Fake Wood, Real Stone, and Imagined Foam: Our Favorite Collection from the Operae Design Fair
Sometimes it feels like there’s a new design fair every weekend, and if you made it your job to attend every single one, it would be a grueling and fairly masochistic task. But while there are some shows we’re happy to cover from abroad, there are a few we’ve been longing to attend for their sheer originality — the Design Parade in Hyéres, France, of course, and, as of late, the Operæ design fair, now in its eighth year in Turin, Italy. This year’s show was curated by Alice Stori Lichtenstein (whose design-residency-in-a-12th-century-castle we featured earlier this year) and the fair, always notable for its mix of designers and galleries, featured Sight Unseen favorites like Campbell-Rey, Carwan Gallery, Seeds, and Maniera.
It was the latter gallery who hosted our favorite presentation: a series of layered particle-board furniture developed by the Belgian firm aDVVT (a continuation of this candy-pink collection from last year’s Basel) as well as a newer series called “Light Conversation Pieces,” by the Italian architecture firm Piovenefabi. Those pieces were part of an initiative that found Lichtenstein pairing designers from 10 international galleries with Piedmontese artisans — in this case, two local brothers who specialize in the extraction and processing of Luserna, a dense metamorphic stone from the region known as “gneiss.” The monolithic stools and coffee tables have rough tops and smooth sides that turn geological processes like compression and stratification into something like an aesthetic device. The stratification also plays a neat trick, as it ties into the more artificial aesthetic of aDVVT’s collection and looks almost like that most chameleon of manmade materials itself: terrazzo foam. Check out our favorite images from the Brussels-based gallery’s presentation below.