Bringing together some of Europe's most progressive designers, Grandmateria II is the next chapter in a story that began in 2007 with the gallery's first exhibition. The title alludes to the mythologies of the Philosopher's stone: a stone said to have alchemist powers to transmute lead into gold. By working with modest materials, using materials out of context, or by layering the materials with rich narrative each of the represented designers elevate the ordinary to extraordinary effect. Similar to its precursor, Grandmateria II highlights design's ongoing ability to transform preconceptions of the everyday.
The choice of materials - pallet wood, local brick, found pine, tail lights from industrial vehicles, boiled leather, Eternit, ceramics or woven wool - draw obvious parallels with such iconic designs as Gerrit Rietveld's Crate chair (1934), or Pier Giacomo + Archille Castiglioni's Mezzadro stool made from a tractor seat (1957) and Enzo Mari's Autoprogettazione kit furniture (1974). Yet, like Arte Povera - a term coined in 1967 by the critic Germano Celant to describe a group of Italian artists who used the simplest means to create poetic statements based on the events of everyday life - the works also play a much larger role in questioning both traditional cultures (local and global), and the materialism of consumer economics.