The XXII International Triennale di Milano, titled Broken Nature: Design takes on human survival and curated by Paola Antonelli, opened on March 1 and runs until September 1, 2019.
The thematic exhibition is an in-depth exploration of the strands that connect humans to the natural environment that have been intensely compromised, if not entirely severed, over the years. The aim of the exhibition is to make the public understand that the design industry is changing radically, and human beings have to urgently reconsider their relationship with the environment and mother Earth. As Paola Antonelli states “We need tools and proposals from designers, scientists and researchers from around the world to mend the compromised relationship between man and nature. I call it “restorative design”.
There are about 100 projects in the main exhibition on the first floor of the Palazzo dell’Arte in Milan: from Adidas sneakers made with plastic recovered to the oceans to furnishings by Kosuke Araki made with food scraps, glasses and fabrics by Dutch designers Brecht Duijf and Lenneke Langenhuijsen – Burò Bélen (show the contrast the sun’s rays, replacing sunscreens that pollute the sea). There is the Capsula Mundi by Anna Citelli and Roul Bretzel in wood and plaster, a kind of urn made of biodegradable material, containing the ashes of a deceased which will then turn into a tree: a way to transform cemeteries into forests of memory. There is the collection of office furniture made with electronic scraps signed by the duo Forma phantom and the Birdsong installation by the Lebanese collective Sigil, as a symbol of the confrontation between man and nature. There are articulated themes, but also space for surprise.
The installation The Nation of Plants by neurobiologist Stefano Mancuso explains how intelligence and the adaptive spirit of plants are models to be adapted to survive in a seriously compromised ecosystem. Plants are the largest nation on the planet: there are three thousand billion existing specimens, equal to 85% of living species. The exhibition is a real show and it clearly appeals to reforestation and “urban forestation”. Another remarkable work that deals with the ecosystem theme is the multimedia installation “The Great Orchestra of Animals”, commissioned by the Foundation Cartier of Paris, and signed by the London studio United Visual Artists – UVA. Elaborated on the studies of the American environmentalist musician Bernie Krause, it reveals itself as an extraordinary sound archive (over 5,000 hours) of natural habitats that includes terrestrial and marine species from all over the world. The XXII Triennale avails itself of the contribution of twenty-three international pavilions coordinated by Marco Sammicheli and Laura Agnesi.
Among these, we point out the Holland Pavillion and Polish Pavillion.
Holland proposes a reflection on the influence of light and darkness on human behaviors and activities, while Polish Pavilion, designed by Małgorzata Gurowska and edited by Agata Szydłowska with MYCOsystem, considers the art of design as a collaboration between species.The immersive installation showcases trees, mashrooms, and humans in an interconnected system that opens new horizons for design. The project is the work of the Adam Mickiewicz Institute, which mission is to support and promote Polish culture and design on the international stage.
Austria is present with The Toilet Revolution, Circular Flows, a WC project (Eoos Viennese design) that separates the urine in the toilet, thus eliminating the nitrogen and 50% phosphorus from the water and then used as a fertilizer. Australia faces the emergence of the death of the Great Barrier Reef, while the United States focuses its exposure on 3D biofabrication, circular economy and biomimetic. For Italy, there is the Polytechnic of Milan with a contemporary library of scientific knowledge divided by natural elements (water, air, fire, and earth) and set up by Migliore + Servetto Architects. Even if they won’t solve everything by themselves, designers can bring about a radical change in human behavior, because art is able to anticipate the way for institutions to do their utmost for the good of humanity, respecting nature and the environment.
Author: Stefania Carrozzini