Part of the 2020 city-wide creative women theme of the Municipality of Milan, the design section of ‘Nelle Mani Delle Donne‘ is curated by Gisella Borioli and titled ‘I Fiori della Materia’. Invited participants deftly display their innovations and experimentations with materials to create designs with purpose and personality. Design section participants include Francesca Gasparotti, co-founder of Italian design brand SoFarSoNear. Her Sunrise handwoven wool gabbeh rug—a type of pile rug associated with the Qashqa’i nomads of Iran—is from SoFarSoNear’s Ghashgha’i, Meet Bauhaus Collection for Zollanvari International.
Zollanvari International is known for their unparalleled support for traditional rug producers, particularly nomadic Persian tribes. Their pairing of an Italian female designer—Gasparotti—and the female weavers of the nomadic Qashqa’i tribe gave Gasparotti a unique opportunity to reimagine traditional tribal Qashqa’i gabbeh. She interprets tribal colours through the lens of Josef Albers’ colour theory, and reinterprets Qashqa’i patterns as Albers-inspired geometric shapes to create a new graphic, colour-based language.
Albers’ famous book Interaction of Color describes how colour beguiles or deceives based on adjacent colours. His series of paintings Homage to the Square elaborated his colour theory through colours arranged as squares within squares to create what Albers described as colour ‘climates’. Gasparotti chose iconic Qashqa’i single element motifs—man, woman, lion, peacock—and altered them into arrangements of squares and triangles. These form the pattern of Sunrise while the tissue-like translucence of her layered colours not only creates the warm ‘climate’ of colours seen in a sunrise, but elevates the rug into a sublime homage to the Qashqa’i and Albers.
Fuorisalone means events ‘outside’ the ‘official’ Salone. The 2020 edition is a spirited collection of exhibitions, installations and events spread throughout Milan. It continues its reputation of offering visitors the excitement of a design ‘treasure hunt’ while ‘Nelle Mani Delle Donne’ rewards visitors with exceptional designs by women that demonstrate that l’anno delle donne—the year of women—is long overdue.