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Leo's Dinamismi Museali

This year's Dinamismi Museali festival in Italy was entitled 'Super Dutch' and was dedicated to Dutch design. Architectural historian and design consultant Natascha Drabbe attended the 10th edition of the festival and wrote a review for design.nl.

By No author / 24-12-2007

This year's Dinamismi Museali festival in Italy was entitled 'Super Dutch' and was dedicated to Dutch design. Architectural historian and design consultant Natascha Drabbe attended the 10th edition of the festival and wrote a review for design.nl.

Dinamismi Museali is subtitled ‘Festival of Contemporary Thought’, but to initiator and artistic leader Emilio Leo it is also a marketing tool to enter into new forms of collaboration with designers. Leo is an architect and the art director of Lanificio Leo in Soveria Manelli, the oldest wool factory in Calabria, about a five-hour drive south from Naples. Before its closure in the 1970s, the factory employed thirty people, and now after its reopening five employees are busy weaving traditional blankets and printing block print fabrics for the local production of curtains and plaids. However, apart from this traditional production, Leo is passionately involved in regenerating the factory by developing together with contemporary designers a collection of products that meet the demands of present-day consumers.

This 10th edition of the Festival, which is entitled Super Dutch, is dedicated to Dutch design. The Dutch mentality and the conceptual background of the Dutch works appeal to Leo. After a visit to the Netherlands during the Dutch Design Week 2006 held in the city of Eindhoven, to which Leo was invited by the Dutch Embassy in Rome, and by Premsela, Dutch Platform for Design and Fashion, he selected fourteen designers, most of them 2006 graduates of the Design Academy Eindhoven and Stefan Scholten and Carole Baijings, teachers in the Department Atelier at the academy.

The exhibited work is multidisciplinary, ranging from animation to music and fashion and from jewellery to graphic design. The work fits in surprisingly well with the fabulous surroundings of the old factory and its imposing machinery. Sleeping Beauty, the knitting-machine lamp by Nadine Sterk, and the plaids by Scholten & Baijings show the most literal relationship with what is going on in the factory. A remarkably high number of works relate to time so that this theme seems to be the underlying connecting link.
It is not so much doing business that comes first with Leo, but rather the combination of heritage and production. Therefore, guided tours of the factory are being organized to communicate the culture of textile and technique. As south Italy does not know a design tradition, Leo wants to introduce to Calabria the experience gained in the Netherlands in the field of innovation, such as the traditional earthenware factory Royal Tichelaar in Makkum, Cor Unum in ‘s-Hertogenbosch, and the Textile Museum in Tilburg, who all went into business with contemporary designers.

Dinamismi Museali aims at creating a network of entrepreneurs in the region who will take design as the starting point for the production in their craft driven factories.

Natascha Drabbe worked at Premsela from 2002-2007. She now has her own consultancy firm NDCC.

Photos: Sigrid Calon

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