"Perfetto" is one of the few Italian words that many foreigners know, and by which they seem to be particularly fascinated. It does not come as a surprise, then, that the international reach and yearning for momentum and positivity of the word "perfetto" inspired the name of a new online platform, created on the web and for the web, aiming at exploring the potential of product storytelling and digital exhibitions in the design field. Overcoming the physical constraints linked to space, intended both as a movement of objects and people and as the constraints imposed by pre-existing buildings, Perfettooo!'s goal is not only to host online design exhibitions but also to allow designers to design the ideal virtual container – "your dream space for your dream project" – where to showcase their works.
"We came up with the format of Perfettooo! during the coronavirus pandemic," Maria Cristina Didero, curator of the project together with Annalisa Rosso and Francesco Mainardi, tells Domus. "We started imagining a curatorial platform during the first lockdown, when the exhibitions scheduled for the last Salone del Mobile had been canceled and remote meetings and gatherings had started to invade our new daily routine. We thought that it would be interesting to use this new form of expression to tell stories and convey our activity as curators".
However, Perfettooo! isn't like any of the many digital formats we have been dealing with in the last year: it's neither a video call nor a webinar nor an online exhibition that can be visited by browsing through the various captions, as many museums currently do. Perfettooo!, which was developed with the support of the Design Museum Brussels, is more like a virtual environment or a video game, and just like these, it deepens its speculative dimension, transforming itself according to the personality or the specific research carried out by each designer. "Starting from our previous experience, we wanted to invite designers not only to exhibit one of their monographic projects, but also to think deeply about the very space that would host it," continues Annalisa Rosso. "However, we didn't want to create copy the real world: creating a virtual gallery with four walls and an entrance door seemed to us a way to replicate the physical limits of the world, too. For this reason, Perfettooo! is the perfect space, as it allows the designers to shape the ideal context for their exhibition."
The decision to give carte blanche to Objects of Common Interest, a Greek studio based between Athens and New York and founded by Eleni Petaloti and Leonidas Trampoukis, proves to be particularly congenial to the prerogatives of the platform and its launch. She is a designer, he is an architect, and in recent years the duo has stood out from the crowd thanks to their collections, often in limited editions and in the form of site-specific installations, with archetypal shapes that are never severe, but rather expressed in a dance of straight lines and semicircles. When they were invited to conceive the virtual space where to show their works, Petaloti and Trampoukis went neither for a glossy sophistication nor for a technological virtuosity. On the contrary, the uncertain resolution close to a web-first aesthetic – which is, in fact, a form of calculated archaism – creates an essential interaction for a user experience that does not look at the performance, but at the introspection stimulated by the musical score and by being invited to visit the ten rooms of the exhibition according to the poles of the conscious-unconscious opposition. Come Back Tomorrow, this is the title of the exhibition, underlines precisely this: the online visit can be repeated at will, according to the mood of that day.
Perfettooo! replicates the way a gallery works and its rituals – the press conference, the vernissage, the finissage – which, however, are not enough to restore the direct confrontation and the intensity of the relationship between the visitor and the work of art, at least according to the interpretation proposed by Object of Common Interest. This observation is not necessarily a limitation, but it opens up new possibilities: the use of laptops does not make us feel the lack of materiality, but rather motivates us to reflect on the elasticity of the virtual format and on the ability of the context to reveal new meanings and visions in the story of the product.
The next exhibitions – Perfettooo! plans to organize two a year – will highlight how flexible the format of the online exhibition platform can be in accepting the requests of new designers, their possible desire to evoke an object, and their imagination in recalling worlds and ideas that are still difficult to foresee.
- Maria Cristina Didero, Annalisa Rosso and Francesco Mainardi (Mr.Lawrence)
- Maria Cristina Didero e Annalisa Rosso
- Web development:
- Objects of Common Interest & Konstantinos Koudounis