ARTS & CRAFTS & DESIGN
Thanks to the support of the Swiss Fine Watchmaking company Vacheron Constantin, the
exhibition entitled “Arts & Crafts & Design: Time according to Alessandro Mendini and his
Artisans” is being presented by the Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie during the Salon
International de la Haute Horlogerie. It is the result of a project undertaken by the
Fondazione des Mestieri d’Arte in Milan in collaboration with the Fondation Cartier pour
l’art contemporain in Paris.
This exhibition, which comprises thirteen works of art, is the first to initiate a dialogue on the
theme of Time between Fine Watchmaking and the world of design, arts and crafts featured
in other manual disciplines.
The creations designed by Alessandro Mendini were made by renowned Italian artisans out
of thirteen different materials. The dialogue between the artist, the designer, and the
master artisan, between the person who conceives the idea and the one who interprets it,
conveys the vitality of an economic, productive, and cultural system of which the legacy still
remains clearly in evidence today.
The exhibition’s cultural ambition is thus to highlight the fundamental role played by the
artistic crafts within our society, by including them in an ongoing dialogue evolving in step
with modern creative expression. Each piece is signed by both Alessandro Mendini and the
artisan who made it.
In accordance with the wishes expressed by Alessandro Mendini, all the objects on display
be designed to showcase the values of excellence of the main craft trades and materials,
using techniques that are partly traditional and partly experimental. Each of the objects has
its own aesthetic identity, its own visual language coinciding with the characteristics of the
materials it “wears.”
WHERE CRAFTS MEET DESIGN
In the words of Alessandro Mendini, “There are countless artistic materials and techniques,
reflecting the innumerable attacks that the modern world inflicts on the grand craftsmanship
traditions. These days we ‘don’t have time,’ and these thirteen works are just the kind of
objects that take a great deal of it. That is why making them is meant as a demonstration. In
the case in point, they speak about the beauty of works that are created, not to meet a
specific goal, but as an end in themselves, and they demonstrate the existence of spaces that
offer infinite possibilities in the areas that lie midway between art, craftsmanship, and
design, beyond their exclusive domains.”
After Geneva, Vacheron Constantin, owner of these objets d’art, will send the exhibition on a
tour to promote the importance of dialogue between artistic crafts and design.
VACHERON CONSTANTIN AND ARTISTIC CRAFTS
Vacheron Constantin, the world’s oldest Fine Watchmaking firm which has been in business
continuously for over 250 years, sees it as its duty to promote and preserve the sometimes
forgotten forms of craftsmanship passed down from previous generations and which it views
as an ethical and social value.
In contributing to the creation of this exhibition, Vacheron Constantin wishes to underline its
commitment on behalf of Artistic Crafts as living testimonies to human genius and as
authentic players in the field of contemporary design, while also highlighting the excellence
achieved through combining the talents of Art, Crafts and Design.
Vacheron Constantin has always cultivated ties with the world of art and culture. It is the
preferred partner of a number of cultural institutions such as the Paris National Opera, the
French National Institute of Arts & Crafts, the Barbier-Mueller Museum Cultural Foundation,
and the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande.