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SUPER Baroque

Lecce in southern Italy is the setting for an exhibition that looks at how designers can confront the meaning of ethical luxury in today’s world.

By Katie Dominy / 04-06-2009

The Baroque church of San Francesco della Scarpa is the showcase for an exhibition of works that question luxury, ethics and the role of the designer.

Organized by Marco Petroni, the exhibition includes work from Droog Design with pieces from Jurgen Bey, Marijn van der Poll and Marcel Wanders and also a section by graduates from the Design Academy Eindhoven entitled ‘Design that Thinks.’

‘Design that Thinks’ was curated by graduates Giovanni Innella and Agata Jaworska, who selected twelve artworks that question the ethics of consumerism and luxury. “We actually questioned what is ethical design and we decided to look at it from various angles: forgotten craft techniques, re-use, local materials, but also projects that raise questions on consumption and consumerism”, Innella says. “At the end we had a consistent selection of works that show how designers use their conscience in the design process, reaching unexpected results.”

The premise of the exhibition is that the designer is no longer a mere shape developer, but has become an interpreter of a complex world, demanding a more conscious view on the contemporary issues, not only on the environmental level.

Featured designers from the Academy included Reinier Bosch, Agata Jaworska, Maarten Kolk, Lise Lefebvre, Sander Lucas, Anke Louwers, Lonny van Rijswijck and Thomas Traxler.

Anke Louwers showed her project Preservations; a collection of mysterious, weathered-looking vases made of preserved leather, parchment, snakeskin, and pig’s bladder. “I love the fact that the event is a combination of exhibition, performances, art, design architecture and the influences of the (history of the) area”, Louwers comments. “I think it’s great that Lecce is open and willing to make such a big project out of this.” Lise Lefebvre showcased her laser-cut necklaces.

The grandiose setting obviously made an impact on how the exhibition was viewed. “Lecce is an amazing baroque town in the very south of Italy”, Innella continues. “The exhibition was hosted in the ex-cloister of San Francesco della Scarpa in the centre of the town. It's a building from the XVI century. We liked a lot the fact that the event is not a commercial one, but rather a cultural event. Therefore you can notice a higher attention in ‘reading’ the meanings of the single projects. The audience wanted to know more about them and they would ask a lot of questions. In my opinion, the whole atmosphere was much more contemplative and focused than the usual design fairs. In general it is interesting to see design outside the traditional commercial fairs and exhibition spaces. The exhibition SUPER, with the other sections and with its seminars and debates is an interesting frame for the Design Academy works, which often require more attention for a full understanding.”

17 May until 12 July 2009

Main image: Anke Louwers, photography Rene van Hulst
Image: Collier de Perles, Lise Lefebvre
Event images courtesy of organisers

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