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Salone del Mobile 2016, Giorgio Armani and the Time of Lightness

A precise aesthetic sense pervades every collection by Giorgio Armani, created by embodying his thoughts and obsessions. This is expressed through a series of dioramas that illustrate a play on themes, referencing fashion and the activation of surprising ideas into research of an absolute style. In a cross between urban and natural scenery, where there are infinite possibilities for variations created by pairing these two opposites, the intervention of light, projecting a play of shadows and reflections, transforms regular architecture into irregular elements. Exquisite embroideries that, over time, have characterised the Armani image, are transformed into textures that are now seen in the home collection. Hence a sophisticated tailored design is created, giving each piece a new type of classical air. Mise en scène: in a new space that has just been acquired and is set to undergo a major transformation in the months to come, a temporary exhibition offers visitors the opportunity to see a preview of the new collection and discover its secrets. Specially designed for the occasion, the striking mise en scène on Corso Venezia highlights the central theme. The deep black of the walls and the dark grey Bedonia stone floor are a counterpoint to the full-height light panels on thin mesh printed with motifs of the collection, which create subtle divisions between environments. Large lanterns in delicate semi-transparent gauze hang from the ceiling, displaying images of the new accessories on all four sides. The view from outside is hidden by lightweight canvases with bamboo prints that line the windows, filtering natural light, softening it. Lightness as a goal: furniture as micro-architecture. Minimalism, simplicity and purity of line draw attention to the quality of materials and the elegant reduction of thickness, highlighted by new finishes. Texture becomes a hymn to matter, such as Himalaya shiny lacquer, with its geometric texture – in contrast to the natural texture of raffia paper, silver liquid metal lacquer that displays the grain of the wood, the brass carved liquid metal lacquer and white gold liquid metal lacquer. The rotating Luna table, thanks to a pivot in light-satined brass, is divided into several phases, with a walnut-framed structure, technical pearl gold fabric base and top in Himalaya shiny lacquer. The Leonard buffet is available in two versions: with drawers and shelves, or as a unit to hide a television. Different glosses are featured in the model: the frame is in light-coloured brushed brass, the structure in white-gold liquid metal lacquer, and the doors in brass carved liquid metal lacquer. The oval table Lewis features contrasting tops and frames in silver liquid metal lacquer with legs in black satined nickel. All pieces have been interpreted according to a new code of materials, and some designs already in the collection have been modified accordingly. The Club bar cabinet, in black straw marquetry and natural satined brass, is presented now in a limited edition of 50 numbered and signed pieces, made by hand with doors in an Ocean lacquer finish that bring to mind The Great Wave by Hokusai, while the interior is in technical pearl-gold fabric and bronze lacquer. The Freud bookcase in black straw marquetry and natural satined brass, is also available in black walnut and light-satined brass. The slender Riesling, which previously came with doors in carved walnut with a bamboo motif, or in shagreen, is now made in brass carved liquid metal lacquer. Egidio, a low table in natural parchment, is now made in black walnut, striped liquid metal lacquer and light-satined brass. Signature details In the many years since its launch, Armani/Casa has established a pure, modern tradition – where pragmatism becomes poetry - and speaks of the designer’s special feeling for decoration and accessories, and his deep passion for artisanal wares and attention to detail. A complete line for tableware is now offered. Made in Limoges porcelain, whose motif is reminiscent of fabric, the Louis dinner set is decorated with gold and platinum and is completed by the set of Lotus tableware whose placemat is made according to larger dimensions than standard ones in order to provide sufficient space for the fineries of a formal dinner. The coaster takes on the sensual grace of the lotus flower to decorate the table. Rare and precious, the Loulou set of Murano glass goblets bears witness to an extraordinary tradition. Each piece features the Armani/Casa logo and the word ‘Murano’, in addition to the year of production. More informal, the collection for the table is completed by Lord glasses and bowls, with the GA logo as a decorative element on the bottoms of the pieces. The Layer tray, in black painted birch, displays the leitmotif of the collection: the lotus flower, silkscreened on a Plexiglas base with a burlap-textured interior. Murano and couture artisanship: it was the historical ability of master glassmakers who are still able to perform the same processes of eight hundred years ago that fascinated Giorgio Armani. Enchanted by the beautiful glass refractions they can create, the designer has adopted some of their processes for Armani/Casa, which has resulted in pieces of resplendent beauty, such as those that allow for metallic inclusions and gold leaves – see the candleholders and the Lace centrepiece, obtained without the use of moulds, but rather by being mouth-blown. The Luglio series that includes centrepieces, a saucer and tea light holder is made with an ancient Murano millefiori technique used in the fifteenth century for Roman glass art. Laguna is a series of small glass bottles amalgamated with different metals, including gold, to create characteristic inclusions. Lago decorative bottles are, instead, the result of traditional processing in the furnace through the use of glass paste. Dress the body, dress things: a perfect fusion of Armani’s fashion aesthetic and philosophy of décor, the Armani/Casa Exclusive Textiles by Rubelli collection speaks of the deep bond between fashion and furniture. The collection features textures inspired by exquisite embroideries that characterise the designer's style. A few stronger colours such as ruby red, jade green and sapphire blue pair with more subdued smoky gold and smoky grey. Dreamy Japanese landscapes decorate the collection, based on the design of a fabric from the Rubelli archive. From this hand-painted velvet cloth that dates back to the early twentieth century comes Lafayette (in silk jacquard, textured with chenille). Meanwhile, Larissa is a print on uneven cotton grosgrain, featuring the GA logo, Lisbon is a fabric inspired by a crackle finish, characteristic of exquisite objects, while Lyon supports the idea of ‘dressing the home’ by taking on the softness of embroidered clothing. In this world between the everyday and fantasy is the Lux blanket in 100% cashmere with jacquard patterns of leopards, and Lumen, displaying polar bears. While Luca, in two-tone jacquard patterns, has a logoed edge finished with blanket stitch on all four sides. Wallcoverings: continuing a project that unites furniture with decoration, Precious Fibers II from the Armani/Casa Exclusive Wallcoverings Collection uses a sophisticated embroidery technique that allows for a unique texture to be created, making a proper outfit for the home. As always, special attention is paid to the choice of yarns, and supports in silk/lurex, and the wallpaper is printed and embroidered using digital technology to obtain special patterns and effects, characterised by the coming together of coordinated tones. A wide range of products features gold in all of its nuances, which in places gently turns into colder tones. Salomé looks like a regular ‘architectural’ wallpaper, but it becomes uneven when touched by natural light, creating amazing shadows and reflections. Iolanta, made on four silk panels, is a garden that fades into soft green and blue tones to become grey. Lohengrin has a pleated effect on a macro scale, which creates a three-dimensional impression in the exquisite colours of platinum and smoky gold. Bohème has a layered-material effect, unusual for a classic design in the world of wallpaper. Last is Falstaff, which stems from influences from the fashion world, and which creates a delicate moiré effect in unusual sizes.

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