Homo Faber returns to Venice
15 exhibitions, 22 curators and designers, 12 Japanese National Living Treasures, over 850 unique works crafted by more than 400 designers and artisans from 43 countries.
Homo Faber Event returns to Venice in 2022 to unveil an unprecedented cultural experience of craftsmanship with 15 immersive exhibitions. For its second edition, the event looks to highlight the excellence of master craftsmanship internationally. With a special focus on craftspeople from Japan, it spotlights the country’s venerated craftsmanship traditions and time-honoured skills, and showcases its influence on European creativity and craftsmanship. Together, the exhibition spaces showcase a diverse array of materials and expertise, from traditional skills in danger of being lost to the most cutting-edge contemporary techniques.
The event champions talented artisans from across the globe, their cherished savoir-faire, their unique stories, and the territorial influences that enrich their masterpieces. Some of the exhibition spaces invite visitors to meet the artisans and share moments with them as they work, while others animate craft with their scenography. Visitors have the chance to explore the connection between contemporary craftsmanship and the wider arts and design world. In one exhibition space, the world’s most prestigious luxury brands reveal the craftsmanship behind their pieces; in another, a rendering by director Robert Wilson of an iconic evocation of Puccini’s opera, Madama Butterfly, takes visitors on a theatrical journey. The role of next generation automata will also be explored, while a crafted tea room considers the relationship craftsmanship has with our everyday lives. Elsewhere, artisans and ateliers reveal the essential role of the artisanal touch in creating design pieces.
Guided by a philosophy of sustainability, the event highlights the importance of making crafts viable and safeguarding them for the future, with a strong focus on the next generation through interactive and informative educational activities aimed at different age groups. The Young Ambassador Programme will animate the exhibition spaces with its talented students. Selected from the best applied arts and design schools across Europe, they will be on hand to offer visitors guided tours.
With Europe’s treasure trove as its starting point, the exhibition broadens its horizons to explore the entwining cultural relationship between Europe and Japan. Homo Faber Event 2022 honours the official recognition that Japan gives to its finest masters, designated as keepers of important intangible cultural properties. Visitors can admire the exceptional objects handcrafted by 12 National Living Treasures – exquisite porcelain, a lacquered harp, hand-dyed kimonos and much more. An evocative photography exhibition by Rinko Kawauchi transports visitors behind the scenes into the secret ateliers of these prized master artisans.
The event offers the public a rare opportunity to explore San Giorgio Maggiore island and the magnificent structures of the Fondazione Giorgio Cini in an exhibition that covers nearly 4,000 square metres. Rooms such as the Longhena Library and Gandini swimming pool, usually closed to the public, will open especially on the occasion of the event, transformed into scenes where craft takes centre stage and visitors can partake in the experience.
The Ateliers of Wonders
Curated by Rinko Kawauchi
The stunning photographs, exhibited in the Renaissance-style Cypress Cloister, give visitors a close-up look at the workshops of the National Living Treasures of Japan whose work is presented in the 12 Stone Garden exhibition. The award-winning photographer captures the artisans as they create precious objects using centuries-old techniques, expressing tradition at the cutting edge.
12 Stone Garden
Curated by Naoto Fukasawa and Tokugo Uchida
On display are objects by 12 Japanese National Living Treasures, master artisans whose mastery of traditional skills makes them a valued part of the country’s cultural heritage. Among the exquisite works are kimonos, an urushi lacquered harp and a bamboo flower basket. All the objects are displayed on 12 stone-shaped blocks designed by Naoto Fukasawa.
Curated by the Michelangelo Foundation for Creativity and Craftsmanship.
In the magnificent surroundings of the Cenacolo Vestibule, talented craftspeople from France and the United Kingdom work in front of visitors, demonstrating their skills and dexterity and how time-honoured techniques can imbue the present with everlasting beauty. The artisans include four duos drawn from France’s Maîtres d’Art-Élèves programme, presented by the Institut National des Métiers d’Art with the support of the Fondation Bettencourt Schueller; and four talented individuals selected by the Queen Elizabeth Scholarship Trust (QEST), a charity of the Royal Warrant Holders Association, which supports the training and education of talented and aspiring craftspeople in the United Kingdom. The structures are made by the Italian manufacturer De Castelli.
Italy and Japan: Marvellous Liaisons
Curated by Fondazione Cologni dei Mestieri d’Arte
In homage to the cultural exchange between Italy and Japan, which has always found a fertile breeding ground in Venice, this room invites visitors to delve into a dialogue between the finest Italian craftsmanship and the Japanese culture. On display, a selection of objects handcrafted by Italian master artisans, many designated as “MAM”, the Italian equivalent of National Living Treasures, and inspired by Japanese decorative motifs, techniques, materials and formal approaches.
