Night at the Museum
October 20, 2022 | Gandia Blasco Group /
On September 21st we ended the day on the banks of the old Turia riverbed, under the dome of the Museum of Fine Arts in Valencia, a city that this year is proud to be World Design Capital. In the middle of the World Design Street Festival, coinciding with the design week and the Habitat Fair, we lived a unique night with LZF Lamps, celebrating the union between contemporary design and art.
From eight o’clock in the evening, the museum kept its doors open, exceptionally, to host an event in which we could enjoy music and gastronomy and contemplate the works of great Valencian artists such as Benlliure and Pinazo along with some of the collections of LZF Lamps and Gandia Blasco Group. The pieces remained a few more days as part of a unique exhibition in the cupula lobby of this museum, established 185 years ago and recognized for having one of the richest collections of paintings in Spain and even Europe. In fact, the Museum of Fine Arts of Valencia is the main art gallery of the Valencian Community and holds the second largest pictorial collection in Spain, bringing together works of art from the fifteenth to the nineteenth centuries.
“It is our obligation to study its collection and disseminate it, but also to project it into the future through an alliance with today’s creators. An alliance that only strengthens both the artists of the past and those of the present”, says Pablo González Tornel, director of the Musseum of Fine Arts in Valencia.
In this installation we presented ONSEN (Archiproducts Design Awards 2020), designed by Francesco Meda and David Quincoces for GANDIABLASCO, composed of semi-industrially produced outdoor furniture made from synthetic leather and stainless steel. Close behind was BUIT (Archiproducts Design Awards 2019 and NYCxDESIGN Awards 2019), by Mayice Studio also for GANDIABLASCO, which stood out for its sculptural presence in aluminium mesh and fabric – developed by Kvadrat – braided by hand.
“We wanted to exhibit furniture with character, which we consider iconic, sculptural and recognized nationally and internationally. We believe that contemporary design can offer a different reading of the past by placing it next to classic works of art, in this case with those exhibited at the Museum of Fine Arts in Valencia, the second most important art gallery in Spain”, explains Alejandra Gandía-Blasco, designer and deputy creative and communications director of Gandia Blasco Group.
Representing the artisanal soul of GAN, different rugs and poufs from the BANDAS SPACE collection, designed by Patricia Urquiola and produced in India by local craftswomen, showed museum visitors the value of traditional techniques, revitalized through avant-garde design.
A Mapi Millet, creative director of GAN, says: “The idea was to set up an installation with our collections in the museum hall. It had to be artistic. And it had to summarize the brand’s trajectory. So, it seemed to me that the BANDAS collection was the most appropriate. The play of volumes that the bands create as they go up, from the rugs to the different modules, and then come down, creates an almost sculptural effect and the collection is pure design, craftsmanship, innovation, sisterhood and sustainability… pure GAN.”
In the case of GAN, artisanal techniques are the avenue of expression that it makes available to the designers with whom the firm chooses to collaborate. A participatory and empathetic triangle with which both craftsmanship and design are enriched and evolve, bringing something new: “Undoubtedly, this collective force drives creative freedom and innovation. One part drives the other, all support each other, all contribute and all grow. And we all win.”
The exhibition was rounded out by two Diabla designs: GRILL,the series of geometric furniture inspired by the painting of Piet Mondrian and devised by MUT Design, and PATOSO pouf (NYCxDESIGN Awards 2022 and DNA Paris Design Awards 2022) with outdoor legs created by Alejandra Gandía-Blasco taking as a reference the method of the master Achille Castiglioni.
On the meeting points between art and design, the Valencian designer and artist emphasizes that: “art and design in one way or another can raise questions and solve problems. As the master Bruno Munari would say, they are two human activities closely linked to our creative faculty, sometimes they converge and intertwine, at other times they distance themselves. I think there are prejudices around this, I am not an expert but I see that fortunately the boundaries are blurring more and more.”
On the other hand, the iconic luminaires of the firm LZF Lamps (Spain National Craftsmanship Award 2011 and Spain National Innovation and Design Award 2020) enveloped this intervention in San Pío V museum with magic. Two of them were creations from the LIFE-SIZE series, made with the vareta technique: KOI, designed by Inocuo The Sign in collaboration with the creative director of LZF, and BIG BIRD, by Isidro Ferrer. The lobby of the Museum of Fine Arts was also illuminated by the CANDELABRO lamp, designed by Mariví Calvo, a composition of six different lamps by LZF: AGATHA, MINIMIKADO, POD, POPPY, RAINDROP and TOTEM.
For Mariví Calvo, partner and creative director of LZF Lamps, artisans are the designers of yesteryear. “For us, craftsmanship and design are all one, along with new technologies. Ideas are conceptualized through design to, subsequently, become reality through different paths,” she declares. “With our participation in Night at the Museum, we have brought masters of vareta and blown glass to the Fine Arts, and it has been quite an honour. This dialogue between art, contemporary crafts and design enriches everyone involved and helps bring the contemporary character of this great institution closer to the public.”
Coinciding with the celebration of Valencia World Design Capital 2022, this is the first time that the Museum of Fine Arts of Valencia has exhibited design pieces by LZF and Gandia Blasco Group brands. An action with a vocation to become an annual event and that is in line with the guidelines of the institution at present, the opening to contemporary creation. Events such as Night at the Museum or the exhibition “Design, silk and flowers” rescue the Valencian artisan legacy in the Museum of Fine Arts while making a nod to the current industry and contemporary creativity of the territory.
According to the museum’s director, Pablo González Tornel: “Since I became director of the Fine Arts Museum two years ago, one of my objectives has been to desacralize the institution in order to bring it closer to very different people and sensibilities. Today, as always, I would like the public to see this institution as their home, a home where art and creators of all periods will always have open doors.”
The Night at the Museum has not been the only meeting point between Gandia Blasco Group and LZF in these special weeks for Valencia, where the origins of both projects lie. Our stand at the Habitat Valencia Fair, designed by Kengo Kuma, featured the installation of six ESTELA lamps, created by Mayice Studio for LZF and handcrafted with hand-blown glass and wood veneer. These pieces illuminated the space, inspired by our Mediterranean roots and the framework of an organic path traced from Valencian wooden shutters that, like Japanese sudares, hung from the ceiling. It was a gift and a tremendous joy that Alejandra Gandía-Blasco invited us to be present in that space. Kengo Kuma’s research and work with wood is spectacular, so having the opportunity to establish that point of connection with our designs was most gratifying and enriching”, recalls Mariví Calvo.
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