Milano Design Week

Salone del Mobile and Fuorisalone 2024

The alchemy of materials according to Studiopepe

In an abandoned factory, once used for manufacturing gold and metals, Studiopepe stages the ancestral relationship of man with matter.

Les Arcanistes – The Future is Un/Written

The future is unwritten. In order to find out about it, you have to ask the right questions, according to Arianna Lelli Mami and Chiara Di Pinto. Their installation Les Arcanistes – The Future is Un/Written, conceived in a former industrial space that processed metals, located between Loreto and Piola Squares, returns to the format which they tried last year with the ’70s/’80s disco ambience of the Club Unseen.

The way to approach the secrets of the subconscious, according to the designers, is the Tarot Arcana, the picture cards used to reveal the future. “Arcana” means secret, and this word relates in its own way to the material world, the world of elements and the transformation of matter. In fact in the 18th and 19th centuries, “arcanist” was another name for those chemists who sought, through countless experiments, the formula to create porcelain, widespread in Germany but at the time unknown in the rest of Europe.

The Arcanists are go-betweens who create a bridge with the intangible, allowing men to understand the underlying and invisible relations that in some way make sense of the world. This is the imagery we are steeped in once we cross the threshold of the workshop where this year Studiopepe staged a visionary installation inspired by the spiritual world of the arcana. The industrial facility, an average-sized interior with a large central space around which, like the petals of a flower, we find other smaller rooms, feels like it has been lived-in, with walls that bear the signs of days and years gone by, and large windows on the roof that flood the space with sunlight. 

Les Arcanistes – The Future is Un/Written
“Les Arcanistes – The Future is Un/Written” exhibition by Studiopepe in Via Garofalo 24, Milan

The experience translates into a sequence of rooms that lead visitors along a gradual approach to the world of the arcana: from the Alchemical Lab where plants are distilled to benefit the body, to the Water Spring at the centre of a room, in an imposing stone tub, through the “Mattertheque” that explores the materials that act as experiential go-betweens in the alchemical process, up to the basement, the heart of Les Arcainistes, an intimate space where the colour white prevails, with its floors covered in coarse salt, dedicated to reading the arcana.

In some way the installation encourages a direct relationship with the emanations of the physical world – water, plants, materials and minerals – and design pieces conceived this year, bespoke, re-editions of historic pieces and art multiples support the itinerary while analysing the relationship between matter, archetypes and symbols.

Les Arcanistes – The Future is Un/Written
Created by:
Via Garofalo 24, Milan

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