In the half of the 1990s, after the experience of Locus Solus – the art gallery founded together with Uberta Sannazzaro that, since the beginning of the 1980s, was one of the most interesting showcase of the international conceptual scene – Vittorio Dapelo decided to temporarily abandon the world of contemporary art to get back to his first passion, the industrial design, storing up in a few years about 2.000 pieces.
The idea of collecting design objects started with a research within the Italian production of the post-war period that, starting from the famous Bakelite radio Phonola designed by the Castiglioni brothers together with Luigi Caccia Dominioni and winner of the Golden Medal during the Triennial Exhibition in Milan in 1940, traces the beginning of the Compasso d’oro (Golden Compass) through objects that became then icons of the “Made in Italy”: the Zerowatt VE 505 fan by Ezio Pirali, the Olivetti Lettera 22 typewriter, the Phonola TV set, Gino Sarfatti’s lamps, the Grillo telephone by Marco Zanuso and Richard Sapper, the Eclissi lamp by Vico Magistretti for Artemide.
In an evocative 1930s exhibition space called DDD (Domestic Design Depot is one of the possible interpretations of the acronym), the collection is systematically sorted by the “curator” according to precise methods. On the shelves radios, TV sets, telephones, fans and lamps follow one another, showed in all their chromatic variation to highlight and document the serial character of the object and especially to underline their shape through the repetition of the same model in different colours: Doney and Algol TV sets designed by Marco Zanuso and Richard Sapper for Brionvega, the radio TS522 again by Zanuso for Brionvega, the portable record player Pop by Mario Bellini for Minerva, the KD 27 lamp by Joe Colombo for Kartell, only to mention some representative objects of the 1960s Italian design.
The research on the product’s serial character also concerns ceramics, glass, metals and plastics. In the rooms, divided according to the materials, the dialogue moves from industrial design to decorative arts with references to different times and places, underlining Dapelo’s enormous knowledge and culture on the matter.
As far as ceramics, from Richard Ginori production – with Gio Ponti and Giovanni Gariboldi – and the Società Ceramica Italiana di Laveno – with Guido Andlovitz and Antonia Campi –, Dapelo selects the vases and services with the most essential lines in their various chromatic solutions and matches them to the vases by Keith Murray for Wedgwood, to the American Modern service by Russell Wright, to Eva Zeisel’s ceramics, suggesting daring linguistic references within European and American ceramics production of the period between the 1930s and the 1950s.
Getting back to the Italian scene, Dapelo collects the futurist ceramics from Albisola and compares them to the American production of those years, like the famous Fiesta service or the fridge jug Hercules by Palin Thorley. The aerodynamic shape of these items reflects the Streamline style that was typical of American industrial design of the 1930s, of which the DDD owns the most important names: Norman Bel Geddes, Henry Dreyfuss, Walter Dorwin Teague, Isamu Noguchi, Kem Weber, John Vassos and finally Raymond Loewy, famous for being “the man who shaped America”.