Somebody who gave himself time, took his time and knew how to bide his own time.
Somebody who got to know such great masters as Ettore Sottsass and managed to cross paths with him during that now legendary period of the Memphis group in the mid-1980s, and somebody who chose a sensitive and poetic mentor, Andrea Branzi, to teach him the tricks of the trade poised between industrial production and high craftsmanship, learning all about the pleasure of free research, often a far cry from production in large numbers and always very close to pure experimentation.
Somebody who since then, during twenty-five years work working in partnership with major industrial concerns and much niftier but equally brilliant enterprises, has always managed to choose his own pace, really taking his time and working with just a few chosen people, with whom he grew in his own thoughtful and carefully measured manner.
Somebody who deliberately shut himself away in his own (almost) silence, meticulously elaborating upon his own everyday gestures armed with his own thoughts (i.e. projects), somebody who, over the last twenty-five years, an outsider and loner deep down in his heart, has never lost his innocence, a young boy who still gets excited and a real sparkle in his eyes, somebody who has now reached a period of obvious maturity and incisiveness, while he continues to work:
- forcing and stylistically surpassing the idea of traditional padding, overcoming every kind of conventionality and continuing the ingenious and startling work of Joe Colombo, inventing objects that are soft and can be used alternatively. Somebody who thinks that the words ‘magic’, ‘spellbound’, ‘enchantment’ and ‘amazement’ are a fundamental part of our lives.
- on the form and sculptural quality of objects, designing them so that they are ‘simply’ beautiful, particularly and above all when seen in profile (“Seeing the rainbow in profile”, thanks Munari), and somebody who has not forgotten that colour, any colour, is a vital aspect of our lives, even if “it is only light” as the poets say, and in this respect he must have stolen these secrets from the great Ettore during his early years.
Somebody who thinks that the words ‘silence’, ‘serenity’, ‘intimacy’, ‘inspiration’ and ‘beauty’ are important nouns which
should never be forgotten in our work and thoughts. All words which a certain Luis Barragán pronounced on the day of his Pritzker Prize speech, so that the world of design,
which seemed intent on forgetting them, never would.
All words which seem, indeed are, the very essence of Giovanni Levanti’s personal vocabulary.
On the occasion of Salone Internazionale del Mobile 2010, Careof and Viafarini organizations for contemporary art are pleased to present Giovanni Levanti’s solo show, curated by Beppe Finessi, one year after the 2009 edition that presented the body of works of Paolo Ulian.
Several exhibitions in Italy and abroad have documented the collaboration with companies such as Campeggi, Cassina, Diamantini & Domeniconi, Domodinamica, Edra, Foscarini, Pallucco, Salviati, Twergi-Alessi, Serafino Zani.
Levanti's main purpose is not to astonish at all costs, but rather to follow an unexplored path through an ethical, patient and meticulous research, that is characterized by the multy functionality of objects. His creations are fantastic, polymorphic, varied and characterized by a multiplicity of functions, as well as by a refined and playful aesthetics. We refer for instance to the carpet-armchairs and rocking-horse armchairs.
Through the ultimate abolition of the formal obviousness, Levanti gives a new intended use to the objects, by extending their use beyond the main one. Giovanni Levanti leads a silent battle against the traditional padded furniture. Focusing on the posture of individuals, he designs sofas and chairs that envelop the body, supporting it without compulsion.
According to Levanti the project must be sustainable and has also to avoid any aggression or redundancy; the process that leads to the definition of the project must start from a close relationship with the user, translating the informations and the experiences into their cultural connotations.
The exhibition will be accompanied by a catalog published by Corraini.
Giovanni Levanti (Palermo, 1956) after graduating in architecture he moved to Milan where in 1991 opened his own studio. He starts designing for major companies in Italy and abroad, including Campeggi, Cassina, Diamantini & Domeniconi, Domodinamica, Edra, Foscarini, Marutomi, Memphis, Nagano, Pallucco Italia, Salviati, Serafino Zani, Twergi-Alessi. Amongst his major exhibitions: 2008: 1978-2008 Made in Italy, Brazilian Design Biennal, Brasilia. 2006-2007: Il Modo Italiano, Montreal, Toronto, Rovereto. 2001: Il Design in Italia, 100 oggetti, Seoul, Beijing, Shanghai, travelling exhibition. 1996: Il Design Italiano 1964-1990, Milan. 1993: La Fabbrica Estetica, Paris. 1991: Capitales Europennes du Noveau Design, Paris. 1990: Creativitalia, Tokyo. 1986: Dodici Nuovi – Memphis, Milan. Its objects has been acquired by the Permanent Collection of Italian Design of La Triennale di Milano, the design collection of the Museum of Fine Arts in Montreal and the design collection of the Musée National d’Art Moderne Georges Pompidou in Paris. Among the gained awards: Design Plus Prize 2000 at the Frankfurt Book Fair and the Premio Palermo Design in 2007, selections for the nineteenth ADI Golden Compass Award in 2001 and XXII Premios de Diseño cDIM Professionales in Valencia in 2004.
Beppe Finessi (Ferrara, 1966). Architect and teaching fellow at Politecnico di Milano, where he holds courses in Interior Design, Design and Contemporary Arts and Exhibition Techniques, he is also a design critic (from 1996 until 2007 he collaborated with Abitare magazine as design editor) and a researcher. Since several years his critical research deals with the oeuvre of the great tradition of Italian designers (Bruno Munari, Vico Magistretti, Angelo Mangiarotti, Alessandro Mendini) as well as with the protagonists of the contemporary international scene, such as Fabio Novembre and Martí Guixé.