Curated by Nicolas Le Moigne. Co-curated by Simon Kidston
Discover the creative results of a vibrant collaboration between Association Mec-Art (Pour la Mécanique d’Art) and ECAL/University of Art and Design Lausanne. Five interactive installations based on mechanical know-how, designed by the students of the Master of Advanced Studies in Design for Luxury & Craftsmanship, illustrate the different local traditions recently acknowledged by UNESCO and associated with the Swiss town of Sainte-Croix.
Curated by Michele De Lucchi and his studio AMDL CIRCLE
A homage to paper crafting – its relevance, its diversity and the human hands integral to the creative processes. An imaginative array of paper artworks reveals the beauty, creativity and cultural significance of paper craftsmanship. Visitors can witness the skill and artistry of artisans at work in the room, marvel at the immersive installations and allow themselves to discover the joys of writing with a fountain pen, crafted on site by Montblanc artisans.
Curated by David Caméo and Frédéric Bodet
A celebration of contemporary porcelain craftsmanship across Europe and Japan, with work by master ceramicists including Katsuyo Aoki (Japan), Tamsin van Essen (UK) and Ruth Gurvich (France), along with pieces from porcelain manufacturers Meissen, Sèvres, Nymphenburg and Bernardaud.
Pattern of Crafts
Curated by Sebastian Herkner
The award-winning German designer invites artisans and ateliers to interpret the geometric pattern on the square in front of the Basilica of San Giorgio in marble, mosaic, wood marquetry, textiles and other techniques. Their fine work reflects the designer’s signature style while showcasing the unmatched contributions of master artisans to the world of interiors.
Curated by De Castelli and Zanellato/Bortotto
A site-specific installation composed of works made of a mosaic of different metals with special finishes, which are a tribute to Venice and to the precious mosaic floors of St. Mark’s Basilica. Zanellato/Bortotto’s research is interpreted by De Castelli to tell the centuries-long story of a city exposed to the elements. These works represent the patient and incessant work carried out over time on the decorations of St. Mark and are an authentic and sincere tribute to the lagoon city, describing its fragility but also its resilience in resisting the erosive force of the sea.
Curated by the Michelangelo Foundation for Creativity and Craftsmanship
In an enchanted fairy tale flower garden envisioned by interior designer and scenographer Sylvain Roca, the Venetian glass manufacturer Venini crafts a collection of glass vases in collaboration with renowned flower designers. They will also design bespoke bouquets to complement these exquisite vases, animated by the idea that “blossoming” is the manifestation of creativity and savoir-faire.
Next of Europe
Curated by Jean Blanchaert and Stefano Boeri
A cabinet of curiosities will showcase an impressive selection of functional and decorative objects crafted by master artisans who embody the finest European craftsmanship, many of whom are dedicated to passing on their savoir-faire to the next generation or who represent the young generation themselves. Visitors can catch a glimpse of European “living treasures” working in the room, a rare opportunity to witness first-hand how these masters create objects of such fine craftsmanship.
The Artisan: a crafted tea room
Curated by Tapiwa Matsinde
Enter an enchanted oasis: bridging the functionality of a tea room with the creativity of a bohemian interior, the space is furnished with iconic pieces by artisans, designers and artists from all over the world, to create a sense of wonder through everyday gestures like sitting, relaxing, and enjoying a cup of tea.
WAITING with peace and darkness
Curated by Robert Wilson
The iconic American director and visual artist shines a light on the Japanese inspiration behind his theatrical productions, notably Puccini’s Madama Butterfly. This evocative exhibition will allow visitors to be immersed in Wilson’s staging genius, as he transforms the former Gandini 1960s swimming pool into a dramatic theatrical stage with his signature use of lighting, sound, costumes, artworks, videos, props and furniture, created in collaboration with master artisans using time-honoured techniques. Featuring video portraits of Japanese choreographer Suzushi Hanayagi.
Details: Genealogies of Ornament
Curated by Judith Clark
Witness the transformative power of craftsmanship in this multi-layered exhibition designed by Clark with Sam Collins, which showcases 15 luxury maisons dedicated to making the finest watches, tailoring, kimonos, jewellery, and more. Precious objects cluster around a demarcated route and act as mini “constellations” that change their pattern depending on where the visitor is standing. Along the route artisans sit “finishing” the objects on display, both true (they are the master artisans from the 15 participating maisons) and performative. Beautifully crafted wall panels and bespoke tiled floors reflect the heritage of each craft and its tools.
Curated by Panerai
Welcome aboard Eilean: step onto a legendary 1936 yacht expertly restored by Italian master artisans. Moored in the Venetian waters off San Giorgio Maggiore island, this beautiful Bermudan ketch, whose name means “Little Island” in Gaelic, was built by boat builders in Scotland. Admire the beauty of her design, the quality of her materials and discover the meticulous craftsmanship of the Italian master artisans who brought her back to life.