Lake Como Design Festival 2023 harmonizes contemporary design and sustainability through thematic exhibitions, combining innovation and heritage. This narrative links the past and the future, is organic and pioneering, and addresses climate change and resource scarcity.
The dialogue extends across time, combining traditional crafts with future innovation. A perfect balance is created between organic elements and innovative materials, to combat climate change and resource scarcity. The same process is the focus of the festival this year: exploring and connecting to creativity that transcends traditional boundaries Natural history (Natural History) by Pliny the Elder.
Lake Como Design Festival 2023
The festival occupies the historic places of Como, namely Villa Olmo, the former Ursuline monastery of San Carlo, Villa Salazar, Palazzo del Broletto, and San Pietro in the Church of Atrio. The objects displayed throughout the exhibitions reflect the teachings of the Roman world and urge us to reevaluate our impact on nature and repair its delicate balance. “The second millennium of the birth of Pliny the Elder gives us the opportunity to connect our activity with nature in its broadest sense and to investigate the relationship between humans and nature in surprising and unexpected ways,” explains Lorenzo Botti, festival founder and artistic director.
Resources take on new forms, mixing primitive materials like clay with modern detritus—industrial waste, electronic fragments—reminding us of design’s power to transform the ordinary into the extraordinary. The festival presents an eclectic mix of design: functional sculptures, everyday pieces, and unique installations, recalling the diverse roles that design plays in shaping our world.
Giovanna Massoni, curator of this year’s event and selection of Contemporary Design, in collaboration with online auction portal Catawiki, offers insight into the distinguished participants carefully selected for the exhibition: “The participants are designers, craftsmen, architects, scientists, marine engineers, ‘artists,’ she says. People from very different backgrounds and ways of approaching the culture of design, artistic research and manufacturing. The common control, the narrative chorus, lies in the understanding of the subject as a stage in the process of examination, and in this conjecture about its meaning that can and must develop. In this sense, the object requires an appropriate narrative to bring it back into wider design, understanding and evaluation.
To name a few, adding to the exceptional collection is the esteemed CGN gallery in Mexico. Thanks to careful curation by Masoni, CGN will showcase six exquisite pieces by accomplished designers, including Mattali Crasset, Gabriel Rico, Carlos Torre Hote, Edgar Orlineta, and Studio Todomota. Each of these carefully selected creations resonates with the essence of nature, and engages in meaningful conversation with Pliny’s legacy and the contemporary challenges we face. CGN’s presence at the festival marks its debut on the international stage, embodying Mexico’s avant-garde design spirit on a global scale.
This fifth edition of the festival also presents two exhibitions that will activate the historic center of Como, focusing on nature and the animal world inspired by Pliny the Elder’s book Naturalis Historia. The first is called “The Other Animal,” curated by Lorenzo Botti and Massimiliano Mondelli at the Palazzo del Broletto; The second, titled “Between Art and Nature,” is curated by Maddalena Scarzella, and displays 80 images from the collection of the Fondazione Sozzani, in the former Orsoline San Carlo monastery.
Amid the captivating panorama of Lake Como, the 2023 Design Festival is more than just an artistic celebration; It hosts essential conversations about sustainability, innovation and the evolving role of design.
The Lake Como Design Festival runs until September 24, 2023