Small Designs, Great Architects
An exhibition for and at the Roca Gallery Barcelona
“During the time I spent in S’s large kitchen next to Lake Como, I’d draw for hours and hours, absolutely spontaneously, coffee makers, cooking pots, bottles. Because of their strange shapes, I particularly liked the green and red enamelled coffee pots; they were a kind of miniature of the fantastic architecture I was going to encounter later on. Today I still like to draw those big coffee pots that become, in my imagination, brick structures with an interior you can walk through”.
Aldo Rossi, architect.
This statement forms the basis of “Small designs, great architects”, where things aren’t always what they seem. “A coffee maker, for example, can be a gateway to a man and an era”, this is what López Cotelo said about Rossi’s coffee makers. Similarly, for a while another renowned architect, Peter Zumthor, couldn’t make up his mind whether the drawing hanging in his own studio and created by himself was a salt cellar or skyscraper.
We generally associate architects, especially internationally prestigious architects, with the large scale. Large buildings, skyscrapers, even cities are the target for their creativity. But in actual fact, in the place where ideas take shape, there are no scales; evocative ideas travel from one extreme to the other and there’s room for stimuli of all kinds to develop the final project. And it’s precisely at a particular time during this journey when a sketch, image or piece of paper ends up becoming either a large building or a small object that alters our lives. Things aren’t always what they seem.
On this journey some visionary people, like Alessi, realised the potential and richness of creating synergies in all dimensions, stimulating architects to embark on designing objects. And everyday utensils were transformed into works of artistic value, with coffee makers even becoming manifestos.
“Small designs, great architects” proposes a different look at the work of these renowned international architects associated with the large scale, showing them in a more intimate light, precisely through their designs for the smallest but, above all, the most domestic objects, by means of our most common act: sitting down at the table, in front of what could be any Sunday family meal. We’ll dip the bread in the oil served to us by Peter Zumthor, Toyo Ito provides us with the plates, David Chipperfield offers us a seat, Zaha Hadid will place some flowers and we’ll sit back and relax with Jean Nouvel’s coffee.
The table is laid. Bon appétit!
Client: Roca Gallery Barcelona
Curation and exhibition architecture: 15515 Arquitectura