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Abitare il Tempo - The Italian way of Design
by Vera Siegmund | 10/8/2007

"Madonna!" you are tempted to shout. After all, this year's logo for the legendary fair in Verona resembles a send up of a design icon: With two eyes and a red mouth the black armchair "Up5" (also named "Donna" for its anthropomorphous shape) laughs at the visitor together with ?Up6? ("La palla al piede"). However, the chair was embellished by no lesser than its designer himself: Gaetano Pesce, who created "Donna" in 1969. Now it has also liberated itself from its ball as ankle chain, as a broken chain suggests.The mascot-worthy metaphor stands for the close intermeshing of art and design, tradition and zeitgeist striven for by the Abitare il Tempo. From September 20 - 24, it presented for the 22nd time "firms that invest in quality products and strong project content" - and predicts a less minimalist design that increasingly liberates itself from all stylistic restrictions. Classic and modern, design and décor, everything can be combined naturally.The Abitare il Tempo is about making huge statements. Nobody here talks of "fair booths". It is all about productions. Exhibitions, projects and performances - with truly theatrical effects. As usual the special exhibitions were in Hall 8. "Mutagenesis" alone the brilliant wooden slat environment by Belgian self-made designer Arne Quinze sprawled over 4,000 m2. Dotted here and there were his "Artifacts of today and artifacts of tomorrow" - visionary products for the post-globalized society.Or you headed off "In search of Alice". A fantasy journey in a dark room accompanied by a blinking light into the world of artistic home accessories. And because the label "Made in Italy" obliges, "Italian new wave" showcased works by promising newcomers from Italian design schools while "Totemcity" presented 20 artists totems of Murano glass. Hall 7b was the venue for the "Linking People" project, which showcased re-interpretations of hospitality for the catering and hotel sector, while in Hall 9 ten Italian architects addressed in their installations the house as living space and a new way of living. This year's Abitare award went to another grand master of Italian design: Alessandro Mendini - and with him all of Italy celebrates itself as the nation of avant-garde design.

All images show the "Mutagenesis" exhibition by Arne Quinze
All images show the "Mutagenesis" exhibition by Arne Quinze