Salone Milan 2010 – Barovier Toso

Salone Milan 2010 – Barovier Toso

 “Theatrical Creations in Tones of Blue”


Last year, the designer Paola Navone created a striking installation for Richard Ginori, turning an old warehouse into a fantasy china factory with palettes of stacked white ware surrounding an island of lounge seating where visitors could relax and sip an espresso while they admired a 40-foot-high wall of china plates, all hand-painted in different bright patterns. It was a coup de theatre.

Paola at the Richard Ginori presentation, 2009

The owners of Barovier & Toso, a 700-year-old Murano glass company, were so entranced by Navone’s work that they hired her to create an equally dramatic installation. The result, tucked away in a hidden corner of SuperStudio, is a rhapsody in blue — a labyrinth of interiors including custom-made blue glassware in hues that ranged from Delft to cobalt blue.

Housed at the entrance of Superstudio in Tortona-  the ultra-marine rough cut timber backgounds off set an exquisite lighting collection.

Visitors enter a pitch-black corridor where they are greeted by a row of baroque sconces that line a wall of weathered-wood paneling. Next comes a room dominated by a startling floor-to-ceiling glass chandelier that fills the space with an almost human presence. Continuing her magical mystery tour, Navone created a forest of glass discs strung from the ceiling that beckon spectators onward. One more dramatic vignette after another follows until the bewitched audience finally comes to the exit.

Paola Navone

She Graduated in 1973 in architecture from the Turin Politecnico. Between 1970 and 1980 worked alongside Alessandro Mendini, Ettore Sottsass Jr. and Andrea Branzi in the Alchimia group, the most progressive set on the Italian design scene, developing a highly productive and stimulating avant-garde stance which gained her, in 1983, the prestigious Osaka International Design Award, bestowed for the first time that year.

Born in Turin, she later moved to Milan, although she is first and foremost a citizen of the world: driven by her extreme interest in the most widely differing cultures – particularly oriental ones – she travels a great deal, bowing to a natural inclination to cross boundaries, and not only geographical ones.

In her long and many-sided career she has switched easily between the roles of architect, designer, art director, interior designer, critic, teacher and organiser of exhibitions and events, both independently and for select clients: Abet Laminati, Armani Casa, Knoll International, Alessi, Piazza Sempione, Mondo, Driade, Orizzonti, Arcade, Oltrefrontiera, Casamilano, Antonangeli, Dada, Molteni, Natuzzi, Roche Bobois and Swarovski being only some examples.

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