We The Italians | Italian design: Piero Figura, the designer of Christmas

Italian design: Piero Figura, the designer of Christmas

Italian design: Piero Figura, the designer of Christmas

  • WTI Magazine #134 Dec 17, 2020
  • 1102

There is a lot of talk about borderline forms of expression, and in particular about contaminations between art and design. Piero Figura, Apulian by birth (from Brindisi to be exact) and Milanese by adoption, is one of the people who best interpret this desire to mix things up, not to conform to a predefined language, trying instead to wander in different stylistic areas and also carrying out passionate cultural research to give life to unique objects that oscillate between avant-garde and tradition. It's the Italian style.

As he himself explains, he was a very precocious talent, and even as a child he showed a remarkable predisposition for art. At the age of nine he made his first oil on canvas, at fourteen his first small exhibition, and then he studied architecture. He moved from Brindisi to Milan, where he opened his first atelier, 1950 Studio, in Corso di Porta Ticinese. It is that period that he signs his first collection of "Functional Sculptures".

Immediately appreciated as a designer, his objects instantly entered all the American luxury chains, such as Neiman Marcus, Saks, Bergdorf Goodman. Then it was the turn of Harrods, which even dedicated an entire window to him to celebrate the advent of the new millennium.

From there, his inspiration began to travel and his works to be distributed in many major cities around the world, including Moscow. On the wave of those successes, he signed a collaboration with Seguso Gianni Vetro of Murano - which still continues - contributing to the enhancement of a know-how, that of glass, too lightly dispersed in Italy.

In Piero Figura's creations one can first of all grasp a savoir faire that reflects the Italian style with extreme originality. In his objects, made with care and meticulousness, one immediately appreciates a remarkable manual ability of the highest level that regularly borders on artistic virtuosity.

Piero Figura's design and art follow the cadence of the seasons: the colors and shapes he imagines, both when he works as a designer and when he steps into the shoes of an artist to paint pop and conceptual paintings, always tell a precise period, a state of mind linked to the atmosphere of the moment. And one of the periods that most inspire Piero Figura's art is Christmas itself. For the holidays, he creates fascinating and evocative objects, where materials play a leading role.

For this winter 2020 he has created a cornucopia in Murano glass, which mythology says is a symbol of abundance and prosperity, which we all need in particular.

You can use it as a flower holder, or consider it as part of a collection on the theme of auspicious objects. This curious object is flanked by the gilded plate on which are engraved delicate lucky charm amulets and the Murano vase whose design echoes, fabulously, the silhouettes of pagodas and dragons of oriental tales. All objects that evoke an idea of joy and hope, concepts that Figura translates into creations rich in nuances, where everyone can find passions and inspirations.

The artistic research is then combined with the exuberant taste of a set designer, another of the roles of Piero Figura, famous for his table decorations for large Christmas receptions.

Because if it is true that Christmas 2020 will be very different from other years because of the coronavirus, the desire for warmth, the desire to decorate the house looking for something special, is even stronger.

And so here is the seductive arsenal designed by Figura for the tables of the Christmas holidays that, inspired by the fabulous banquets of the kings and queens of fairy tales, are transformed into a scenic tale for the table setting: elegant plates, a romantic candlestick and then a fruit stand so exuberant that it looks like a Christmas tree decorated with skill.

So, if for Christmas and New Year's Eve our art in the kitchen leaves a little to be desired, we can always console ourselves with an impeccable mise-en-place and in the family we will always make a “Bella Figura".