With the motto «If you want to mend the world, start mending your socks» students of the Art Academy of Latvia together with Sigulda region craftsmen will create a stand at the Milan International Design Fair. The exhibition will be on display at the stand S15 at the Salone Satellite pavilion from June 7 to 12.
Milan design fair Salone del Mobile. Milano is one of the largest and most influential furniture, interior, and lighting design fairs in the world. After a two-year break it is once again opening its doors at Fiera Milano between June 7 and 12, celebrating its 60th anniversary. One of the twenty pavilions — Salone Satellite — is a space for young designers and design schools to showcase their talents. This year is the fourth time when a collaboration of students and faculty members from the Art Academy of Latvia, selected in a local competition, will be appearing at the fair.
This year’s concept of the Latvian stand is dedicated to mending the world in a very literal sense. According to authors, the exhibition embodies taking care of our world — inheriting it from the previous generations, preserving it, and leaving it intact for the upcoming generations. They point out that in its own way design shares the responsibility and the blame for the unrelenting stimulation of the industrial process and consumption. «Fixing or «mending» the world is now more relevant than it ever was. Boundaries are violated, many political and economical formations are unravelling. Resources have been overused by mass production, and not much is left for the future generations,» says Barbara Ābele, professor at the Art Academy of Latvia. Last year, while working on the Baltsenior project with our senior generation who have seen war, deportations, scarcity, and researching their habits, it was concluded that by taking care of things, using them for a long time and fixing them every one of us can help mend the world at least a little bit.
The dominant image at the exhibition is a wool sock, chosen as a metaphor for any product of the 21st century that supports everyday consumption. Socks can be regarded to be one of the simplest and at the same time most indispensable garments when one is cold, and in the list of basic needs they can be ranked alongside food or a roof over one’s head.
The exhibition stand consists of two parts. One is dedicated to the life cycle and identity of a sock, consecutively depicting the stages of being knit, worn, and mended. The cuff of every sock appearing at the exhibition is a copy of an 18th century original sample from the National History Museum of Latvia. These copies were knitted for this exhibition by artisans from the towns of Sigulda, Mālpils, and More. The golden thread used for mending is an allegorical message on how valuable a sock is — in terms of resources, time, and skills put into it, in an economic and emotional sense — and why it is worth mending.
The other part is a large textile installation made of nearly half a thousand new and worn out handmade socks that have been donated for the exhibition, followed by personal stories posted on a dedicated Instagram account.
The concept and the exhibits were created in collaboration between the Art Academy of Latvia and Sigulda Culture Centre Siguldas Devons, Mālpils Culture Centre and artisans from the Sigulda region who shared their knowledge and competences at Baltsenior project workshops.