It was an original side of Naples on display this past week, when on the eve of new restrictions, life was still teeming. As expected, people moved with discretion, but the porousness between interiors and exteriors resisted. Distinguishing the city of Naples from others were the flashes of community life that occur behind perennially open doors, whose handles “appear to be among the mythical entities, and are only fixed to doors for symbolic purposes,” as the philosopher Alfred Sohn-Rethel once noted in 1925.
And it’s after crossing the threshold of some of these doors that from October 16-18, the second edition of EDIT Napoli unfolded, welcoming the fair dedicated to signature design. The event was presented first and foremost as an enthusiastic community of designers and makers united by a common vision — that to fuse contemporary ideas with those of ancient crafting traditions using high-quality productive processes. The idea comes from Emilia Petruccelli, an engineer turned entrepreneur and buyer along with Domitilla Dardi, curator and design historian. Together, they’ve given a voice to the stories of artisans and the aspirations of creatives, whose collaborations are galvanized and solidified in the products present at the fair itself.
With this and a great sense of deserved pride, this year, the two founders hosted 70 exhibitors between designers, companies and artisans, setting up in the spaces of the Monumental Complex of San Domenico Maggiore, a location overflowing with history that once welcomed Tommaso d’Aquino, Giordano Bruno, Tommaso Campanella, and Caravaggio among others. Here then are the results of a confrontation between designers and their unique expertise, like those on display in the Complex’s courtyard, where Margherita Rui showcases her manifesto surrounding the aesthetic of imperfection. The designer, preserving the timeless quality of artisanal products, recreates a corner of the house where an object’s singularity and its small imperfections recount the work of real hands constructing real pieces. It’s a fortuitous occasion then to introduce Margherita Rui with Sicily’s 950 ninefifty furnace, who together present a collection of claddings: the first step in a journey which, as Rui confesses, aims to bring back the celebrated Caltagirone School of Ceramics to the national market.
This diverse study also takes place in the Refectory, on the Complex’s second floor, where a meticulously precise craftsmanship pervades products with the pure geometries of small architectures. We see this in Architecture Domestiche by Margherita Fanti, in the perfect execution of works by Studio Irvine for Forma&Cemento, and in the sophisticated Tacito floor lamp of Marco Bevilacqua, where the craftsman employs the technique to curve glass.
From Venice, a traditional Rezzonico lamp arrives in the Sala del Capitolo, which, for the occasion, is unveiled dismantled. Sylcom presents the piece under the direction of Debonademeo, reinterpreting the typical working process of Venetian glass with contemporary leanings in the Festa lamps, designed by the same art directors, Lulù by Domenico Rinaldi and BonBon by Andrea Lazzari. To counterbalance the monumental dimension of the Venetian glass are the architectures of Gala Rotelli and Orsola Fontana. The former, a noted jewelry designer, presented glass objects, jugs, glasses, containers, and a diffusor vase with a particular lightness and inspiration from Calvino and De Chirico featuring curation by Orsola Fontana, who herself collaborated on two small tables and a bookcase.
The fragility of glass is contrasted by work on slag, a residue from metal working, conducted by Tipstudio. Secondo Fuoco is the name of the collection that sees the young duo of designer-makers engaged in recovering a residue from past fusions which are meticulously selected, sampled, reduced into fragments, re-assembled with wax, and re-fused in a “second flame” or “secondo fuoco”. The final result is a unique object and the starting point for a necessary reflection on the role of scraps in production. What’s more, while Made in EDIT solidifies its link to artisanal production and design with Sara Ricciardi and Simone Piva, who take center stage with ORA in a series of elements used to stimulate the reawakening of the mind and body, this year the San Domenico Complex also makes room for the new generations. Seminario is dedicated to the projects of creatives under 30 and from brands with less than 3 years of experience, who rather than entire collections have produced single pieces immediately ready for order and commercialization. Here, the young and promising Tom Robinson is highlighted along with Finemateria, a designer duo presenting the studio’s first product: a seat whose structure in tubular metal is contrasted by a polyurethane backrest. Finally, we saw Duilio Secondo Studio, whose founders have reinterpreted the theme of a primordial shelter with a wooden self-produced travel cabanon.
Just like Walter Benjamin once said, in the porous city of Naples, construction and action pervade courtyards, arcades, and stairs, where EDIT Napoli has now become one with the spaces that host it, expanding to four locations in 2020. EDIT Cult then becomes the ribs of the dislocated fair outside the San Domenico Complex: true intersections between the territory and international design. On the first floor of the National Archeological Museum, in the Hall of Frescos, Andrea Anastasio is on display with a solo show curated by Alessandro Rabottini. Under the title Aritmia, the designer presents six new collections of works in ceramics realized for Ceramiche Gatti 1928, drawing on the historic archive and exploring the savoir-faire of the artisans that have passed down the craft for almost 100 years within the atelier. Together with Martino Gamper, Anastasio is also featured within the Theater of San Carlo. Here within the oldest opera theater of Europe, Gamper presents Metamorfosi, his new collection of sofas for Moroso, while Anastasio shows two lamps for Foscarini, Madre and Filio. Meanwhile, the Gaetano Filangieri Museum has become an ideal space to celebrate twenty years of collaborations between Bosa ceramics and Jaime Hayon, with a site-specific design in the monumental Ceramic Tower. The tower, which gathers the most iconic pieces of their collaboration up until the products recently presented, is positioned in an area in which “nothing takes away from anything else”, explain Italo and Daniela Bosa, owners of the brand.
For three days, the fair showcased products in the city’s piazzas as an occasion for reflection while also relying on digital support. In doing so, EDIT has won the title as the only live fair during the season — a coincidence that invites us to reflect. With its clear position regarding the market, the fair undoubtedly encourages us to question ourselves concerning several themes. Now we’ll just have to watch (and hope) that the next fairs to come capture the proposals launched by Napoli and begin to favor a selection of high-quality products over excessive quantities, exploring the supply chain, sustainability and its involvement with the territory — among the most important issues here at EDIT.
October 16—18, 2020
Naples, Monumental Complex of San Domenico Maggiore