Design | July 7, 2023 |

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Image courtesy of CID

CID – Grand-Hornu
February 12 – August 27 2023

From February 12th to August 27th 2023, the CID – Grand-Hornu presents an exhibition of nearly 1200 m2 dedicated to the work of Michele De Lucchi and his multidisciplinary studio AMDL CIRCLE (aka Circle), internationally recognized for its humanistic approach to design. The 30-person transgenerational team is dedicated to architecture, interior and product design, graphic design and installations.

At Grand-Hornu, the CIRCLE presents the humanistic approach of his projects, which focuses on human beings and their continuously evolving needs, with an exhibition divided into two itineraries that flow simultaneously and complementarily from experimentation to design and from vision to architecture. We live in an era of fundamental change determined by scientific discoveries and technological progress, and yet despite our continuous evolution, the vision we have of the future is dark and bleak. The CIRCLE believes that it is necessary to introduce a vision that places greater confidence in people’s abilities and which seeks to offer a dynamic response to increasingly difficult challenges.

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Image courtesy of Caroline Dethier

The experimental design objects of Produzione Privata, exhibited in the “Hayloft”, and the visionary architectures of the Earth Stations, described through videos and models in the “Stables”, represent the Circle’s visions to construct the scenario within which contemporary humankind acts, seeking new ideas and endeavouring to understand what aspirations are possible, all within the context of utmost regard for the planet and other human beings.

Design and experimentation: Produzione Privata.
A selection of pieces from the past and present depicts the unique identity of Produzione Privata, the design laboratory founded in 1990 by Michele De Lucchi and Sibylle Kicherer with the intent of “cultivating experimentation and encouraging craftsmanship“. They are pieces of furniture, objects and lights born from a need for pure creativity that is independent of the mechanisms of the market, and the result of research into the potential of craftsmanship to produce design objects that enhance the elemental nature of materials through unexpected forms. The subdivision by materials – ceramic, metal, wood, glass and textile – maps out the stages of a journey immersed in a dreamlike atmosphere formed of penumbra and silence, allowing the objects and the beauty of the materials to express themselves and reiterating the authenticity of handmade things.

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Image courtesy of Caroline Dethier

Architecture and Vision: Earth Stations.
Since 2018, the research of AMDL CIRCLE and Michele De Lucchi has been focused on the Earth Stations project, visionary buildings conceived to promote the well-being of people and the health of the planet. Located inside the Stables, the Earth Stations dialogue with a selection of completed projects in a dynamic narrative of videos and models, generating a truly sensual experience and revealing the fundamentals of the Circle’s architecture. Indeed, the Italian studio integrates the philosophy of the Earth Stations into the projects for its various clients, promoting human interaction and an ethical relationship with nature, considering the environment as an educator capable of influencing people’s behaviour and developing common spaces for happy and productive social cooperation.

Fertile architectures: Satellite Stations.
Particular attention is devoted to the Satellite Stations, the latest research of the Circle dedicated to “naturalizing” architecture and presented at Milan Design Week 2022. The Satellite Stations are small think tanks, greenhouses, stages and wooden pavilions that over time return to humus. The research explores the relationship between the built environment and the natural world and emphasizes the importance of creating “fertile” architectures that can nourish the soil: wooden structures that transform over time and return to the earth. The beauty and significance of these fertile architectures develop through their own evolution.

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Image courtesy of Caroline Dethier

Provocations and paradoxes: Vertical Houses.
Five models and a selection of original drawings that narrate the story of the Vertical Houses are displayed specifically for this event; architectures sprouting from the evolution of De Lucchi’s thesis at Florence University’s Faculty of Architecture in 1975. De Lucchi imagines “Tarzan’s houses” formed of overlapping volumes, unstable and counterpoised, zigzagging and converging, or directly embedded in the ground. A single design constant: to maintain the verticality of the pathways and reveal the paradoxes of the environment within which we move. The aim was to experiment with new behaviours and to encourage people to develop an awareness of their bodies and their ability to adapt. As De Lucchi says ” I wanted to lead people to the paradox, […] in order to provoke reactions. If you are stimulated to react and avoid danger, you must be aware of the reality that surrounds you also in everyday life so as to always be proactive and live each moment with intensity.”

For the first time, this exhibition presents a continuous and connected reading of the design approach of De Lucchi and his Circle: today as always, imagining architectures and objects is not a passive activity but one that involves taking an active approach to a constantly changing reality, stimulating people to respond to evolution.

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Image courtesy of Caroline Dethier

Architect, designer and artist, he was one of the leading figures of the Alchimia and Memphis movements in the 1970s and 1980s, as well as head of Design at Olivetti from 1988 to 2002. He is the creator of the world’s best-selling lamp, the Tolomeo by Artemide, which was awarded the Compasso d’Oro in 1987. He has designed furniture for the most renowned Italian and European companies and has realized architectural projects all over the world that have involved cultural, business, industrial and residential buildings. He received the Compasso d’Oro career award in 2022. He is both founder and part of AMDL CIRCLE.

AMDL CIRCLE is a multidisciplinary studio founded by Michele De Lucchi. Internationally recognized for his humanistic approach to design, he works in many fields to provide his clients with suggestive and influential projects that encompass architecture, interior design, product design and communications. The Circle’s team of architects, designers and craftspeople has worked on projects for both public and private bodies, collaborating with large companies such as Intesa Sanpaolo, Deutsche Bank, Novartis and UniCredit, and has designed buildings and exhibition display systems for the Neues Museum in Berlin and the Gallerie d’Italia in Milan, Turin and Naples. The Milanese studio has also designed lighting, products and furnishing for Alessi, Artemide, Cassina, Hermès, Poltrona Frau and Unifor.

Produzione Privata is the experimental laboratory founded in 1990 by Michele De Lucchi and Sibylle Kicherer with the aim of designing and realizing objects with the maximum freedom of expression, unfettered by the rationale of the market and industry. The experimental products from Produzione Privata incorporate AMDL CIRCLE’s holistic design approach and spring from an appreciation and knowledge of handcrafting, from humanistic philosophy and a fusion of art and architecture.

more. www.cid-grandhornu

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Image courtesy of Caroline Dethier

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