The word “design”, much abused today, means many things. It originates from the English “industrial design” which, historically, has had a very specific meaning. Nowadays, our understanding of what design is has come to include numerous sectors — everything from fashion to food.
For Fornasetti, design is always connected to decoration and this tether is guided by the principle of “practical madness”. The concept is one of the foundations of the atelier, according to which imagination and creativity are inextricably linked to the practicality of the object. Fornasetti is a land of encounter between design and art and this link has been strengthened with the birth of the Fornasetti Cult Association, an internal reality that carries out cultural research and promotes artistic projects of various kinds, remaining in constant dialogue with the atelier, effectively promoting free circulation of thought and new life.
Decoration is an art form that is intended to be applied to multiple items, not only furniture but also objects, fabrics, clothes, sets (as in set design), buildings, etc. any form of art, it is conveyed and multiplied in a thousand situations that impact our lives, not excluding the dishes that have a daily relationship with all of us. What better example than the Tema e Variazioni plates created by my father and continued by me?
At the end of the 1940s, Gio Ponti and Piero Fornasetti each imagined that they could link decoration and craftsmanship to industry, but what I call a utopia did not materialise at the time.
The intuition was born from the desire to express art on everyday objects — practical madness to be precise — through the nascent design industry.
In recent years, however, perhaps the public has understood this need and I hope that in the future we can find a way to enhance manual work by financing or subsidising activities that require slowness to perform excellence. As I’ve learned from gardening, one of my favourite hobbies, it’s important to know how to wait to see results.
Technologies are replacing many manual activities and because of this, we have to re-evaluate slow design as soul enrichment and a spiritual necessity that I hope the current and future generations will feel more and more.