In some recent posts we looked at the return of the Space Age inspiration in collections for the next season. The trend will continue, but it will be applied to interior design during Milan Design Week with an exhibition (from 4th April to 1st May) dedicated to Pierre Cardin's "Sculptures Utilitaires" at the Galleria Carla Sozzani (Corso Como 10, Milan).
Cardin started manufacturing interior design pieces characterised by modern shapes and silhouettes from the late 1970s. The Italian fashion designer launched his furniture and home accessories interpreting them as if they were a Haute Couture collection.
Many of the pieces betrayed a derivation from Cardin's main inspirations, from geometry to the universe, and they were characterised by smooth and shiny surfaces, and by very unusual shapes and silhouettes.
Some of the pieces looked like gigantic insects; others borrowed their bold colours from the universe and their shape from the moon, while geometry also helped him coming up with unique pieces based on the intersection of basic geometric figures.
At times the funiture he designed looked like mysterious totemic sculptures: his "Eclair" cabinet (1977) is characterised by a round shape as sleek as a vinyl record, sitting on a plinth and its surface is decorated with a stylised lightning bolt.
In other cases Cardin created links and connections between a dress or a coat and an interior design piece: his "Homme et Femme" sculptures and lamps feature indeed a sensually sinuous motif that also characterised his "Espace" dress.
Most of the pieces Cardin designed were not conceived to stand against a wall, but maybe in the middle of a room, as if they were sculptures, in this way people could have admired them from a 360° perspective and may have appreciated them at their best.
When he first launched the collection Cardin hoped it could have been interpreted also as a provocation to French designers, a way to prompt them to be more creative, outrageous and experimental when it came to furniture.
The "Sculptures Utilitaires" were reinvented in 2007: inspired by natural forms and created in bright and bold colours by a Padova-based company called Forme (that also re-edited some of Cardin's more famous pieces), the new collections include tables, cabinets, desks (lacquered wood elements quite often incorporating Plexiglas elements and LED lights), chairs and lamps made at the Venice-based atelier of Cardin's nephew, Rodrigo Basilicati.
The compact exhibition at Galleria Carla Sozzani is a way to rediscover the furniture and understand why Cardin stated about his pieces: "My furniture is sculpture. I like to work as a sculptor; it's my life, my passion, my happiness and my joy. The reason of my work."
Who knows, maybe the event will even be of interest to a few young fashion designers who have been borrowing from Cardin without acknowledging the connection and maybe prompt them to launch their own interior design collections (you can bet that J.W. Anderson will do so pretty soon...).