An installation in the name of design at the Museo Alfa Romeo in Arese: "Feltri", the iconic armchair designed by Gaetano Pesce for Cassina, in dialogue with the majestic 8C 2900 B Lungo, the queen of style from the 1930s. A project involving 10 Milanese museums to stimulate the enjoyment of works of art in the world capital of design. From Saturday, December 7.
Art and beauty, elegance and Italian design. The sinuous curves of the Alfa Romeo 8C 2900 B Lungo and the enveloping volumes of Feltri, the iconic armchair designed by Gaetano Pesce for Cassina: an open dialogue between "objects" that are only apparently distant, to combine the different expertises of Milan, city of art and world capital of design. Starting Saturday 7 December, the Museo Storico Alfa Romeo in Arese will stage this original encounter between cars and furniture, as part of the project "Muse dialoganti" (Muses in dialogue), promoted by the Association MuseoCity and presented on Tuesday 3 December at the Museo del Novecento in Milan. The project is based on the idea of bringing together art and design, a work of art and a piece of furniture to further the authentic enjoyment of both. Therefore, 10 extraordinary design pieces, produced and donated by 8 Italian companies that strive to support cultural consumption, will be displayed in 10 cultural institutes in Milan. In addition to the Alfa Romeo Museum, also the Historic House-Museum Boschi Di Stefano, the Civic Archaeological Museum, the GAM Gallery of Modern Art, the Museo del Novecento, the Museum of Natural History, the Leonardo da Vinci National Museum of Science and Technology, Palazzo Morando Costume Moda e Immagine, Pinacoteca Ambrosiana and Pinacoteca di Brera, will create authentic installations to display sofas or armchairs by Baxter, Cappellini, Cassina, Giorgetti, Horm Italia, Kartell, Molteni & C. and Moroso. The encounter between functionality and aesthetics is one of the founding elements of Alfa Romeo's DNA: speed and beauty as values to be pursued, lightness and simplicity as tools to achieve them. The Museum in Arese will illustrate a research process lasting 110 years that has given rise to cars bearing the signature of the greatest Italian designers: from Bertone to Giugiaro, from Scaglione to Pininfarina, all the way to the Alfa Romeo Style Centre. Precisely this natural propensity for design and beauty lies behind the Museum’s decision to participate in the "Muse dialoganti" project. Which area of the Museum was most suitable to let visitors contemplate a particularly significant work of art? The choice came rather naturally: obviously in the section entitled Beauty, which is dedicated to design - right in front of the monumental 8C 2900 B Lungo from 1937, the queen of mundane life of its time and, at the same time, the "fastest production car in the world", as Cecil Clutton defined it on Motor Sport. A masterpiece of the Milanese Touring bodywork, with a powder blue sartorial "dress" entirely handcrafted by the sheet-metal workers, covering the gritty and powerful mechanics, which allowed this same vehicle to prevail a few years later in that gruelling race through Italy known as the Mille Miglia. In front of the imposing silhouette of the 8C 2900 B Lungo – which has been the object of the desire of collectors worldwide – visitors will now be able to contemplate the vehicle comfortably wrapped in the embrace of the armchair Feltri, designed by Gaetano Pesce and manufactured by Cassina. A unique work, which distinguishes itself by its great malleability. Feltri was conceived in Cassina’s Research Centre, a place of experimentation and cutting-edge construction, where Gaetano Pesce dedicated himself to the project and developed a complex production technique patented by the company. For the material, Gaetano Pesce envisioned "a new application of an old material which, in ancient times, even before 'fabric', was able to protect human bodies from both cold and heat. The shape is "simple, in-between a dress and a seat", and the technique is "highly advanced employing synthetic resins in their "liquid" essence, before catalysation, combined with the traditional, manual skill of the people who work at Cassina. The armchair is entirely made of thick wool felt and combines the wraparound and mouldable backrest with the rigid and resistant base, which is impregnated in thermosetting resin. The seat is fixed to the structure by means of hemp straps that also outline the upper part of the chair. A comfortable quilted mattress paired with polyester wadding covers the inside of the armchair. “Elective affinities" is what you call it when some elements attract each other and create new compositions. The "Feltri" armchair with its large, soft, mouldable and comfortable volumes is the exact opposite of the 8C 2900, so solid and stable in its shapes. Yet the soft lines of both objects find surprising points of convergence. "The challenge of this initiative is the attempt to integrate seats that do not visually pollute the museum spaces but which, on the contrary, blend in with the environment and enter into dialogue with the surrounding spaces and the works exhibited in them. In fact, every piece of furniture in relation to the work becomes a small installation in itself, and tells the story of a possible relationship between art and design," say Ludovica and Roberto Palomba, the architect-designers who have been in charge of the project from its conception to its execution. The project was created by MuseoCity in collaboration with Palomba Serafini Associati and with the contribution of Fondazione Cariplo and UniCredit.
FELTRI by Cassina: find out more