Bla-Bla Milano Makers @ Salone Milan 2013

Bla-Bla Milano Makers @ Salone Milan 2013


Inside “Cattedrale della Fabbrica del Vapore” Milano Makers presented the exhibition “Bla Bla” – a multifaceted exhibition: a large collection of videotaped personal declarations, and a series of exhibits with examples, concepts and experimental products made by independent designers.


bla bla milano makers

By means of collective initiatives, Milano Makers promotes and nurtures creative activities connected to the independent and non-serial production of design, taking place in Italy and beyond.


alessandro mendini (centre)





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The exhibition was divided into two sections: “Bla Bla Discussione Virtuale” and “Bla Bla Esempi

Bla Bla Discussione Virtuale” was a video installation.

An extensive collection of filmed declarations by international designers were projected in a video-loop on a large screen.

Bla Bla Esempi” was a series of small displays of objects connected to the theme of autonomous production:

“Mano e Terracotta” curator: Maria Christina Hamel; “Terra Cruda” curators: Mina Bardiani & Claudia Mendini.


Hand and Terracotta:

Maria Christina Hamel is a ceramic expert, so she was entrusted to handle the section of “Mano e Terracotta” in the Bla Bla exhibition.

Richard Sennett, in the book, “The Craftsman”, cites a quote by Kant: “The hand is the window to the mind”.

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The idea being to create a dialogue between the terracotta-which is by definition ancestral material-and with the designers and creators of today through their manual skills.  The pieces on display were small, unpolished pieces made with red clay, by hand, and made without the use of a lathe.


Why did you decide to invite the designers and the artists that exclusively use this technique?

(MCH) Using the same material and the same technique for every pieces is exalting, it’s a creative gesture.

What direct role does ceramic play in the world of design?

(MCH) It is a material that has always been around. The history of design is intertwined with ceramics in almost every way.

How would you define the pieces in the section, “Mano e Terracotta”?

(MCH) Pieces that demonstrate that art and design, in some cases, speak the same language.

What advice would you give to designers who want to rediscover this technique?

(MCH) To move forward without hesitating, the results will be stupendous.

Putting you on the side of the audience, what do you believe to be the most interesting aspect of the show?

(MCH) The fact that the pubblic can see pieces made by designers that are creative and diverse, and who have created without the arbitration of the artisans.



Terra Cruda:

Since the dawn of time, and all over the world, people have used unfired clay to make artifacts and building materials. Recently, sustainability issues have renewed the interest in this ancient material, leading to experiments at universities and the use of clay in areas stricken by emergencies.


The ecological and climate-related advantages of unfired clay are retained even when the clay is mixed with insulating or lightening agents.

The exhibition featured autonomously produced objects and the on-site building of an actual construction.Unfired clay is a material that communicates its essential characteristics with clarity: It is natural, unadulterated, durable, recyclable, able to maintain cool or warm temperatures as the living environment requires, handsome, and pleasant to the touch.

The comfort given by clay is appreciated by all of the senses, including the sixth.

Unfired clay is alive and available to everyone. It is found wherever it is needed, near at hand.

Whatever we make from clay, it will have the same color as its place of origin, which is where it will return.

The characteristics of unfired clay have not been altered by heat or processing, meaning that it goes back to the earth in the same form in which it came out.

Clay is worked by hand, and then the hands are simply rinsed with water. Clay can be molded by children and the elderly, not only by strong men.

Everywhere in the history of humanity, clay has been used in a collaborative fashion. In order to build and make repairs, the entire community would gather to work together, each contributing according to personal abilities.

Clay can be used in a collective ritual to make things that correspond to human needs, and to construct spaces that are incorporated in nature by means of a complete osmosis between people, environment, community and territory.

Designer: Federico Farina, Maddalena Ferraresi, Laura Gambardella, Sergio Sabbadini, Antonio Salvatore.

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Virtual discussion between Makers:

The concept is the comparison of several hundred verbally expressed opinions on the subject of independent production.

A compilation of this breadth has never been made before, because Makers typically act in isolation.






