“Made in…” at Expo 2015: ‘The Garden of Wonders. A Journey Through Scents’

Orto Botanico, Milan
within “Energy for Creativity”
13 April – 30 May 2015

BE OPEN, the international foundation which operates in the field of design and creativity, has chosen theBotanical Garden of Brera as the amazing background of a sophisticated interdisciplinary project whose central theme is perfume.

The research will be presented on the occasion of EXPO 2015 in May, with a special preview during the Milan Design Week in April, due to the aesthetic and philosophical features this products embodies.

Ferruccio Laviani will be the General Coordinator for the whole set up where well known designers Tord Boontje, Fernando and Humberto Campana, Dimore Studio, Front, Jaime Hayon, Piero Lissoni, Jean-Marie Massaud and Nendo will present their interpretation of defunct luxury  brands.

The exhibition is the second stop of the global project “Made in…”, an investigative tour on the virtuous relationship between contemporary design and the excellence of small producers at the four corners of the earth. The research on perfume focuses on the heritage of values of small business realities,communities which have been able to pass on traditions, expertise and relationships over the years.

The history of perfume is the history of raw materials from all over the world, an ante litteram global product; each perfume represented a real and imaginary journey of goods and cultures. In more recent years the relationship between fragrances and the look of the packages has become more and more intense, to such an extent that it has created well-defined brand identities, some of which are still used today.

BE OPEN decided to explore the world of fragrances by especially focusing on some historic brands which have disappeared, international excellences whose fame has decreased over the years because of a sometimes-too-aggressive global market. The foundation identified 8 lost brands which must berebranded in order to protect the experiences at the basis of production and to prompt a global virtuous circle between the producers of raw materials and perfume brands.

Elena Baturina, BE OPEN Founder, explains: “Those like me who have always dealt with business believe that the relationship between creativity and enterprise is always a stimulating, groundbreaking subject. The chance given by EXPO 2015 and Fuorisalone to see the world in a single city is definitely unmissable. We created “Made in…” in order to examine the relationship between design and quality small-to-medium enterprises carefully, considering all experiences and to offer a different way of looking at the global market and suggesting solutions for the future”.

An almost alchemic product, perfume is the result of old knowledge and of highly artisan manufacturing: the process of scent creation and the skillful mix of natural ingredientsfrom the whole world; on the other hand,the look of the finished product which is conveyed by the packaging, the image of brands and the different boxes containing the perfumes. The set-up focuses on an essential feature, the European business and social fabric, that is small business realities with a strong artisan nature representing a precious heritage for the economy of many countries and therefore, the core of an ever-increasing interest.

The general organization and set-up of the exhibition is entrusted to Ferruccio Laviani, who will create adiffused museum where all parts of the project will communicate with each other and with the Garden area. Describing his project, the architect says: “Nothing better than a garden can narrate the story and the olfactory path presented by BE OPEN: perfumes concealing other perfumes, both natural and alchemic, original and extraordinary. The layout is composed of simple outdoor elements that, due to an unusual finishing, transform  the common greenhouses into precious objects containing worlds representing various essences. The gardens of Brera, then, become the enchanted forest of the painting by Alberto Savinio where colorful toys turn into fragrant ingots through in which the visitor can get lost”.

The production of the eight brands, in contrast, will be assigned to several designers who will reinterpret their history and features according to their sensitivity: they will act as Art Directors for the brands in order to show that design can become a strong point for small entities requiring a new commercial life to meet the challenges of the contemporary global market.

Tord Boontje will be working on the Czech brand Waldes et Spol, Fernando andHumberto Campana onBiette from France, Italian brand Bertelli will be reinterpreted by Dimore Studio whereas Swedish trio Frontwill focus on the French brand Guyla; Spanish Jaime Hayon will work on the British brand Boissard, Piero Lissoni will give his interpretation to the American perfume house Lundborg, Jean-Marie Massaud on Bertifand finally Nendo will be dealing with Russian brand R.Koehler & Co.

Experts in the field will be involved in the curatorship of ahistoric/anthropological part that will introduce visitors to the most general aspects of the subject: a visual, interactive tour among the main actors, fragrances, production techniques used for perfume-production since the XVIII century. Greek-born and cosmopolitan Curator and Researcher Elena Vosnaki has been appointed to oversee the historic part, whereas Gérald Ghislain, Founder of Histoire de Parfums, will curate the section devoted to fragrances and raw materials.

The Milan program is the evolution of “Made in..India” where the Foundation explored a thousand-year culture made up of great individual excellences which have lasted so far thanks to single craftsmen which resulted in the creation of an ideal brand of Indian luxury – Samskara – mixing up old productions and contemporary designs of the subcontinent.