Studiopepe’s Manifesto Project for Milan Design Week 2019 unfolds inside a large industrial space which was used in the 1900s for the manufacturing of gold.
These previously unseen spaces house an investigation into the strong interconnection between matter and the archetypal power of symbols.
The archanists were the first chemists, holders of the arcane (secret) knowledge of the formulas used to create porcelain and for the manufacturing of matter in general, such as glass and metals.
Arcanas are also featured on the 21 tarot cards, where they represent the collective unconscious. This led to Studiopepe’s highly personal interpretation of the interplay between matter and divination.
Seven rooms in all – each an allegory of alchemist practices, such as the Vibrational Water Source, the Materioteca, the Alchemic Laboratory and so on – gathered around a central lounge where you can relax between stone chaise lounges, large leather sofas, velvet and fur-covered armchairs.
Throughout the space is alternating surfaces – stone, travertine, cement pared with coloured glass, onyx and marbles.
And a surprisingly harmonious range of colour combinations from lilac to terracotta, from cedar green to amber tones.
“Even the set-up is an alchemy of elements that awakens all the senses” ………….. Studiopepe
The real surprise is the basement, an underground space dominated by the white color and the salt floors, where three divining tables are placed.
Access here is reserved for a few guests at a time.
Accompanied by a guide, you will discover games and symbolic objects that reinterpret the reading of the Arcana.
“White because it is the principle from which the other colors derive, salt as a symbol of purity,” ……….. Studiopepe
In collaboration with partnering companies, the studio has utilised its characteristic multidisciplinary approach and creative vision to create a journey marked by designer and bespoke pieces, new editions of historic pieces, artists’ multiples, a wunderkammer of materials, a sequence of installation spaces that open up into a vast hall which acts as a backdrop to showcase the rituality of contemporary living.
Over the centuries, from Renaissance courts to Jungian psychoanalysis, forever suspended between the rational and irrational, divining practices have become increasingly complex rituals.
Here, the reading of the Arcanas is interpreted as a tool for personal growth, by studying the archetypes that the cards represent.
However, like all initiation journeys, true understanding is concealed. Located on the lower floor, a white limbo of sorts will host Società Mantica, a divining society for whom the reading of tarot cards is linked to symbols, matter and discovery.
Though the future is un-written, the answers already lie within us, they just need to be revealed by asking the right questions.
The question is the answer.
“There are two different types of people in the world, those who want to know, and those who want to believe”. F. Nietzsche