During Milano Design Week 2023 you can get lost in the silver maze, guided by the soft Autostrada carpet, to discover the icons of design revisited in a modern way. Here begins the imaginative path of Ultrafavola, or rather ultrafabulus, the dreamlike installation of Centro Studi Poltronova and cc-tapis. In the large and evocative Liberty Hall, under the luminous eye of a suggestive skylight, in a maze of rooms suspended in space and time, iconic objects and unusual new proposals will be displayed as if they had jumped out of one of the over ten thousand volumes of the library of the city’s oldest cultural association that has its headquarters here.
A colorful Autostrada paved with dreams, is the carpet signed by Lapo Binazzi, a former member of the historic 1960s radical collective UFO, for the Tuscan company. Autostrada is exactly what it promises, a roadway modulated in curves (235×235 cm) and straight lines (170×240 cm) in the three different color combinations (armoured grey/raspberry pink/Indian yellow, pastel gray/telemagenta/turquoise, dove grey/sapphire blue/sprout green), in the version reissued by the visionary Florentine designer on the basis of a drawing kept in the archives. This rug, was produced in a single copy in 1990 on the occasion of the exhibition Il Dolce Stil Novo (della casa) curated by Andrea Branzi at the Fondazione Palazzo Strozzi in Florence, returns to show itself as one of the objects that were put on display to investigate the central dimension of the project that is, the home of man, “that is, our survival.
Farfalla, Prato and Cielo carpets are inspired by the lively fabric pattern designed by Archizoom Associates in 1967. Stella and Stellina are a nod to the iconic Joe armchair tribute to Joe DiMaggio. Sofo are an off-scale re-proposition of the trademark and logotype designed by Superstudio for the identity of the colourful modular seating of the same name. These rugs are “the deck of the boat” that wants to go the distance – quoting -, a beautiful and extravagant skin that a mirrored floor will contribute to make even more surprising.
With ULTRAFAVOLA, inspired by its own “best seller”, the Ultrafragola mirror designed by Ettore Sottsass, the Centro Studi Poltronova, just like in Lewis Carroll’s novel Through the Looking Glass and what Alice Found There, invites you to go beyond reflective surfaces to discover the magical dimension of part of its fantastic product catalogue. If today the mirror is an overbearingly reflective medium of the hedonistic dimension of social networks (so much so that Ultrafragola has been defined by the New York Times as “Everyone’s Favorite Selfie Mirror”), since the 1970s it has played an important role in contemporary expressive practices. The mirror is a “threshold-phenomenon” in the reflections of well-known semioticians (Umberto Eco, Sugli specchi e altri saggi “On Mirrors and Other Essays”, 1985), just as it takes on a strong symbolic value in photography as well as in the performing arts (Michelangelo Pistoletto, Mirror Pictures).
“When is reality different from how it appears?
When you look at its image reflected in a mirror.”
Thus Luigi Pirandello in I vecchi e i giovani (The Old and the Young) of 1913, recalling the myth of Narcissus, uses the mirror that “duplicates” reality by overturning its image as an ambiguous instrument that reveals truth or projects illusion, as something that can help human beings in their progression or lead them to madness. These were the suggestions for Poltronova, The Dream Factory, which tells its story using the mirror as an element of amplification of its variegated, complex identity. The visual and performative journey winds its way through eight environments, bubble rooms each dedicated to a furnishing accessory – Joe, Ultrafragola, Safari, Superonda, Plasma, Mies, Rumble and Canton in its new colours – where, in a surreal atmosphere dictated by a play of “curtains” composed of strips of metallised film and a reflecting floor, the public can walk around and let its imagination run free. On the side, products such as the lighting fixtures Gherpe – which according to Tuscan fairy tale tradition is a sea monster – Sanremo and Passiflora will amplify the playful and dreamlike dimension of the installation.