Open call. Lake Como Design Fair (until 15 July)

The curated selection of objects that in September, for the second year running, will be featured at the Lake Como Design Fair, opens its doors to architecture, inviting designers, photographers, galleries and publishers to propose their work. The deadline is 15 July.


Moving in a hybrid and fertile area on the confines between an exhibition and a commercial trade fair, between mass production and limited-edition items, the Lake Como Design Fair will be celebrating its second birthday in September. The heart of this project, co-founded together with Lorenzo Butti, is Margherita Ratti, a design curator based in Paris, who is returning to her native Como together with Andreas Kofler, an architect and urban planner and curator of the Swiss Architecture Museum (S AM) in Basel.

This year sees the opening of a new section dedicated to architecture. Architects and photographers are invited via an open call to send in their designs.  “There will be room for the most wide-ranging of projects”, explains Margherita Ratti. “We are not asking the architects to present us with classic design objects, but rather items that emerged before, during or after the creative process. As well as sketches, photographs and models, the designers can also consider other ‘casual masterpieces’; fragments of resin, polystyrene sculptures, abstract totems or forms of any other nature.”

Margherita Ratti, co-founder and curator of the Lake Como Design Fair that will take place in Como from September 20 to September 22

We already have a preview of the designs that will be featured in the exhibition, all of which will be for sale: “There will be a contribution from the French architect Inessa Hansch, who, in an ex-industrial steelworks has created five boxes, five open architectural devices dedicated to sporting activities. Hansch will be bringing a bench and photographs of the structures, produced specifically for the exhibition”, reveals Margherita. “The experimental works we will be showing include folies, produced a few years ago by Alta Volta. These are surprise boxes, numbered and signed on the outside with only the name of the designer, which contain the complete series of supports necessary to create an architectural project”.

The Lake Como Design Fair's new architecture section will be hosted inside the Palazzo del Broletto in Como

“The focus is on objects. “I put all my effort into representing them on a daily basis, beyond my work with the gallery”, says the curator. “We will be presenting hybrid objects, items that will not necessarily be shown for the first time ever, but also included for the simple reason that they are part of our imaginations. There will be no distinction between materials, because when an object is beautiful, it is simply beautiful”. One of the differences from the last edition is that the change is scale has freed the objects from their categories. Two installations characterise the section dedicated to design: “We will be bringing back Insieme Ordinato di Aste, a modular project created in the 1980s by Marco Balzarotti and produced by the Numeri company in Como, a series of modules in thermoplastic resin that can be organised in multiple configurations and that we will be presenting in the form of a long seating area that will run the length of the corridor leading into the fair”. “There will also be the work of the Slovak textile designer Karol Pichler”, Ratti continues, “who years ago presented an innovative fabric in Rio de Janeiro that was made from the weaving of ribbons made of scrap materials and sewn together with plastic stitching, creating something new from the recovery of something pre-existing.”

Colour has been used to bring together the various parts of the project: architecture, design, artistic studies and collectors’ items.
The Ridotto rooms of Teatro Sociale Como will be the base of the section dedicated to the design of the Lake Como Design Fair. Photo Francesco Arena

Creating an idealistic connection to the exhibition “Colours and forms of today’s home” that was held in Villa Olmo in 1957 and was seen as an extreme attempt to bring together architecture, art and industrial design, the project uses colour to bring together the various parts of the project – design, architecture, artistic studies and collectors’ items. “For me, colour is a form of unity. The designs will be chosen on the basis of their quality and their vision of colour, exalting the celebration of colour, while black and white will not be included in the selection”.

Titolo evento:
Lake Como Deisgn Fair
20-22 settembre 2019
Ridotto del Teatro Sociale e Palazzo del Broletto di Como
Margherita Ratti e Andreas Kofler

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