Naturalis Historia: the title of Lake Como Design Festival’s fifth edition
Inspired by the homonymous work of Pliny the Elder, the call for the Contemporary Design Selection section, curated by Giovanna Massoni and in collaboration with Catawiki, is now open
Lake Como Design Festival announces the dates of the 2023 event, that will be held from September 16th to 24th, and unveils the title of its fifth edition: Naturalis Historia.
The festival chooses the observation of nature as its leitmotif, starting from the homonymous work by Pliny the Elder, whose Como celebrates the bimillenary of the birth, which took place in 23 a.d. in the city.
Connected to this theme is the Contemporary Design Selection, the Open Call started on December 13th 2022 that will end on March 31st 2023, opened to independent designers, artists, gallery owners and publishers. This year the selection will be curated by Giovanna Massoni and all the works presented by the exhibitors will be on sale through an online auction organized exclusively by Catawiki.
“Reaching the fifth edition of Lake Como Design Festival is a great achievement for us,” says Lorenzo Butti, the festival’s creator and artistic director.
“In these years we have built a unique reality (see 2022 highlights) that manages to bring together design, art and architecture through the contamination of these disciplines and opening up to local, national and international visitors places with a high symbolic value, often closed to the public. The bi-millennium of Pliny the Elder’s birth gives us the opportunity to relate our activity to nature in its broadest sense and investigate the relationship between human and natural in surprising and unexpected ways”.
Naturalis Historia is the title of the only work by Pliny the Elder fully survived to the present day. In the 37 volumes that make up the collection, Pliny expresses his eclectic and inquisitive character through a complex treatise that moves between geography and anthropology, zoology and botany, as well as medicine, mineralogy, metalworking and the history of art.
This monumental encyclopaedia, which has been a fundamental source of knowledge for scientists and intellectuals for centuries, is the inspiration for Lake Como Design Festival 2023 and its programme of exhibitions, conferences and installations.
The theme is also the inspiration for the projects that will make up Contemporary Design Selection, dedicated to proposals from independent designers and artists, editors and galleries.
The works, selected by Lake Como Design Festival together with Giovanna Massoni from those submitted through the open call, will be exhibited during the festival in a unique location and put on sale by Catawiki, leading online auction platform and partner of the event.
The exhibition, curated by Giovanna Massoni, will focus on design as shared and interconnected repertoire of objects and experiments, of materials and technologies that challenge climate change and the scarcity of natural resources, updating Pliny’s research and work.
“Design – which has always been a collaborative act – is today more than ever an anti-disciplinary exercise: a dialogue between past and future, between vernacular manufacturing practices and technological dematerialisation, between organic materials and new biocomposite materials, between reuse processes and future scenarios where our waste becomes fossils”, Giovanna Massoni declares.
“What, in my opinion, creates a surprising link between Gaius Plinius Secundus and the new design, is not only the insatiable curiosity. Pliny the Elder composed a masterly work that combines zoology, mineralogy, botany and the history of art in the great embrace of the Naturalis Historia, suggesting an interesting exegesis of production in close correlation with the living system.
The objects we will present in this edition will contribute to creating an anthology of narratives that narrate the transition towards a world of change: mutable, imperfect, fragile, where design – no longer a discipline of anthropocentric solutions – creates experimentation and tells us how to know, evoke, repair and care for our ecosystem”.
Contemporary design has to deal increasingly often with the relationship of things and consumption with the difficulties the planet experiences, and its very survival; for this reason, the task of today’s creative people is to consider materials, tools, environment, nature and society in a new and different way.
The new design, hence, speaks of sustainability, circularity and bioecology, regenerative materials, non-extractive processes and local resources, activating interdisciplinary collaborations and production systems that are environmentally friendly, sharable, adaptable, modulable.
Eléonore Floret, Catawiki’s Senior Expert Design says: “We are thrilled to join forces with Lake Como Design Festival for the third time, offering an international digital platform to some of the most exciting emerging and established contemporary designers of 2023.
Catawiki is a treasure trove for those who are passionate about discovering hidden gems and special objects so we’re especially excited to explore this year’s theme, a tribute to the writer and naturalist Pliny the Elder and his curiosity for new and forgotten things. Our online auction will enable the work of these designers to reach our millions of global users who share a deep love for forward-thinking design.”
Head to the official website to know more.