At first glance, Filicudi looks like just a speck of land in the Tyrrhenian Sea – but getting closer to this small island in the Aeolian archipelago, off the coast of Sicily, one discovers a tiny gem with rocky hills and cacti, wild beaches and panoramic views of Mount Etna across the sea. Historically, Filicudi has attracted artists, architects and designers, including Ettore Sottsass, Maurizio Cattelan and Massimiliano Fuksas, its remote location appealing to creatives from all over Italy.
Design in Filicudi: ‘From Island to Island’ by Barber Osgerby
‘I’ve been travelling with my family to Filicudi for a number of summers and have fallen in love with the island,’ says Edward Barber, one half of design studio Barber Osgerby. ‘Initially, it can appear a little impenetrable with its sparse, rocky, cactus-filled landscape and somewhat limited amenities. But it was the raw simplicity of this tiny island that quickly became so appealing to me. As well as its striking topography and the turtle sanctuary where my children help out from time to time, the biggest draw is the interesting people I’ve met there, many of whom have been visiting for much of their lives.’
Among them is Sergio Casoli, whose seafront gallery Studio Casoli (part of five-room hotel La Sirena) has hosted exhibitions by the likes of Giovanni Gastel and Peter Doig, as well as an artistic residence. Barber Osgerby worked with Casoli on a new exhibition debuting in Filicudi: this summer, ‘From Island to Island’ (a name that nods to their British origin and the show’s location) brings together some of the studio’s key projects, with a focus on craft and the way it blends with industrial design throughout their work. ‘The exhibition demonstrates our obsession with how things are made,’ adds Barber. ‘It spans almost every type of construction we’ve worked with, from glassblowing and weaving to machining metal.’
As well as iconic Barber Osgerby designs, such as the multicoloured ‘Iris’ table for Established & Sons, Vitra’s ‘Tip Ton’ (in a miniature version), and the striped marble ‘Tobi-Ishi’ table for B&B Italia, the designers have also created special pieces to display in Filicudi, such as a lava stone version of their ‘Largo’ tables by Marsotto and a tapestry in collaboration with master weaver Laura de Cesare (the first time the studio has worked with a weaver).
‘Seeing makers at work has been fundamental to our design education,’ adds Osgerby. ‘The more you learn how they operate, and the more they understand how you work, the better each piece you produce is going to be. It’s a dialogue.’
From Island to Island is on view until 23 July 2023
Via Pecorini a Mare
98050 Filicudi, ME
Rosa Bertoli was born in Udine, Italy, and now lives in London. Since 2014, she has been the Design Editor of Wallpaper*, where she oversees design content for the print and online editions, as well as special editorial projects. Through her role at Wallpaper*, she has written extensively about all areas of design. Rosa has been speaker and moderator for various design talks and conferences including London Craft Week, Maison & Objet, The Italian Cultural Institute (London), Clippings, Zaha Hadid Design, Kartell and Frieze Art Fair. Rosa has been on judging panels for the Chart Architecture Award, the Dutch Design Awards and the DesignGuild Marks. She has written for numerous English and Italian language publications, and worked as a content and communication consultant for fashion and design brands.
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