Theirs is an introversive modus operandi; they tend to work without exchange with like-minded individuals.

For this reason and for the lack of an adequate network, the phenomenon of independent production remains without a suitably fertile subsoil to encourage the kind of discussion that leads to the cultural growth of a coordinated system. We believe that this exhibition will be a stimulus for the shaping of critical awareness.

This is an assembly, a virtual discussion about autonomous production.

Castra Exemplorum

Installation Bla Bla Bla:

The installation “Castra Exemplorum”, of Duilio Forte – Atelier Forte, born from the idea of ​​the Roman, the “Castro”, is presented with the usual mesh ippodamea.

A major road runs along the length of the space and through a series of portals to the right and to the left provides access to the various sections of the exhibition shows.

At the center around the work “Sleipnir Praetorius” gathers section “ArkiZoic Bellum“, with the array of weapons against industry.


MIMA-Milano Makers is a new non-profit association for independent producers of design objects, without geographical boundaries.

Curator: Alessandro Mendini.

Exhibition Design: Duilio Forte.

Coordination: Cesare Castelli.

Co-producer: The Department of Culture, Fashion & Design of the City of Milan.

Sponsor: Fondazione Cologni dei Mestieri d’Arte.

Promotors of the association are:
 Cesare Castelli, Duilio Forte, Nuala Goodman, Alessandro Guerriero, Maria Christina Hamel, Francesco Mendini, Franco Raggi.


About Alessandro Mendini:


Born in Milano in 1931, graduated from the Politecnico of Milano in 1959, Mendini worked until 1970 for the architectural company Nissoli Associati.

From 1970 to 1976, he was chief editor at Casabella, innovating the magazine and orientating it towards the Radicals.

In 1973, he was a founding member of “Global Tools”.

In 1977, he founded the magazine Modo, of which he was chief editor until 1981, and in which he carried on his research on architecture and design.

His theories on ‘banal design’, to be opposed to functional and rational design, continue since the Radical years to his experience as the editor of Domus (1979-85) and his particpation in Alchymia with exhibitions and performances.

In 1979, Mendini’s was awarded the “Compasso d’oro” for his activity as a designer.

In 1981, he realised ‘Mobile Infinito’, an exhibition set up with Alchimia, and held at the Faculty of Architecture of the University of Milan.

On that occasion, he invited thirty designers, architects and artists (among which Branzi, Sottsass and Giò Ponti) to design furniture components to be assembled, and plan living environments.

From 1979 to 1988, Mendini collaborated with firms such as Alessi, Driade, Poltronova, Abet, Artemide, Zanotta and Swatch International.

Towards the end of the Eighties he took up again his activity as an architect, and also realised paintings and sculptures.

Since 1988, he has been the chief editor of the magazine Ollo. Rivista senza messaggio, which mixes images of architecture and design with advertisements, without any definite boundaries.

In 1989, he set up the ‘Atelier Mendini’.



About Duilio Forte:

Duilio Forte

Duilio Forte is an half Italian and half Swedish artist, he graduated in architecture at the Politecnico di Milano and conducts research in art with an emphasis on spatial dimension.

His work is finalized to implementation of the design of everyday life, the epic universe in which humans move.

The practical experience of the Swedish tradition with attention to the nature and simplicity come together with the large scale and complexity of Italian history, culture and art.

From childhood he lived the contrast between the two cultures as a stimulus for finding a creative synthesis, a space-time dimension where the two worlds can coexist.

February 12, 2009 on the occasion of 200 years of Darwin’s birth, he launched the movement ArkiZoic.

The ArkiZoic manifesto traces the guidelines for an artistic style based on the centrality of the spirit of life, breath, Anemos, which from 450 million years ago characterizes unequivocally the planet earth.

Duilio Forte has been nominated for the Iakov Chernikhov International Prize “Challenge of the Time”, the prize by ICIF Iakov Chernikov International Foundation reserved to young architects.

His works has been shown the 2008 and 2010 editions of the Biennale of Architecture in Venice.

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