 at Rho Fiera, the exhibition and trade centre in Italy. Completely renewed: with a totally redesigned layout by Lombardini22—ring-shaped and hyper-functional, and with a brilliant multidisciplinary proposal curated and coordinated by Beppe Finessi. STIR spoke to Finessi, an architect and lecturer, about his curatorial approach, the narrative he developed, and the buzz at this year's Salone.

Nanda Vigo, Light Tree, 1984/1985 | Beppe Finessi| Milan Design Week |STIRworld
Nanda Vigo, Light Tree, 1984/1985 Image: Courtesy of Archivio Nanda Vigo, Milano

Salvatore Peluso: Let’s start by talking about the expected experience at Euroluce and the idea behind the title 'The city of lights.'

Beppe Finessi: First of all, I would like to mention the new layout designed by the Lombardini 22 studio, which puts the visitor at the centre—the way we record information, the way our eyes meet objects. Also, from the point of view of time and energy saving, it will be optimal because it will be enough to walk along the large main street, which creates a sort of irregular ring, to meet all the main stands. Within this context (for which I take no credit) we have devised various exhibitions and installations (...) a palimpsest of many events that are in some way cultural outposts. Just as in a city, when we walk around, we encounter theatres, squares, civic centres, museums and libraries, at Euroluce we encounter ‘happenings.’

  • Marjan van Aubel, Sunne, 2020|Euroluce 2023 | Beppe Finessi| Milan Design Week |STIRworld
    Marjan van Aubel, Sunne, 2020 Image: Nadja Schlenker
  • Adrian Paci, Turn On, 2004 | Beppe Finessi| Milan Design Week |STIRworld
    Adrian Paci, Turn On, 2004 Image: Courtesy of Adrian Paci and kaufmann repetto Milan / New York

Salvatore: Let’s get into some of the proposals that will animate Euroluce.

Beppe: There are many projects and I hope to not miss anything. We start with a large site-specific installation, a long neon sign—You can imagine the opposite, by Maurizio Nannucci, which will invite us to always question ourselves, and will give us a 'work' that I am sure will become permanent in our city. Then there is an exhibition by photographer Hélène Binet, on the relationship between natural light and architecture, curated and set up by Massimo Curzi.

  • Le Corbusier, Couvent Sainte-Marie de la Tourette, Eveux, France, 2002| Beppe Finessi| Milan Design Week |STIRworld
    Le Corbusier, Couvent Sainte-Marie de la Tourette, Eveux, France, 2002 Image: Hélène Binet
  • Vals Triptych A, Peter Zumthor, Therme Vals | Beppe Finessi| Milan Design Week |STIRworld
    Vals Triptych A, Peter Zumthor, Therme Vals Image: Hélène Binet

And more: the exhibition Sunrises and lights of tomorrow, curated by Matteo Pirola and displayed by From outer Space, a ravishing atmosphere made of ‘artificial stars,’ i.e. the luminous devices that today’s designer-astronomers are investigating: orbiting spheres, reflecting surfaces, dazzling eclipses, coloured auroras, luminous intuitions that appear without being traditional lamps, with works ranging from the light projections of the Mandalaki studio to the masterpieces of Alberto Garutti. Then, Fiat bulb, the Edison syndrome, amusing and disorienting, curated and set up by Martina Sanzarello, who develops her personal research on the incandescent light bulb.

  • Bulb, Ingo Maurer, 1966 | Beppe Finessi| Milan Design Week |STIRworld
    Bulb, Ingo Maurer, 1966 Image: Courtesy of Salone del Mobile.Milano
  • Adrian Paci, Turn On, 2004 | Beppe Finessi| Milan Design Week |STIRworld
    George Sowden, Luna, Memphis, 1988 Image: Courtesy of Adrian Paci and kaufmann repetto Milan / New York

It was also important for us to imagine a cultural outpost together with Corraini, a publisher and gallerist, called Libreria Mobile. This space, designed by Formafantasma, is not only dedicated to sales, but a place for study and learning, where you can find a selection of special books, including those off the market, multiples, prints, artworks, and limited-edition volumes.

Costellazioni, exhibition design by Formafantasma| Beppe Finessi| Milan Design Week |STIRworld
Costellazioni, exhibition design by Formafantasma Image: Courtesy of Salone del Mobile.Milano

Salvatore: There is also the exhibition, Constellations...

Beppe: This exhibition, the set-up of which is designed by Formafantasma, itself becomes the symbol of the entire curatorial project and the way the programme was conceived: plural, polycentric and multidisciplinary. It is an exhibition spread throughout the pavilion—12 groupings of contemporary artworks—and also includes works by photographers, architects and designers.

I like these three ideas—plurality, polycentrism, and multidisciplinarity—from which the programme was developed. How do they materialise?

The project is plural because it involves a multitude of curators, artists, designers, from different generations and backgrounds. It combines different sensitivities. It is polycentric because there is not just one important thing at the centre of the pavilion but (as you may have understood) the various initiatives are well distributed—you encounter something different every few steps. This nature starts and enhances the theme of the streets, which are public places par excellence. Multidisciplinarity is fundamental because design will be present with all the proposals of the various exhibitors. Architecture, photography, painting and sculpture, meanwhile, are fundamental because they complement the products on display.

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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