Lake Como Design Fair has just closed its doors for the year. This is their second edition, trying their hand in showing design objects at the Teatro Sociale Como and a new section that is entirely dedicated to architecture at the Palazzo del Broletto. It is one of the events trying to activate the cultural fabric of the Como/Milan area, alongside the Order of Architects who organise architectural walking tours to help disseminate knowledge about local architecture. The design event keeps its original format that is free from the constraints of stands and booths to an event that has more the trappings of an exhibition. Although, given that the fair has an open call, participants (independent designers and galleries alike) pay a small fee to participate and everything on display is for sale, it could be argued that it’s a lot more like a fair in the end; quite a democratic one at that. This years’ focus, somewhat predictably, is on colour.

Marco Cappelletti, Senza Ti Tolo, 2019
The design arm of the fair was curated by Lake Como native Margherita Ratti. She had selected 120 carefully selected design objects. Interestingly the selection includes industrial design, unique artefacts and projects commissioned especially for the fair by both established names and emerging designer-makers. The theme, albeit somewhat generic, allows the pieces to be bold; and for their focus to also inherently lean on texture and materiality.

Margherita Ratti is a design advisor and curator based in Paris. Her curatorial practice seems to mostly manifest in a keen eye, enjoyment and intuition rather than an ideology, necessarily.  Works included Elisa Uberti Utopie vases, Bloc Studio’s Ondamarmo table by Federica Elmo and Pietro Russo’s Fabrica della Luce. This comes from experience as the artistic director of the Galerie Italienne in Paris, which is specialised in the production of limited design editions. Ratti divides her time between design and architecture, working well with the second arm of the fair.

Piero Russo, La Fabbrica Della Luce. Photo by Adriano Russo.

The architectural arm was curated by Andreas Kofler, an architect and urbanist by training—including work with Theo Deutinger and Rem Koolhaaas—and a writer and curator as of late of the Swiss Architecture Museum (S AM). The theme was overarchingly colour, and Kofler wanted to create a Wunderkammer that was dedicated to this theme. The Wundercammer, housed in the great hall of the imposing Palazzo del Broletto housed experiments, 1:1 prototypes, artefacts, replicas, drawings, photographs and, most interestingly, models. The more intellectually stimulating of the two fairs, it featured pieces that highlighted the elastic boundaries of the architectural practice and the bottomless spatial imagination of the architect. Works included drawings by Ettore Sottsass, mixed media installations by Nicolas Delaroche and collages by PiM.Studio Architects.

Installation view Lake Como Design Fair, photo by Gianluca Bellomo
Installation view Lake Como Design Fair, photo by Gianluca Bellomo
“If form speaks, colour sings, with the items on show intoning all the sounds of their beautiful chromatic variations.” Writes Matteo Pirola very aptly in the catalogue. Mario Marenco once wrote “Sometimes, by looking at the sky, our eyes become blue.” I think in some ways, looking at the work gave us a fantastic heterochromia.

Among the exhibitors: independent designers (Draga & Aurel, Colucci & Colucci, Gupica, Max Lipsey, D’STUD’IO, Roger Coll, Markus Friedich Staab, Miguel Leiro, Emma Cogné, Mathieu Peyroulet Ghillini, Gianluca Landoni, Barbera-Madelli, Maria Tyakina), established designers whose works have been made for manufacturers (Piero Lissoni / Living Divani, Philippe Nigro / Manerba, Sottsass Associati / Segis, Andrea Anastasio / Et al, Maddalena Casadei / Fucina, Emanuele Magini / Campeggi) and design editors (Pretziada, JCP, Bloc Studios, Marimar with Giorgio Bonaguro, Eligo Studio). Created ad hoc: the light solar-powered sculpture by Pietro Russo, Twins a pair of terracotta small tables by Millim Studio, Circle-Game by Michele Seppia for NERO design gallery, the bookcase with coloured uprights by studiointervallo, the limited edition chairs by Alban le Henry for Colos, the double vase by Alain Berteau for Atelier Jespers, the new Diatomée vases by Garnier & Linker and Spazio Nobile and the works of Fict Studio, Charles Antoine Chappuis and Elisa Uberti. There will also be contemporary objects produced by the galleries including a mirror from Studio Briand&Berthereau for éditions du coté and the one from Studio Minale-Maeda for ToolsGalerie, the resin carpets of Matteo Pellegrini for Camp Design Gallery, the objects / sculptures by Duccio Maria Gambi for Numeroventi, the oggetti possibili of Zaven for Galleria Luisa delle Piane and the works of the artists Mia E Goransson and Kaja Upelj for Officine Saffi.

Installation view Lake Como Design Fair, photo by Gianluca Bellomo
Installation view Lake Como Design Fair, photo by Gianluca Bellomo
Installation view Lake Como Design Fair, photo by Gianluca Bellomo
Abinal Ropars, Bowling in Alger. Arte Factory.
Teatro Sociale
Installation view Lake Como Design Fair, photo by Gianluca Bellomo
Emma Cogne, Systeme Turborama.
Inessa Hansch, Belverede. Photo by Hansch
Palazzo del Broletto
Officine Saffi, Mia Goransson. Photo by Officine Saffi
Margherita Ratti by Constance Gennari
Andreas Kofler by Laurent Champoussin
S AM Architects, Tirana Central Park Facade Fragment
Studio Briand Berthereau, Le Rayon Vert. Photo by Claudia Lederer
Jacopo Valentini
Isabella Sassi Farias