Jotted down on paper

A star-shaped kettle by Aldo Cibic, jotted down and colored on paper with a few pencil strokes. An abstract study by Edward Barber and Jay Osgerby, whose powers of spatial observation captivates us with the clear forms shown here. And a comic-like work by Werner Aisslinger, devoted to everyday life in the Loft Cube. "The Hand of the Designer" is a collection of a total of 460 drawings by 150 international designers and architects. The works, which differ in size, represent initial ideas and concrete suggestions for architectural, furniture and product designs, thus showing a wide panorama of multi-layered collections of ideas and jokes from designers' and architects' sketchpads. Sometimes we can even recognize projects that have already been realized - yet the plethora of ideas, so it seems, is rather more fast-paced and even larger than reality.

With this exhibition and catalog project, it is safe to say that the curators Francesca Serrazenetti, Matteo Schubert and Doia Giovanola have succeeded in getting a good look behind the scenes. Freehand sketching is still relevant in the age of computer-aided design. This, in any case, is the impression the project "The Hand of the Designer" gives. The variety of drawings and collages, which will be on show at Villa Necchi Campiglio in central Milan until May 10 and will be published as a book by Moleskine in June, reveals a wonderful collection that really demonstrates creative processes. We can clearly make out the signature of individual designers even in abstract studies. With its reduced strokes, Giulio Iacchetti's colorful chalk sketch clearly shows a design approach that is also evident in the Italian's mass-produced designs. And Ora Ito's study of free forms, which move in various patterns around the space, opens up an architectural universe that is similarly visible in the designer's undulating seat shells. The exhibition deliberately offers no information as to how strongly freehand sketching is anchored in the design process. Rather, it celebrates the hand sketch as a form of expression that offers an insight into a designer's myriad ideas and lets their diverse facets speak plainly for themselves.

The sketches will be auctioned at Sotheby's Milan on June 13 - with proceeds going to "Ambiente Italiano", a national non-profit fund which will use the money to finance the renovation of Villa Necchi Campiglio.Moleskine will publish the catalog of the project, in A4 format, in June.


Text: Sandra Hofmeister

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