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Conversation Piece: Design is Dead


109 Thompson St. / New York / Art

“Design is dead.” This statement and the man behind it—Italian modernist Enzo Mari—are the subject of a new exhibition featuring the work of Venice-based artists Chiarastella Cattana and Yali (Marie-Rose Kahane). Mari rebuffed the “form follows function” mantra, and argued for moving past functionalism in search of beauty, depth, and wonder in design. Textiles by Cattana and works of glass by Yali (blown by hand in Murano) respond to Mari’s philosophy and are featured alongside a selection of the artist’s own work (curated by leading Italian postwar and modernist art and design expert Giorgio Mastinu). In addition to designing the exhibition, New York and Los Angeles-based architecture and design firm Charlap Hyman & Herrero have collaborated with Green River Project to create a series of large-scale molded plastic seashell lamps that give credit to another of Mari’s mantras: “Form is everything.” —J.V.

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