NOMAD Capri 2022
Eclectic works from a dozen international galleries perfectly capture the romance of the Neapolitan island.
Certosa Di Capri
6th-10th July 2022
THIS WEEK THE itinerant art and design fair NOMAD landed on the romantic island of Capri. Set in the Tyrrhenian Sea in the Bay of Naples, the island’s rugged cliffs and jewelled sea, upscale hotels and designer shops have long made it a magnet for wealthy visitors.
NOMAD has pitched camp in the sprawling fourteenth-century Certosa di San Giacomo, set high up above the southern face of the island, inviting 12 international galleries and 10 collaborative teams to occupy the majestic cloisters and spare monks’ cells.
Collectible design pieces and artworks spill through these atmospheric spaces. From London, Gallery FUMI is showing new and recent work by a dozen of its artists. Director Valerio Capo, showing The Design Edit around their selection, picks out a playful, painterly table by Jie Wu, working on a large scale with her characteristic multicoloured resin, and a yellow bench by Greek design duo Andreas Voukenas and Steven Petrides: “We wanted colour to be a big element,” Capo explains.
Max Lamb has contributed a new series of ‘Poly’ pieces – composed from offcuts of polystyrene – in this case covered in a metallic paint, while Rowan Mersch has composed a poetic, circular wall piece – ‘Placuna Mini’ – from semi-transparent windowpane oyster shells.
Another project inspired by the intense colours and vivid contrasts of Capri’s natural environment is Coralia, a joint presentation of Rossana Orlandi and design studio Draga & Aurel. Once again resin, with its delicate translucence, is the protagonist, whether lit up in the ‘Joy Circle’ lamps, or combined with raw cement in the ‘Golia’ coffee tables. Part of Draga & Aurel’s ongoing ‘Transparency Matters’ capsule collection of one-off handmade pieces, these, and the ‘Cala’ benches, achieve a powerful contrast between the smooth, bright resin, in mineral hues, which responds to the changing ambient light, and the concrete surface, which has been treated with sea salt to achieve a rough corrosion. Draga Obradovic – one half, with Aurel K. Basedow, of this Como-based atelier – comments: “We were inspired by the sea, with its colours, and the sea bed beneath. We wanted to be cheerful and vibrant.”
Spazio Nobile, from Brussels, sum up this celebration of place with their presentation ‘M’Illumino d’immenso’ – immensity fills me with light. Among the many pieces in their group exhibition are joyful pieces by Dutch designer Kiki van Eijk and French design duo Garnier and Linker (aka Guillaume Garnier and Florent Linker).
Garnier&Linker ‘Diatomée Citrin’, 2018-2022
COURTESY: Garnier&Linker & Spazio Nobile / PHOTOGRAPH: ©Margaux Nieto
“NOMAD has pitched camp in the sprawling fourteenth-century Certosa di San Giacomo”
Kiki van Eijk, ‘Spring Rush’, 2022
COURTESY: Kiki van Eijk & Spazio Nobile
“Collectible design pieces and artworks spill through these atmospheric spaces”
There is a strong presence here from the global south. Mercado Moderno from Rio de Janeiro shows new work by Ines Schertel inspired by the nearby sun-bleached beaches, while the influence of Italy on Brazilian modern design is underlined by displays of work by Lina Bo Bardi and Giuseppe Scapinelli, both Italian-born Brazilian modernists.
The Neapolitan Gallery Alfonso Artiaco instigates a dialogue across nations and generations between the work of Maria Thereza Alves (Brazil, 1961) and Diego Cibelli (Naples, 1987). Alves was the founder with Jimmie Durham of the design collective LABINAC, dedicated both to designing and making things and also to supporting the craft works of indigenous peoples in Latin America.
Meanwhile, UNNO gallery from Mexico City has brought an iteration of its recent presentation in Milan, ‘Volume, The Land and the Maker’, showing the ‘Lava’ pieces inspired by Josef Albers’s ‘Homage to the Square’ series of paintings of multidisciplinary Mexican interior architecture studio Habitación 116. Offering a different homage to the ancestral past are the elegant works of C.S. Nuñez.
While Nuñez draws on the pre-Columbian history of Latin America that so inspired Josef Albers, Carwan Gallery has chosen pieces from the designers it exhibits which reinterpret the Ancient Greek classical pillar. The range of inventive objects created in homage include Anton Alvarez’s vivid Yves Klein blue extruded vases, ‘Yves Kiln’ from 2018 and the 2014 series of stools – ‘Tuskan’, ‘Dorik’ and ‘Ionik’ – created by Oeuffice, the collaboration started in 2011 between Nicolas Bellavance-Lecompte (NOMAD’s co-founder) and Jakub Zak.
With north and south well represented, we also find east and west reconciled on this rocky outcrop. The New York gallery of Erik Thomsen brings a selection of outstanding Japanese flower baskets by early twentieth-century bamboo masters and contemporary practitioners. Objective Gallery, based both in New York and Shanghai, shows a line-up of six young designers from all over the world – including Brecht Wright Gander from the USA and Charlotte Kingsnorth from the UK. All are notable for their daring experimentation with scale and materials – an exuberant riposte to nature’s audacity on Capri. For those within hailing distance of this beautiful island, there is yet more to see. The fair runs until Sunday 11th July.