Here at Frontier, we have been fans of Atelier Biagetti for some time. Their last two projects presented at Salone del Mobile, Body Building (2015) and NO SEX (2016), together with the latest, GOD (2017), form a trilogy of works that seek to interrogate and explore some of contemporary society’s deepest obsessions. Body Building looked at our preoccupation with beauty and fitness through the lens of gym culture. The designer duo took objects from the gym and remixed them with items that belong in the lounge, stripping one of its function by focusing on the aesthetic, and transforming the other with unexpected new design references. NO SEX presented an environment akin to a doctor’s waiting room. Its furnishings were a subtle blend of sterile office equipment and sensual materials and form.
GOD, curated by Maria Cristina Didero, and presented at this year’s Salone del Mobile is not really trying to represent God in any way. Rather, it takes the omnipresence, power, and reverence associated with this word and aligns it with another force that has a similar effect on human populations — money. This tongue-in-cheek installation gets straight to the point with stacks of gold bars presented in an attractive display. This motif is repeated on posters, and on a larger scale as a big gold bench. References to a lavish lifestyles and investment are made through objects such as a gold briefcase tied to a glass balloon (full of hot air?); what looks like a nautical themed, bling adorned clock; a swing decorated with silky fringing. A boardroom table crossed with a turnstile that suggests travel, a gatekeeper to separate the affluent jet setters from those who can’t afford a ticket. The floor of the exhibition space is painted a buoyant blue. Only true blue sky thinking holds up the illusions of grandeur presented by an obsession with money. Atelier Biagetti have succeeded in walking the line between art and design to create pointed commentary on the very parts of society that make the exhibition of work like this possible.