MODERNISM IN EUROPEAN DESIGN against
“It is important to realize that whatever we do or design has iconographic references, it comes from somewhere; any form is always metaphorical, never totally metaphysical; it is never a ‘destiny’ but always a fact with some kind of historical reference. To put an object on a base means to monumentalize it, to make everyone aware it exists.” — Ettore Sottsass
forewords by COSMA
My earliest memory of Ettore Sottsass, is of an album about Italian Design, that I bought when I was in high school, completely mesmerized by the colorful ‘Carlton’ shelf that stared on the cover.
After founding Eclecticó Studio and initiated to focus on Postmodern Design, his pieces were always around me & the more I looked for his designs, the more I found, sometimes with a magical flawless fluidity. Then came the books, his wise words, the admiration for the subtle eroticism present in his œuvre as well as his photography, soon after came gallerists, clients and collectors with whom to share the admiration for more-Ettore.
His spirit was always a guiding light, equally a constant motivation towards the discovery of his universe, the one of his collaborators and also the one of the designers he inspired. Them all together, influencing each others on multiple levels, brand marked the history of design in an unprecedented flamboyant & poetical-radical grand finale of the 20’s century.
Since few years by now, I see a growing interest in postmodern design, both at the connaisseurs inside the industry, ranging from small gallerists to big collectors, as well as inside important cultural institutions or furthermore among a new esthetics-enthusiastic generation across Asia.
What I personally miss, is an accurate, at the same time fun and witty storytelling, that on one hand manages to reconnect certain historical contexts and on the other hand, explains from a certain humorous perspective the ‘je-m'en-fichiste’ spirit of those days, unfortunately much opposed to the multiple layered conflictual times we live.
There is without a doubt, at least for me personally, a strong connection between the current Zeitgeist and the nostalgic desire of reconnection and exploration of that colorful, bold, bombastic & liberating spirit that marked the 80’s.
Sometimes we do certain things without exactly realising what we’re doing, sometimes things take shape quietly without an immediate intention and then again, things crystallize & start to align perfectly at the right moment.
Showcasing around 100 rarely seen pieces of European postmodern design (rare pieces and prototypes, pieces by creative duos, pieces designed by architects, often as a strategy to experiment outside the dogmas of architecture )
From the geographical perspective, we’ll be exploring the cross-pollination of influences starting from the historical axis Milano- Paris and expanding in concentric circles, considering the evolution of various designers who started producing their designs in Italy, which oftenly jump-started their career. In this regard, Philippe Starck worked and produced in Italy, and then in Spain, before founding XO in France; two of the most representative Czech designers, Borek Sipek and Bohuslav Horak worked as young designers in Italy as well, where new markets opened for them, sometimes resulting in solid collaborations, as in the case of Sipek and Driade. We’ll also be investigating what happened to the north, where Scandinavian countries had to reinvent themselves after being the poster boy of mid-century modern.
Since fluidity and the blending of aesthetic codes are part of the postmodern DNA, the exhibition will present a multifaceted view, following 4 directions: the brightly coloured, playful pieces of the Memphis Group, the monochromatic, minimalist aesthetic, brilliantly explored in the works of Martin Szekely or Paolo Pallucco, the biomimetism of the pieces created by Bohuslav Horak or Christophe Pillet and what we’re calling Nouveau Baroque aesthetic codes, to be found in the pieces created by Borek Sipek or those for Galerie Neotu. These are proof that postmodernism doesn’t speak in one voice, but mostly in layers, vivid juxtapositions.
Poetical Radicalism will take place in Paris, between 25th of March — 2nd of April, overlapping with events which attract the core of our target audience, such as PAD Paris and Art Paris.
Cultural workers, curators
General public interested in the history of design
Poetic Rebellions catalogue
A catalogue comprising photographs of the exhibited pieces and texts written by relevant art historians, curators and designers will be put together to celebrate and document this exhibition. The catalogue should also include an informal history of the two decades, mixing together anecdotes collected from key characters of the design scene.
Suggested guest writers and collaborators
Marco Sammicheli — curator of design, fashion, crafts sector at Triennale Milano and Superintendent of Museo del Design Italiano
Patrizia di Constanzo, design historian
Bohuslav Horak, designer
Gerard Mialet, co-Founder of Company XO
Constance Rubini, design historian and curator at MADD Bordeaux
Enrico Baleri, designer and co-founder of Baleri Italia
Cleto Munari, industrialist, collector, patron
Nathalie du Pasquier, designer
Barbara Radice, design critic, writer and editor
Philippe Thomé, design critic, writer
Christoph Radl, designer
Tom Vack, design and architectural photographer
Florine Barnet, attaché de conservation at Ubik, Agence de Philippe Starck
Eclecticó Studio was established in 2013 in Bucharest by Stefan Cosma and has since cultivated an interest towards the overlapping areas between art and design, with a penchant for sculptural objects, limited small series and unique pieces of furniture. Eclecticó Studio is now based between Bucharest and Ibiza.
The gallery specialized from the very early days in European postmodern design, assembling over the years a very broad collection of rare pieces.
Our most recent focus is the work of 80’s radical designer duo Paolo Pallucco and Mireille Rivier. Eclecticó Studio has spent the past two years sourcing and organising a retrospective of their work in March 2022 in Paris, which was very well received by the general public and the specialized press (see below), pushing the market value of these rare pieces. We are now focusing on putting together a sizable exhibition that highlights the collaborations and mix of influences involved in developing a diverse design scene at the end of the 20th century, which will coincide with Eclecticó Studio’s 10 year anniversary.
We have assembled a pan european experienced team to mirror the idea of paneuropean design
Favori Paris- communication and PR consulting
M/M Paris - graphic design studio
Corvin Cristian - collaborating on scenography