The Director of the Triennale Design Museum, Silvana Annicchiarico, kindly invited Antonio Aricò to design and produce a limited edition of 7 prizes for the annual Piazza Mercanti 2017 XV edition. It was a great honour for Antonio to be part of this select group of Designers, which includes Alessandra Baldereschi, Lorenzo Damiani and Ilaria Marelli, to design the prizes which recognise the best entrepreneurs of Milan displaying excellence in the field of Hospitality while also working to enrich the Milanese territorial system.
For Antonio Aricò, the archetype of the prize should be a little statue, a ‘statuetta’, with a gold crown. Inspired by the work of Gio Ponti who designed a little figurine for Richard Ginori in 1930’s called ‘The Hospitality’, Antonio wanted to design an iconic and elegant little statue: the statuette L’Ospitalita. This maternal figure of a woman dressed with typical clothes from the 1600s is reminiscent of Lucia from the Promessi Sposi. The statue is decorative but modern, and made from ceramic with a “milky” satin finish. This white canvas becomes host to two symbols:
1. A crown made up of spoons represents the “Corona Lombarda”, slightly reinterpreted in an allegorical way being graphically built by a series of spoon shaped “rays”. The symbol of the spoon is also a nice ‘clin d’œil’ to food and the act of sharing, a strong typically Italian way of hosting and being hospitable.
2. A graceful chair in the hand represents the act of offering a place to sit and to feel comfortable and welcome. Both symbols become two precious jewels made of brass, showcased on the white canvas of the ‘statuette’.
The packaging is a precious cylinder of crystal like plexiglass, able to protect the work of art during transportation and they are reminiscent of the glass domes used to protect sacred statues in churches and religious places. Antonio’s fun and elegant reinterpretation of the idea of a Milanese prize is highly theatrical and poetic, yet simple and sweet at the same time.
photos f. villa