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a year of cancelled and postponed events hasn’t stopped materia independent design festival returning both online and to southern italy to celebrate the work of young italian designers. now in the fifth edition, the name of this year’s proceedings – ‘materia sospesa’ – places an emphasis on this uncertain period of time and the ‘suspended’ or ‘interrupted’ nature of 2020.

organized by architects domenico garofalo and giuseppe anania of officine AD, the event is under the artistic direction of designer antonio aricò. the festival will take place from 2 to 4 october, 2020, via instagram and facebook and in an historical location in italy’s calabria region.

materia sospesa invites designers to reimagine the religious symbols and furnishings of churches. the result is a series of unusual objects, which overturn traditional calabrian imagery. antonio aricò explains, ‘I started from the processions at the sea, the typical religious festivals that see virgin mary parade on boats, and I made a list of sacred objects, such as the ostensory, the altar, the throne, the kneeling. then I involved designers and friends elena salmistraro, sara ricciardi, matteo cibic and tommaso spinzi to reinvent these symbols, using their style and their imagination, in collaboration with calabrian and italian artisans’.

‘the result is pieces of imagination, unconventional, sometimes ironic: there is the kneeling of matteo cibic on which you have to balance to pray, the madonna viola (purple madonna), which I designed on a graphic tablet and embroidered on black tulle; and there is the super colorful and fringed throne designed by elena salmistraro, according to her original chromatic universe. sara ricciardi reinterprets the ostensory with copper elements and ears of wheat while tommaso spinzi draws a ‘mechanical’ altar on the theme of the cross. the designers involved are united by an approach to design that blends passion and personality into the project based on the themes of fantasy and dream,’ continues aricò.

the event will showcase objects from leading contemporary italian designers such as elena salmistraro, sara ricciardi, matteo cibic and tommaso spinzi. new talent will also be celebrated with a section dedicated to young designers who will be selected through the call ‘miracles of design’. reserved for under 40s, this call welcomes proposals from all over italy based on artisan techniques and elements of cultural heritage of the territory. among the selected are eleonora todde, tip studio, stella orlandino and valentina mancini.

the heart of the event will be an ‘imaginary place’. during the three days, these stories will be shown on instagram and facebook channels of the festival and the products presented. there will be interventions by important personalities including federica sala, guido taroni and giovanni favasuli. the final evening will take place in an historical location in catanzaro, capital of the calabria region, as a testimony to the special edition of 2020: materia sospesa. ‘with ‘materia sospesa’ – explains aricò – ‘we wanted to give a sign, in a year in which the festival risked being ‘suspended’ our intention was to tell the dreams and ambitions of young italian designers and producers, a story that constantly wants to talk about our days italian design’.

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Anania, Aricò e Garofalo