Interview with Alba Cappellieri of Politecnico di Milano
A society that keeps changing according to the scenarios in which is involved. A world that registered a reversal in consumption and that is now returning to tell its own story with new methods. And finally, study and research to understand such changes in direction. This and much more in the interview with Alba Cappellieri, Professor at Politecnico di Milano and since 2014 Director of the Jewellery Museum in Vicenza, who moderated the webinar organized by HOMI Fashion&Jewels Exhibition, Jewellery today: something new.
Contemporary jewellery has been compared to a jigsaw puzzle made up of many small pieces, that together form a complete and certainly larger picture: what are all these pieces?
One of the theories I advance for the field of jewellery is that it must always be linked to the Zeitgeist, the time in which it was produced. It means considering jewellery not as mere ornaments divorced from time but as the result of the artistic, social, economic, manufacturing or technological context of the spirit of the time. This is why I like to compare contemporaneity to a puzzle, based on Jean Francois Lyotard's theory of the fragment, because we live in a time that has lost the linearity of previous centuries and looks like a puzzle, where each element has its own specific features, but is only its placement within the whole that forms a vision of the whole. This metaphor, in my opinion, represents very well the world of contemporary jewellery, which is divided into numerous fragments linked to their respective disciplines: artist's, designer's, stylist's and craftsman's jewellery, but also archaeological, historical and real jewellery. We can also see it from the point of view of the value of the material - precious and non-precious jewellery, conceptual jewellery -, or based on technologies - smart jewellery, wearable jewellery - and so on. Nowadays, there are multiple contexts for contemporary jewellery and only the overall vision of the curator succeeds in recomposing unity from multiplicity. For this reason, today curatorial quality is fundamental, which we can compare to that of a tailor who creates a made-to-measure suit, as it is the case for Homi Fashion&Jewels.
How has the new generation of designers reacted to the pandemic? What reaction did you get and what was their creative approach?
Design is a discipline that works with a view to the future, prefiguring scenarios, anticipating needs, planning lifestyles. Paradoxically, this terrible pandemic managed to stimulate the visionary creativity of designers, who were able to use the suspended time we were forced to live as an amplification of their perceptive abilities. In addition, the pandemic has also shown that digital technologies are not opposed to craftsmanship but, on the contrary, they support and sustain it, and this has also led to a new awareness. We witnessed a reversal in consumption and now I’m very curious to see the new products.
How do you predict a trend?
You don’t predict a trend, you anticipate it, through research and study. This is the fundamental difference between the scientific approach of Politecnico di Milano and the one of trend forecasting companies: a methodology instead of a vision. For us, trends are the design directions elaborated taking into account the weak and widespread signals of the market, a methodology based on analysis and listening: of society, people, consumption, technologies and disciplines tangential to jewellery, especially fashion and design.