Art and design lovers from around the world visited the magnificent Ca d’Oro palazzo on the Grand Canal during the opening days of the Biennale. The steady flock of enthusiasts ventured to the building’s stunning premises not just to catch a glimpse of its stately Venetian architecture but to behold Dysfunctional, a breathtaking show depicting the city’s rich history of artistic expression through new collectible design objects by 23 renowned artists, including French designer Vincent Dubourg, American fashion designer Rick Owens, US-based Connor Tingley and more.
Hosted by international design and art gallery, Carpenters Workshop Gallery, in collaboration with global wealth managing firm, Lombard Odier, Dysfunctional explores the relationship between art and design.
“The idea of dysfunction, defined as ‘the disruption of normal social relations’, invites visitors to rethink the conventional relationship between form and function, art and design, the historical and the modern,” say co-founders of Carpenters Workshop Gallery, Julien Lombrail and Loïc Le Gaillard. “We want to invite visitors to go on an immersive journey in time and explore the blurred lines between art and design in the context of the rich Venetian heritage.”
Verhoeven Twins.Moments of Happiness. 2019. Borosilicate glass, robotic, iridescent oil effect (oven), hand uv glued. Courtesy of Carpenters Workshop Gallery
Upon entrance visitors can behold Under a Light Tree (2019) by Spanish artist-designer Nacho Carbonell, showcased in the palazzo’s 15th century courtyard. Made using weathering steel, concrete metal and light fittings, the illuminating work references the ancient decorations that once embellished the Ca’ d’Oro, which translates to ‘the golden house’.
Also of note is Fragile Future 3 (2019), a light installation by Amsterdam-based design firm Studio Drift, which challenges the relationship between human beings and nature. The work encircles San Sebastian (1506), an enthralling painting by Italian artist Andrea Mantegna, which sits at the heart of the museum’s collection. These works and many more address the boundaries between design and art, as Lombrail and Gaillard state, “to question what defines an artwork, why can artworks not be functional and when does design become art?”
First established in 2006 in Chelsea, London, The Carpenters Workshop Gallery now has branches in New York, Paris and San Francisco, serving an international platform for established artists and designers around the world. “The Carpenters Workshop Gallery partnership is a natural collaboration for Lombard Odier, given our shared approach as true ‘rethinkers’,” says Frédéric Rochat, Managing Partner and Co-Head of Private Clients at Lombard Odier.
Mathieu Lehanneur. Ocean Memories / Acqua Alta Stool CE, 2019. Sculpture, Seating , Stools, Taborets , Costa Esmeralda Granite. 45 x 42 x 42 cm. Courtesy of Carpenters Workshop Gallery
“This exhibition successfully fuses art and design, displaying bespoke works of unique savoir-faire.” The shared vision between Lombard Odier and Carpenters Workshop Gallery is one that contributes to the former’s founding philosophy.
“Innovation and customisation are part of Lombard Odier’s identity, having consistently reinvented our business over seven generations and two centuries, to provide innovative and tailored advice to our clients in times of change,” adds Rochat.
Virgil Abloh. ‘Alaska Alaska’ Acqua Alta series of sinking furniture. Courtesy Carpenters Workshop Gallery
Situated on an upper floor on the building’s terrace was Moments of Happiness (2019) by Amsterdam-based Dutch brothers Joep Verhoeven and Jeroen Verhoeven in collaboration with Swiss luxury jeweller and watchmaker Piaget. The work presents groups of glass bubbles suspended in air.
Their pristine and reflective surfaces catch reflections of the Grand Canal below and morph in brilliance and colour depending on the time of day. The evocative sculpture represents the innocence of youth through an ethereal combination of mysticism and reality, with elements of gold paying homage to Piaget’s use of the metal. Following years of research, the Verhoeven Twins used borosilicate glass to produce the whimsical impression of bubbles shown in the work. The installation aims to provide, like its name, intense “moments of happiness.”
The Dysfunctional exhibition is on show until 24 November 2019 at Galleria Giorgo Franchetti alla Ca’ d’Oro, Venice. carpentersworkshopgallery.com
To read more, pick up the Summer 2019 issue of Harper's Bazaar Interiors