Points of view

Three Evergreen Items!

12.04.2019 | By PAOLO BOCCHI

It’s time for Salone del Mobile, in Milan. As the city keeps filling up with connoisseurs, projects and new designs, we thought about the historic moment we’re living in and, also inspired by the title of this year’s ongoing Triennale “Broken Nature”, we’ve come up with a list of 3 items that should always be displayed – but now more than ever – in museums worldwide.

3 100% sustainable objects, 3 evergreen  items!

Brick

A humble parallelepiped made of clay that, once properly fired, becomes what the ancient Romans called “later” (brick), then returns back to earth at the end of its life cycle! The brick: a green item that has served as the basis and unit of measure for any edifice for millennia. Too often forgotten and never enough celebrated, a brick is still the most familiar object you can possibly get – no matter where in the world you are – when it comes to houses, buildings and architecture. The brick is “the beginning”, a sort of duly adapted and standardized “cornerstone” on which anyone can build their own “church”.

 

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Working as a benchmark and unit of measure, untouched by time in its humble, essential look, it has worked pragmatically over the millennia, from Ziggurats to Winery Gantenbein. And it will live on. Used by masters like Alvar Aalto, Mies Van Der Rohe, Frank Lloyd Wright, Antoni Gaudi and thousands more, the brick outlives any changing fashion. The publishing company Phaidon has celebrated this essential good with a delightful tome: “Brick”. In Berlin, a clay brick with the symbols of “Islam, Judaism and Christianity” was displayed as a unifying symbol during the finissage of the temporary structure “House of One”.

House of One is a project that will bring “Islam, Christianity and Judaism” under one roof: a building of prayer, common meeting and education. Its opening is scheduled for this April, 2019.

 

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Ice-cream cone

The word “cone” was born to name a geometrical shape, it’s true; but nowadays it is most conventionally used to refer to a treat, the ice-cream cone, to the point that “ice-cream” is unsaid. You go to the shop and ask for “a cone”, then specify the size or number of scoops. The ice-cream cone is the second green item in this odd list of “shapes-functions” that would all deserve a Compasso d’Oro award and a permanent display in museums all over the world, at least. The cone held gently with two to three fingers by the gelato or ice-cream vendor, ready to receive and prop up a multitude of flavors on their way to melt down. The cone grabbed by gluttonous hands that spin around the edible support in favor of delighted tongue slaps. The cone that, once the ice-cream is consumed, gets eaten too, disappearing completely; what in the world is more sustainable than that? The cone that – legend says – was born on 13th December of long gone 1903, in America, from the mind of Italian Italo Marchioni with patent n° 746971. A cone that – still according to the legend – was sold by Marchioni, topped with its unavoidable gelato, as early as in 1896. The cone, an edible container made of waffle or other thin biscuit-like material, always ready to carry, give and disappear. And the artistic cone, why not? Like the brainchild of Claes Oldenburg, who invented the “pop cone” in 1965. Or Ben Long’s oversized and multi-layered  work that re-defined the cone as an example of “democratic luxury”.

 

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Candle

Essential cylindric light source since the dawn of time. The step after fire for illuminating purpose. Candle that shakes due to a sudden draught, displayed in a church; candle that burns as it listens to whispered ancient prayers in religious silence. Candle that, at the end of its journey, vanishes, leaving traces of wax that can even be recomposed, if needed; a “Phoenix item”. An illustrious example of sustainability. Candles that illuminated rooms and castles, hideaways and hospitals, writers and passers-by.

Candles that brightened up cellars, duel sites, brothels. Candles that shone on the sea routes of exploring caravels, on calculations handwritten by precocious engineers and notes played by illustrious composers. Candle: liquefaction of beeswax obtained through simple, controlled heating; then collection of the precious liquid to pour it into moulds, or layer it up around wicks by immersion. Wicks that are usually made of twisted cotton threads.

Wax and cotton: simplicity that shines.

A candle was the Rabbi’s gift in the book “Traces” by Ernst Bloch;

candle that brightens up and saves a life.

Or the candle in Olafur Eliasson’s “I grew up in solitude and silence”, 1991.

Poetry in form of moulded wax.

 

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