NOMAD St. Moritz 2020
Textile sculptures, felted baskets, carpets and tapestries rub shoulders with sleek pieces of furniture, glass and ceramics at the third Swiss edition of NOMAD.
6th – 9th February 2020
THE ITINERANT collectible design rendez-vous NOMAD skis into St Moritz in early February – with the emphasis on textile creations and ceramics. Once again, the brainchild of Giorgio Pace and Nicolas Bellavance-Lecompte is held in Chesa Planta, a late 16th-century aristocrat’s house with wood-panelled rooms. In this venerable setting, 17 exhibitors from as far as the Middle East and Latin America are displaying a diverse mix of 20th and 21st century art, design and crafts.
Mercado Moderno from Rio de Janeiro, which specialises in Brazilian furniture from the 1940s-1970s and contemporary works, is exhibiting for the first time after a positive experience at NOMAD Venice. “We met clients, collectors, design aficionados, architects and interior designers, and it was a great opportunity to network and showcase our collection to a select public,” co-director Marcelo Vasconcellos recalls. “Brazilian design has been experiencing a new surge of interest internationally. A growing number of clients are well versed in Brazil’s artistic history and leading designers, and are looking for differentiated and unique items.”
Among Mercado’s modern pieces are the ‘Costela’ lounge chair (1950s) by Carlo Hauner and Martin Eisler that, with rhythmically arranged hardwood slats on a tubular iron frame, “bears resemblance to a wooden rib cage”, according to Vasconcellos. On the contemporary front is Studio Mameluca’s ‘Cafofo’ shelf (2019), the multi-levelled assemblage from reclaimed woods and brightly coloured materials loosely bringing a favela to mind. And Inês Schertel’s felt baskets made with wool fibres, using a “six thousand year-old technique”, exemplify how Brazilian designers are revitalising traditional craftsmanship.
Athr Gallery, a contemporary art gallery from Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, is another first-time exhibitor following its participation in NOMAD Venice last September. “Many of our collectors have secondary homes in St Moritz,” says gallery director Alia Fattouh, who decided to sign up after inviting Bellavance-Lecompte to curate a design show at Athr Gallery last April. “It feels like an organic continuation to explore this collaboration,” she adds.
Founded in 2009, Athr Gallery is bringing over works by Nasser Al Salem, the Saudi artist who had a solo show of sculptures and works on paper at the Delfina Foundation in London last year. “He’s a trained architect, turned calligrapher, who has reached a level of conceptualism and minimalism that is shaking this traditional craft,” Fattouh explains. Growing interest in Al Salem’s work is reflective of how Saudi artists are gaining more visibility internationally at a time when the country is undergoing radical socio-cultural change. “While Athr has been the gateway for contemporary Saudi art for ten years now, these changes are undeniably triggering genuine curiosity and interest from the market,” Fattouh says.
Maniera from Brussels is returning to NOMAD St Moritz for a third time. It is presenting Swiss textile designer Christoph Hefti’s richly toned ‘Leaves’ carpets, fibreglass and wood furniture by American architect Jonathan Muecke and Spanish architect Marta Armengol’s ‘Lightness’ series of glass shapes.
“We like the concept of showing our pieces in real interiors or houses, where our pieces look even better than in a fair booth, and that galleries exhibit in different rooms at Chesa Planta at each edition,” Kwinten Lavigne, co-founder of Maniera, enthuses. “NOMAD’s like a loyal circle, people keep coming back to spend time in the Engadin region and follow your work – that’s what’s nice about it.”
At Galleri Format from Oslo are textile sculptures by the Norwegian artist Ellen Grieg and Finnish artist Kustaa Saksi. Grieg’s suspended roped sculptures with dangling threads have evolved from extensive research into colours and dyes in natural and synthetic fibres, as well as applying techniques like batik onto naval mooring ropes.
Saksi, meanwhile, has experimented with tapestry techniques to create dreamy evocations of nature. “NOMAD’s beautiful locations and the great network the fair provides is a good mix for showing collectible design,” says gallery director Irija Øwre, who is bringing along three other Norwegian craft artists – ceramicist Irene Nordli, glass artist Karen Klim and jewellery artist Liv Blåvarp – plus works by Britain’s Poppy Lawman and Finland’s Kustaa Saksi.
Elsewhere, Angela Weber Möbel from Zurich has conjured up a collector’s home, ‘The Inventory of Happiness’, where pieces from different decades create a joyful environment. St Moritz’s Andrea Caratsch is showing John Armleder’s abstract glass sculptures made in Murano with glass master Silvano Signoretto.
Meanwhile, Carwan Gallery (co-founded by Bellavance-Lecompte) is presenting Canadian artist Omer Arbel’s sinuous, irregularly shaped bronze sculptures that have culminated from combining copper and glassblowing processes.
Iwan Maktabi, a third generation carpet collector in Beirut, is launching ‘Orientations’ (2019), a new collection of handmade carpets by the Lebanese design studio David/Nicolas, in the special projects section. The starting point was David Raffoul and Nicolas Moussallem being “awe-struck” by the antique Ziegler and Agra carpets in Maktabi’s store. Desiring to achieve the same texture by weaving wool and silk in the Persian knot method, they drew inspiration from constellations of stars to design three carpets, titled ‘North’, ‘South’ and ‘East’.
Another special project is UK based Established & Sons’ limited edition designs by Formafantasma, Barber & Osgerby and Liselotte Watkins, among others. Watkins, the Swedish, Rome-based fashion illustrator, print designer and ceramicist, has made a collection of boldly coloured, figurative vessels in her signature style.
Also unmissable are Draga & Aurel’s sleek pieces of furniture such as the ‘Agatha’ coffee table with five resin and cement table tops on brass legs, The Invisible Collection’s installation, ‘Le Salon’, bringing together pieces by the likes of Pierre Yovanovitch, Charles Zana and Maison Intègre, and self-taught potter George Ohr’s clay works at London’s The Gallery of Everything.
NOMAD – an event for collectors, interior designers, architects and art and design professionals.
Entry: 100 CHF