Selected from numerous applicants by a jury consisting of Marco Sammicheli, Stine Gam, Enrico Fratesi (GamFratesi), and Ginevra Bocini (Bitossi Home), Antonio Aricò was announced as the winner of the ‘Resident Designer’ Project in early 2016. It was the first time that Antonio participated at such an exercise and being chosen amongst other talented designers was a real honour for him and his studio. The prize included a 3 month residency to be hosted in the Italian Embassador’s Residence in Copenhagen, Denmark. During this period the winner was to design a tableware collection that would be produced by Bitossi Home. During his stay Aricò found inspiration in the residence of the Italian Ambassador, being surrounded by Gio Ponti designs that had been produced by Richard Ginori and Venini among others prestigious Italian brands.
The brief set by Bitossi for this international competition asked applicants to design a collection for an important ceremony. Antonio wanted to emphasize this request in a graceful and delicate way by using a particular kind of finish that can be applied to ceramic: pearlescent lustre. He had explored this technique previously through the development of a project conducted in collaboration with Jude Glover and the students of RMIT in Australia. The resulting collection was called Australian Shells and consisted of a selection of tableware inspired by the form of seashells endemic to Australia. For this new brief, Antonio wanted to refine his ideas bringing the design to a pure concept and simple beauty: The Pearl.
‘Le Perle’ is a tea set in which the iconic symbol of a pearl becomes a module. And through repetition at different scales, all the pieces of the set are transformed into one poetic and elegant object. The Tea Pot without a handle is a pure, organic and slightly imperfect sphere able to serve the tea. The milk jug, the sugar bowl, the tray, plates and spoons all come from the simple perfection of the solid volume of a sphere. By melting the noble shape of a pearl together with a pearlescent finish applied to the ceramic forms A.Aricò plays in a fantastic way and creates a simple, fun and elegant object, as he loves doing with all his designs. During his exploratory research, Antonio designed an entire tableware collection that was much more utopist (early sketches and renderings p1,p2). The sketches were giving life to objects composed of hundreds of round pearls; each of them composing one tableware product. This vision of practical elegance and refinement seduced the jury. But, due to logistic and financial reasons, the final collection is less complex than the winning project presented initially by Antonio. This has pushed Antonio to simplify the lines reaching the design of a pure object.
Antonio explains : For me ‘Le Perle’ is a perfect synthesis between Artcrafts and Design. The finishing ‘luster’ brings freshness and ethereal beauty to the final product. The collaboration with Bitossi Home and Ginevra Bocini art director was unique in its kind. To work with a historic Italian design company where craftsmanship is at the service of artistic production and their ideas is a total “dream” for creators and designers around the world.
‘Le Perle’ is an elegant and simple concept that wants to communicate in a contemporary and easy way the idea of Absolute Beauty.