Architecture and Design Obsession
materia design festival goes ‘on vacation’
For its eighth edition, Materia Design Festival, usually held in Catanzaro, went ‘on vacation’ and invited design enthusiasts to experience the charm of Tropea, a picturesque village in Calabria, Italy. This year’s independent design festival, held from September 27 to 30, 2023, was themed Materia on Vacation and explored the world of creativity inspired by the fascination of travel and tourism, as well as the mystical objects that can transport our imagination to distant realms.
The event, conceived and organized by Officine AD of architects Domenico Garofalo and Giuseppe Anania, was under the artistic direction of Calabrian designer Antonio Aricò who is praised on the international scene for his interdisciplinary approach. The event included a variety of exhibitions and talks, and its fourth day was introduced by designboom founder Birgit Lohmann who delivered an opening speech.
Materia on Vacation took place during September 27 to 30, 2023
Antonio Aricò presents striking inflatable installation
Materia Design Festival (find more here) is created to stimulate the creativity and craftsmanship of Calabria through collaborations with designers, leading to the development of a network involving different actors: operators, companies and institutions, generating an important induced revenue in the Mediterranean area. The key to this edition, linked to tourism, leads to a new stimulating narrative.
The latest edition of Materia took place at Villa Paola – a former convent of the Order of the Minims of St. Francis of Paola, which today serves as a hotel that accommodates travelers from across the world. The event featured several design exhibitions, as well as talks by international guests at Palazzo Santa Chiara.
One surprising element of the festival was the striking inflatable installation titled La GIGA Tropeana in the Belvedere of Piazza del Cannone, created by Antonio Aricò. Aricò also exhibited his inflatable swim rings, along with a series of both older and newer works such as the Magna Graecia and Bronzi di Riace collections.
The festival invited numerous international guests featured in the talks and highlights. Among them was Emma Bruschi, a Marseille-based designer who weaves intricate straw works drawing from old craft techniques and folklore. In addition, the event also hosted London-based designer Bethan Laura Wood and her colorful cabinets created for Nilufar.
Materia included an exhibition of products designed by young designers from all over the world who participated in the Materia in Vacanza open call. The layout of the show is curated by designer Natalia Carere, and a contamination of the works of artistic director Aricò inside Villa Paola.