Fashion is finding a foothold in Milan Design Week, kinda. There's Stone Island's material research, for one, and then there's Rick Owens' furniture exhibition — neither are necessarily related to clothing but there's that throughline of fashion design throughout.
For instance, in Owens' case, the blunt lines and aggressive silhouettes of his ready-to-wear translates to his sculptural industrial design, yielding scraggly organic shapes like angular marble thrones and his rocky bed.
"My furniture is my couture," Owens said. "I’m using rare materials and artisans with specialized skills to create unique, one-of-a-kind objects."
Often described as brutalist — it's an appropriate term, yes, but I feel like it's lost meaning in how often it's tossed around — Owens' unapologetic textile innovation and modernist forms have inspired a new generation of Italian artists, who are showcasing their work alongside some of his new creations at a Design Week exhibit hosted by Galerie Philia.
Like Owens, the selected artists utilize off-kilter fabrications to create their own rugged reinterpretations of conventional furniture.
There's Draga & Aurel Golia Stool, a round translucent slab balanced atop two thick rectangular chunks; Studio Binocle's L-shaped, marbelized 03 coffee table; Pietro Franceschini's five onyx plinths appropriately named Ode to Rick, which carry Owens' rotund vases; Morghen Studio's OPHELIA 2110 I 100 - Sunbathing in the Studio, a warping length of satin brass that hovers above it all.
As these artists and Owens well know, there's beauty in these primal creations. It satisfies the id, sure, but careful sculpting and precious materials uplift these raw forms to something more precious. Especially in a gallery space, they tread a line between Duchamp's readymades and classical marble sculpture, furniture and art.