Students of the Art Academy of Latvia together with Sigulda region craftsmen will create a stand at the Milan International Design Fair
Milan Design Fair Salone del Mobile. Milano is one of the largest and most influential furniture, interior and lighting design fairs in the world. After a two-year break it is once again opening its doors to design professionals and aficionados at Rho – Fiera Milano fairgrounds between June 7 and 12, celebrating its 60th anniversary. The vast affair is accompanied by an extensive event programme throughout the city of Milan, and usually every year it welcomes about 400 000 visitors from all around the world. This design arena has always been open to all kinds of material and technology innovations, and alongside these steadfastly representing also classic furniture-making traditions and top quality craftsmanship. One of the 20 pavilions – SaloneSatellite – is a space for young designers and design schools to showcase their talents. This year is the fourth time when a collaboration of students and faculty members from the Latvian Academy of Art, selected in a local competition, will be appearing at the fair.
This year’s concept of the Latvian stand "If you want to mend the world, start mending your socks" is dedicated to mending the world in a very literal sense. It embodies taking care of our world – inheriting it from the previous generations, preserving it and leaving it intact for the upcoming generations, since in its own way design shares the responsibility and the blame for the unrelenting stimulation of the industrial process and consumption.
“Fixing or “mending” the world is now more relevant than it ever was. Boundaries are violated, many political and economical formations are unravelling. Resources have been overused by mass production, and not much is left for the future generations”, says professor Barbara Ābele.
Last year working on the Baltsenior project with our senior generation who have seen war, deportations, scarcity, and researching their habits, it was concluded that by taking care of things, using them for a long time and fixing them every one of us can help mend the world at least a little bit.
The dominant image at the exhibition is a wool sock, chosen as a metaphor for any product of the 21st century that supports everyday consumption. Socks can be regarded to be one of the simplest and at the same time most indispensable garments when one is cold, and in the list of basic needs they can be ranked alongside food or a roof over one’s head.
The exhibition stand consists of two parts. One is dedicated to the life cycle and identity of a sock, consecutively depicting the stages of being knit, worn and mended. The cuff of every sock appearing at the exhibition is a copy of an 18th century original sample from the National History Museum of Latvia. These copies were knit for this exhibition by artisans from the towns of Sigulda, Mālpils and More. The golden thread used for mending is an allegorical message on how valuable a sock is – in terms of resources, time, and skills put into it, in an economic and emotional sense, and why it is worth mending.
The other part is a large textile installation made of nearly half a thousand new and worn out handmade socks that have been donated for the exhibition, followed by personal stories posted on a dedicated Instagram account.
One of curators, professor Ieva Krūmiņa of the Latvian Academy of Art reveal the background story: “This is the third concept developed and matured together with our students over a long while during the years of “the great intermission”. Several groups of students have meanwhile graduated from the academy, but all of the ideas are united by a responsible attitude to the world, looking to find what a creative individual can do to diminish mass consumption and cause the least possible harm to the environment with their activities.”
The concept and the exhibits were created in collaboration between the Art Academy of Latvia and Sigulda Culture Centre "Siguldas Devons", Mālpils Culture Centre and artisans from Sigulda region who shared their knowledge and competences at BaltSe@nioR project workshops.
"It is quite a challenge to participate in such a large-scale exhibition together with young artists and designers from the Art Academy and to integrate our craft skills into the contemporary design space," adds Zanda Dūdiņa-Spoģe from Sigulda Devons.
Previous Art Academy of Latvia projects at SaloneSatellite – Cradle, 2004, Minimum/ Maximum, 2007, Welcome on board, 2015.
Barbara Ābele, Ieva Krūmiņa, Irēna Andrejeva, Liene Jākobsone, Matīss Zvaigzne, Ilze Dobele, Vineta Kreigere, Jānis Gailītis, Jānis Auniņš, Laura Ozola.
Students of Textile Art, Interior Design, Graphic design departments at the Art Academy of Latvia: Šarlote Baškevica, Una Valtere, Ilona Valaine-Blekte, Dace Grīnberga, Maruta Konceviča, Karīna Auziņa, Ketlīna Priede, Beatrise Lasmane.
Sigulda Culture Centre “Siguldas Devons”: Zanda Dūdiņa-Spoģe, deputy director for grass-roots collective work.
Artisans from Sigulda region (Sigulda, Mālpils, More): Inguna Sīmansone, Lauma Krastiņa, Gundega Ozola, Gundega Pētersone, Agnese Kantiševa, Tija Špaca.
Venue and opening times
June 7 – 12, 2022
Rho – Fiera Milano
Strada Statale Sempione, 28, 20017 Rho MI, Italy
SaloneSatellite pavillion, stand S15