Atlante Immateriale


Atlante Immateriale is the project presented by Nationhood to open the new season of the Circolo del Design in Turin. The project consisted of an exhibition and a publication dedicated to the role of artisanship in contemporary society, its relations with design and its repercussions on the ground. The exhibition is a homage to intangible know-how and the sanctity of design. Artisanship is examined as the linchpin between the idea and the project that it presently represents in the panorama of contemporary design. The exhibition not only confirms its fundamental role in the design mechanism but introduces new languages in the use of the raw materials and objects used in the production phases. In terms of the lighting and display of the objects, the exhibition was based on a sacred and metaphysical visuality reminiscent of a church nave. The exhibition is the result of a survey of the use of four different types of material, each of which is coupled with a time-honoured, leading artisan producer in the field. The groups of materials taken into examination are stone (Italipietre), fabrics (Druetta), wood (Pedone) and iron (Berrone), and in each case the material is removed from its context to take on a new metaphysical aspect. Each of the objects, displayed like a find from a dig or a relic, responds to a code and a map that the visitor can consult through a visual atlas made of unfinished objects and enigmatic bodies. Atlante Immateriale is the excavation centre, where idler pulleys, scalpels and hooks take on new meanings, becoming a reflection on the landscape and contemporary society. The exhibition not only presented objects typically used in artisanal work, but also an example of contamination between a raw material and contemporary design. Indeed, this metaphysical atlas revolves around the commissioned work made by designer Sara Ricciardi who exhibited ‘Toeletta’ (from the future Curvy Marble collection, 2019), a sculpture made of artificial Rima marble from Simone Desirò’s artisanal workshop. By reducing the marks on the materials to a minimum, the investigation into the structures of design language delved right down to the archetypes. This process had some points in common – not just visual aspects – with Arte Povera, whose underlying indestructible and poetic desire to regain possession of primary values such as the sense of the earth, nature, pure energy and human history Atlante Immateriale shares. The exhibition structure stemmed from the analysis of two different dimensions: on one hand, the three dimensions of the tools and the material in its primitive state, placed on a platform on the ground as if it were an archaeological dig; on the other, the iconographic two dimensions of the photographs on the walls showing surfaces (such as fabrics, floors…), made with the tools and the four materials in question. While the objects investigate artisanal know-how through a metaphysical language, the photos on display recover the tools’ relationship with the ground level. A fundamental part of the project was the coordination of a workshop involving students from three different institutions in Turin, the Istituto Europeo di Design, Politecnico di Torino and Accademia Albertina, which took part under the studio’s creative supervision.