Visionnaire with its flagship store in Piazza Cavour, inaugurated in Brera in 2008, fully reflects its multifaceted identity which, over the years, has seen an important development due to research into current and innovative issues in the world of art and design. In 2,000 square metres of what was originally the historic “Cinema Cavour”, we find various thematic areas and the Wunderkammer gallery, which, like a room of wonders, is a true cultural programming area where projects and collections take shape in collaboration with architects, artists and designers. We talked about art, research, future projects and NFT with Marco Morandini, curator of the Wunderkammer Visionnaire.
The link with art is very important to Visionnaire, as witnessed by the Wunderkammer project inaugurated in 2008. When did you decide to develop and make the NFT theme your own?
We are witnessing a technological revolution that provides highly sophisticated tools to visionary and forward-thinking creatives around the world. It was inevitable to present ourselves on the occasion of this 60th edition of the Salone del Mobile with a project that would allow us to experiment with new languages. After all, we have always operated in this way, whether it is to draw inspiration from reading a book, watching a film or a dance performance, this time we let ourselves be carried away by the curiosity for a new technology in order to create a bridge between reality and the digital universe. We are only at the beginning, we do not know what the future holds and what the possible opportunities will be, but Visionnaire as a brand trendsetter believes that the only way to understand the changes is to get involved without waiting at the window. Furthermore, today there are technologies that, compared to even a few months ago, allow you to register NFTs on the blockchain, making them 99% less expensive in terms of energy used. This aspect for benefit companies like Visionnaire is extremely important and has prompted us to continue.
What opportunities as a design company have you intercepted?
We are in new territories: NFT technologies that act as certificates of authenticity written on the blockchain, surreal worlds created and displayed on ultra-thin monitors … but the Carrara marble sculpture that represents our contemporary interpretation of the famous Apollo of the Belvedere exhibited in the Vatican Gardens in Rome is an exceptional artefact and keeps us anchored to reality, to our values, to the artisan culture of Made in Italy. Making it by hand required more than 70 hours of polishing, after a first roughing with a 5-axis cutter, touching it live is a unique experience and reminds us of the masterpieces of our Italian artists of the past such as Michelangelo or Canova. It was not easy to evaluate this operation, set a price and quantify it in cryptocurrencies. There are centuries of art history in between. Currently, the NFT + is composed of the one-piece sculpture and its digital video, for sale at auction on the 4ART marketplace. But beyond the economic value of the operation, we were interested in exploring new forms of communication.
On the occasion of the Brera Design Week 2022, you unveiled your collaboration with the American artist Jonathan Monaghan, featuring a sculpture at the Wunderkammer combined with an NFT ‘plus’. How did this partnership come about?
We spent a year between choosing the artist, conceptualizing the project and creating the works. Jonathan Monaghan, among the numerous artists interviewed, seemed to us the most suitable one to propose the collaboration to. We liked his way of representing surreal worlds with fantasy references but steeped in contemporaneity. The idea of modeling the bust of Apollo, the highest expression of antiquity of beauty and proportions, with a capitonné finish typical of the world of furniture also seemed like a good argument to us.
How did the project land at the 60th edition of the Salone del Mobile?
We have set up a beautiful exhibition in Wunderkammer where until September it is possible to see the sculpture and videos, moreover from the dedicated website (www.visionnaire-nft.com) you can retrieve information on the various steps of the project and tutorials for the curious who want to learn more about these issues.
Will the interest that the design industry has shown in the past year in the topic of NFT continue in the future?
The digital world will increasingly become part of our daily life, it will help to amplify and make the shopping experience more exciting, but it will never replace the physical part of our life.
Born in Turin in 1971, an architect by training and with a Master in Business Communication, he is passionate about contemporary art. Since 2008 he has curated the artistic proposal and research projects for Visionnaire, the reference meta-luxury brand in
the Made in Italy interior design sector. The contamination of languages between art and design, with particular attention to artisan excellence, characterizes the activity of the Wunderkammer, the gallery inside the Milanese flagship store whose programming follows.