Pietro Chiesa (1892â1948) TOILETTE FURNITURE, 1935 for Fontana Arte
The traditional 20th century Decorative Arts auction carried out on 18 December 2012 was organized together with a huge 220 pages catalogue entirely dedicated to Design, an appreciated sector also among international buyers that had extremely positive and encouraging results. December represented therefore a great opening for the new department that organized a sale with more than 400 lots with important objects of the well-known Italian Design: Azucena products by Ignazio Gardella, Arredoluce lamps by Angelo Lelli and those for Arteluce by Gino Sarfatti, Fontana Arte chandeliers by Pietro Chiesa and Max Ingrand, and pieces by Angelo Mangiarotti and Gio Ponti. Fontana Arte and Arredoluce Stilnovo Arteluce Sarfatti, Ponti, Ingrand and Chiesa were once again the protagonists of the auction on 18 June 2013, together with Ignazio Gardella, whose a couple of Digamma armchairs and the LiB2 bookcase were presented.
Last June Design auction was extremely successful, improving the sales, with 88% of the value sold and reaching the top of the national sales in the field.
International buyers, always attentive to the most prestigious Made in Italy brands, were a key element in the auction. This large participation of foreign buyers made the Design auction one of the most interesting appointments for foreign clients.
And talking about Gardella, on the occasion of the Salone del Mobile that, last spring, invaded Milan, the place that gave birth to Italian Design, his activity and his way of thinking became actual once again. In 1954, on “Casabella”, in an article with the title Problemi della prefabbricazione (Problems of Prefabrication), Gardella admitted to be worried for the “dangerous regression of the crafts systems”. Before 1947, to fight this issue and to propose his own method, he founded Azucena, an intermediary among producer, designer, artisan and client. The industrial process, together with the crafts tradition, gave life to the production of complex objects, formed by many parts: a surprising synthesis between rational mass production and the most refined crafts.
Last year Segno Italiano1 was founded, the design equivalent of Eataly, an reliable brand that, in addition to the production, takes care of retrieving the local crafts tradition, defending it and promoting its export all over the world. Under its protection, the well-known Chiavarina obtained great results on the global market.
The apparent contradiction between tradition and past experience and the modernist influx of the Milan environment made Gardella a predecessor of a new course, and the Digamma armchair is one of his first works which dares to get into this new course. A key object in the Azucena production, the armchair is an eclectic presence putting together a rational body, whose volumes are geometrical and essential, with sensitive and ironic ends. If, according to André Breton, it is true that “beauty will be convulsive or will not at all”2, clearly Digamma, besides its functional trait, is a beautiful piece, an homage to Italian creativity3. In this view, Dino Gavina, founder of Gavina SpA, Flos and Simon, able to sense the implications at the heart of this object, to understand its formal and cultural provocation, mixing art and industry and going beyond the concept of style or fashion, talking about Digamma said:“it represents the joy of metamorphosis, in contrast with the stiffness and the seriousness of what at the time was meant with design.”