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Inside the 5th Edition of the magnificent Lake Como Design Festival 2023

Choosing Naturalis Historia as its guiding theme, this event started from the observation of nature as a common thread and drew inspiration from Pliny the Elder – intrigued?

With a series of meetings, exhibitions, installations and widespread events – the fifth edition of Lake Como Design Festival 2023 took place from 16 to 24 September in the enchanting city of Como. Hosted by historic, unknown or forgotten places in the city and in the surrounding area, it made one discover the architectural and artistic heritage of its territory through a breathtakingly new cultural lens.

Lake Como Design Festival 2023
Lake Como Design Festival 2023

So what is Lake Como Design Festival?

It’s an annual themed appointment, a moment of reflection and research aiming to establish a peculiar dialogue between history, architecture, design and art – conceived and promoted by Wonderlake Como, a set of ideas and people with an extraordinary point of view. 

“Lake Como Design Festival 2023 was a real achievement for us because it allowed us to look back at the path we have taken with pride, while encouraging us to look to the future!” Lorenzo Butti, festival creator and artistic director shares. 

Additionally introducing one to the purity of Chiarella Water and letting one be enchanted by its unique freshness – Acqua Chiarella joined forces with Lake Como Design Festival as their Sponsor for the 3rd year.

Lake Como Design Festival 2023
Lake Como Design Festival 2023

As water becomes art “the story of Acqua Chiarella begins with the beauty of the Alps that surround Lake Como, where our precious liquid emerges to offer a unique and inimitable drink!” says Andrea Vaccani, founder Acqua Chiarella.

In their project signed by Lorenzo Palmeri, glass becomes a story – the predilection for engraving in conveying the logo, the choice of reliefs on the surface where the mountains and Lake Como are recognized, that is, the origin and the territory, two values foundations of the Acqua Chiarella brand.

The cap is also the subject of a design intervention, a sign line to indicate the type of water where red is for natural water and blue for the sparkling variant.

Naturalis Historia

The event chose Naturalis Historia as its guiding theme with the macro-areas of Botany, Mineralogy and Zoology, starting from the observation of nature as a common thread and drawing inspiration from the homonymous work by Pliny the Elder – born in Como in 23 AD and whose two thousandth anniversary was celebrated this year. 

“This homage to Pliny the Elder was a way to collect the great artistic and cultural heritage of this corner of the world and relate it to contemporary creativity in its most diverse facets. 

We wanted to use Naturalis Historia as a guide to move within design, art, architecture, craftsmanship and literature, offering visitors a kaleidoscope of visions and emotions that starts from Como and reaches the world!” Butti adds. 

Lake Como Design Festival 2023
Lake Como Design Festival 2023

The Naturalis Historia program included the exhibitions – Back to Nature, The Other Animals, Between Art and Nature, Stories of Fabrics, The Contemporary Design Selection as well as guided tours of the Festival and of Como’s Rationalist architecture.

Back to Nature

Set in the prestigious spaces of Villa Olmo, Back to Nature at first embodied a selection of objects and furnishing accessories from different realities united by a constant natural inspiration across different eras and production techniques.

Bringing together designers, artists, editors and galleries of modern and contemporary design – a series of projects followed one another in the different rooms of the villa, creating a unique exhibition immersed in a large Italian garden and overlooking the first basin of Lake Como.

For instance, Kris Rhus welcomed visitors with his evocative floral installation The Second Song: Falling to Earth where 30,000 flowers metaphorically streamed continuously from the abundance of the abyss above and fell towards the ground.

Here, the flowers in their collective descent generated an abundance above the geometric patterns of the ground and they seemed to create a layer of petal clouds that would nourish the earth that lies below them.

Lake Como Design Festival 2023
Lake Como Design Festival 2023

The Grieder Contemporary Gallery introduced Austrian artist Melli Ink’s delicate glass sculptures in the exhibition Mumo Forest featuring her series of pieces inspired by mushrooms and mandrake roots.

Exploring the complexity and the entanglements that exist between them and other natural elements she found the fact that they can be both healing and poisonous particularly fascinating.

Lake Como Design Festival 2023
Lake Como Design Festival 2023

Galleria Rossana Orlandi showcased the Lewit bed, born from the creative symbiosis between Draga & Aurel and the architect Giuliano dell’Uva and presented with the duvet cover Memoria and a jacquard plaid designed by Draga & Aurel, both realized by Somma1867.

A free-standing piece of furniture – it combined contemporary aesthetics with explicit references to the artistic avant-gardes of the 60’s and 70’s. 

Lake Como Design Festival 2023
Lake Como Design Festival 2023

The Contemporary Design Selection

Shedding light on climate change, scarcity of natural resources, sustainability and circularity – The Contemporary Design Selection, on the other hand, was set in Villa Salazar and was an open call dedicated to independent designers, artists, galleries and editors curated by Giovanna Massoni. 

Lake Como Design Festival 2023
Lake Como Design Festival 2023

For this initiative, it renewed its collaboration with Catawiki where the works presented would be sold through an online auction organized exclusively by the leading online auction platform and partner of the event.

When Nature Blooms

At Lake Como Design Festival 2023, FENIX and Arpa lastly presented the installation “When Nature Blooms” created in collaboration with other brands of Broadview Group – Formica, Homapal, Getacore, Westag Türen and X-KIN – within the splendid Villa Casa Bianca.

A charming multi-storey villa overlooking Como promenade, Casa Bianca was built in the mid-1920’s in Art Déco style with additional elements designed by the architect Luigi Caccia Dominioni

This site-specific set-up was created by the florist and flower stylist Letizia dei Fiori, proposing a reflection on the relationship between nature and human beings and giving the space an even more intriguing character.

Lake Como Design Festival 2023
Lake Como Design Festival 2023

The Dutch studio Van Beek & Dings crafted an intriguing composition of different settings inside the villa’s rooms – the designers utilized both FENIX and Arpa materials and other brands of Broadview Group, including Formica, Homapal, Getacore together with Westag Türen doors and X-KIN wall coverings.

FENIX matt and soft-touch surfaces were used for both setting and furnishing elements, showing the material’s extreme versatility and some of the most iconic hues of the brand’s palette, such as Rosso Jaipur, Nero Ingo and Verde Comodoro. 

Lake Como Design Festival 2023
Lake Como Design Festival 2023

From free-standing bookcases to the large kitchen, but also pedestals, dividing walls and the spectacular sunscreen panel with Moresque-inspired motifs at the top of the staircase were fabricated by the architect Caccia Dominioni. 

Arpa further entered the set-up with one of its latest innovations Tuet – taking up the classic ribbed design of wooden boiserie, this deep surface was chosen to create the bedroom’s dividing elements and to cover some furnishing elements.

Lake Como Design Festival 2023
Lake Como Design Festival 2023

Lastly, to complete the project, Formica, Homapal and Getacore materials played a fundamental role in the creation of supports and pedestals for the large plant pots. 

At times, in combination with each other, for benches, low tables, shelves, nightstands and small furniture pieces, the materials confirm the inspiring possibilities of integration between the brands and the complementary relation between companies of Broadview.

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