This year we will be presenting the manifesto design project “Les Arcanistes – The future is unwritten” by staging a surprising and original installation to sum up the essence of both the public and private sphere. The project is based on a thorough investigation of matter and the archetypical power of symbols, fortune telling.
Les Arcanistes is Studiopepe’s new Manifesto Project, conceived for the 2019 Milan Design Week. Inside a large industrial goldworking plant from the 20th century, the aim is to investigate the strong bond between matter and the archetypical power of symbols.
What is the connection between your Manifesto projects from 2017, 2018 and 2019?
Our projects are an excuse to talk about the different skills of the studio in one single event. The aim is to sum up our work and skills in different fields and try to define the creative direction of the firm in that particular moment.
In 2017 we presented “The Visit”: a project hosted in a historical apartment in the Brera district which sought to investigate the concept of hospitality and domestic intimacy with a wink at sophisticated hotellerie.
In 2018, on the other hand, we focused on a public event “Club Unseen”, a temporary club for members only created in a secret place, where the art of mixology became an actual performance.
In different ways, both projects had an enormous success in terms of visibility and public response.
This year, we will present our Manifesto project called “Les Arcanistes – The future is unwritten” with a surprising and original installation that combines the public and private sphere in a detailed investigation on matter and the archetypical power of symbols - fortune telling. The arcanists were the first chemists, the holders of the arcane (and secret) formulas to make porcelain and to process materials like glass and metals. It is easy to perceive the affinity with the Major Arcana, which are the archetypes of what Carl Jung defined as the Collective Unconscious.
In addition, this year, and in collaboration with the partners of the project who share our firm’s creative vision, we have organized an itinerary through materials – by declining design and bespoke pieces, re-editions of historical pieces, multiples of art, and a tactile Wunderkammer. A sequence of installation rooms that ends in a great hall which stages the rituality of our contemporary way of living.
Our Manifesto project will be presented in a two-floor set-up. The first floor will host the main hall, a living space, and different installations: the alchemist’s lab, where we will distill herbs and plant essences that are believed to have premonitory powers; the water spring where visitors can experience water’s ability to vibrate in different frequencies by watching the water surface dance and touch the spring so the body can also feel the vibration non capisco la frase ita. The “material library” / Wunderkammer where we collected and assembled materials that work with assonance and dissonance. The ground floor hosts the core of Les Arcanistes, the Mantic society (according to Plato, Mantic was the typical premonitory skill of higher souls). This is a place of experience, which only a few visitors at a time can access to sit at the table of symbolic Arcanes and take part in this personal experience though “premonition games”.
Therefore, like in previous years, Les Arcanistes will not be merely an installation, but an event to experience on several levels: in terms of the location, the message, the matter.
Every year you present your projects in original and unique locations. How do you do your location scouting?
Location scouting is in fact a key issue for us every year. Milan is full of secret spaces that we love to discover. For our manifesto projects we always look for unexplored spaces that have never been used before, in order to turn them into surprising installations. The research procedure is very diverse, we may find these places after a meticulous research or just by chance. This year, for instance, we discovered this goldworking plant entirely by coincidence.
Les Arcanistes will be staged in a large and fascinating industrial location, where workers used to work gold in the 20th century – gold is of course the favorite material of alchemists. By doing so, the investigation into matter is strengthened by a location that already embraced transformation as a principle.
Les Arcanistes will be inaugurated during the Milan Design Week and will remain open by appointment only until May 2019. At the same time, we are working on a rich calendar of events that will animate the location even after the events of the Design Week.
What are the colors, materials and moods of the Milan Design Week this year?
This year we are working with lots of the natural colors from the materials we used in our projects, such as nickel, laminated glass developed with a new technique, marbles and stones. Overall, the color palette will be very delicate: mastic white, lavender blue, a shimmering violet, citron yellow and aquamarine green. We have chosen this color palette because we wanted the colors to be enhanced as much as possible by the beautiful natural light that fills the room.
The Mantic society, on the other hand, will be dominated by the color White. White is the seventh color, the principle from which the other six derive. Without the light emitted by the color white, the other colors could never be deciphered. And the rainbow, which includes all colors and is the communication tool used between earth and the sky, a symbol of the transition from one state to another, and from non-knowledge to knowledge. The other element is salt, which will cover the entire floor of the underground level as a symbol of purity and loyalty to oneself, a key element of interior rebirth.
The search for new materials and the interpretation of traditional ones in order to achieve interesting effects will no doubt be one of the most important topics we will discuss next week.
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