wonders of craftsmanship protagonists in Venice- Corriere.it

by Gian Luca Bauzano

The Michelangelo Foundation’s international exhibition celebrates Japan and its “Living Treasures”. But also haute couture, haute couture and high jewellery: from Dolce & Gabbana to Schiaparelli and Van Cleef & Arpels, addressing young people and about sustainability

The charm of Venice, perhaps more than it seems on a first postcard reading, lies in the fact of its the place of constant rebirth† It even has an opera house with a mythical name: La Fenice. In Venice everything can be built, everything can reappear. So it was for the second edition of Homo Faber, an international event dedicated to high craftsmanship† In September 2018 the debut edition, then four years of suspension and postponement due to the pandemic and now the return in top form. The protagonists are the “living treasures of Europe and Japan”, the focus of this event which reads in the subtitle: Creating a more human future, creating a more human future† Where the hands of man are, the artisans of all kinds, origins and ages, the engine (All images published Courtesy Michelangelo Foundation).

The second edition of Homo Faber can be visited until May 1, 2022 (homofaber.com); event organized by Michelangelo Foundation for Creativity and Craftsmanship, thanks to the general curatorship of Alberto Cavalli, Executive Director of the Foundation itself.


Michelangelo, born in 2016, is the expression of cultural patronage lived together by Johann Rupert, founder and CEO of the Richemont group, and Franco Cologni, creator of the eponymous foundation in Milan. The setting of Homo Faber is very suggestive, the Giorgio Cini Foundation complex on the island of San Giorgio Maggiore: exceptional opening of some spaces such as the Longhena library or the former Gandini pool, usually closed to the public.

In addition to the unique experience of visiting the Cini dei Foundation 15 pavilions designed by 22 different curators, is added to the discovery of the so-called 12 Japanese National Living Treasures, that is, creators / creatives to be preserved as unique treasures, custodians of important intangible cultural properties. Not only. Leaving the island of San Giorgio, you have the opportunity to: meet the Venetian artisans† From weavers to shoemakers, from the legendary Murano glassmakers to master craftsmen who build gondolas such as those of historic squero Tramontin & Figli, since 1884 ai forcolai, that is, who, in slang, makes the forcola, the wooden base on which the strap rests: how Piero Dri, graduated in astrophysics and now in love with his work with the laboratory called Il Forcolaio Matto in the heart of the Serenissima.

Materials, techniques, origin and respective skills of more than 350 designers and craftsmen from 30 countries around the world have been selected and invited to the lagoon for this international event born of the collaboration between the Michelangelo, Japan, Cologni dei Mestieri d’Arte and Giorgio Cini foundations. Multiple points of view† The protagonist, in addition to the amazing manual skills of the craftsmen, is the will to keep the activities and then a professional outlet for the new generations.

About a hundred students were also chosen as “guides” in the various pavilions. Without forgetting how much the artisans work with reuse, reprocessing and recycling of materials is inextricably linked to the constant process of transforming the planet into a world of sustainability

The exhibition trajectory within the Cini Foundation has been studied as a story in chapters with high impact and suggestion. As is the case with the sections in dialogue The garden of the 12 stones edited by Naoto Fukasawa with Tokugo Uchida e Next of Europe signed by Stefano Boeri with his studio and Jean Blancheart† The first pavilion celebrates the 12 Living National Treasures Of Japan, masters of the art with an excellent command of traditional techniques considered an integral part of Japan’s cultural heritage. While the second is represented as cabinet of curiosities with items made by master craftsmen with a dual role: symbol of the best European masters of art, but also keepers and means to pass on their knowledge to the new generations.

The universe linked to fashion and the constellation of connected excellences has chosen as a connecting word: haute. In all its translations. The protagonists are: Haute couture, Haute watches and Haute jewelry, but also masterpieces of perfumery and leather† Categories that can be seen and touched on site. In the pavilion Details: genealogies of the ornament, edited by Judith Clark, 15 international brands tell their story thanks to the presence of their masters.

The micro-studios are arranged between installations featuring Haute Couture and Haute Couture creations with resounding names such as Schiaparelli and Roberto Capucci, Alaia but also Chiso’s imaginative yuzen kimonos. Dolce & Gabbana wanted to tell about their prestigious heritage linked to haute couture for men with clothing with royal embroidery, but also with the presence of a master tailor: he tells the details with his hands and voice, reveals the secrets associated with the birth of a “tailor-made” dress.

For their part, the sorcerers of the French High Jewels of Van Cleef & Arpels, reveal the secrets of one of the brand’s best known and most celebrated historical pieces, the Zip necklaceborn from an avant-garde idea in the 1930s of Wallis Simpson.
The path is then enriched with names related to:Haute Horlogerie: A. Lange & Sohne, Piaget, Vacheron Constantin (in collaboration with the Louvre) and Jaeger-LeCoutre† And again the high jewels of Cartier and Buccellati; the unique scents of Aquaflor and the effect of Serapian, Herms and Lemari. Without forgetting the “responsible” luxury of the project Yoox Net – Porter & The Prince’s Foundation, a collaborative project launched in 2020 to strengthen sartorial skills and professionally train apprentices in the UK and Italyuntil.

Among precious incunabula, that of the Longhena library, in a real chest, represented the world of porcelain, with a theory of masterpieces chosen by David Camo and Frdric Bodet to give life to The virtuosos of porcelain, dialogue between artists of the Rising Sun, Katsuyo Aoki, with other Europeans Tamsin van Essen and Ruth Gurvich.

Two essential themes in Venice: glass and theater† Here’s that around Beauty in bloom, curated by Michelangelo Foundationinterior designer Sylvain Rocca has created an enchanting garden in close dialogue with the vases of historic Venini glass factoryborn for the occasion thinking of the floral compositions signed by a selection of the best international floral designers.

Instead, he could just be the imaginative director Bob Wilson, creator of the pavilion created in the former Gandini Pool and titled Attendere nell’ombrosa Quiete† Kaleidoscope that has its origins in Wilson’s theater productions, in particular Madama Butterfly, Puccini’s famous opera. The former swimming pool thus becomes a stage and is accessed via a corridor illuminated by the video portraits of the Japanese choreographer Suzushi Hanayagi.

The Home Faber project goes beyond the concept of the wunderkammer. A stage of miracles, but with a deep concreteness. The demonstration of how much the manual skill, derivation of the craftsmanship is equal to the art itself. And how this world is the true future for the new generations as well as for the planet itself. Where the concept of beauty expressed in all its facets can be an elixir of life.

April 11, 2022 (change April 12, 2022 | 00:13)

Leave a Reply