Cultured Magazine

Summer 2014

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72 CULTURED BACK TO BRONZE In June, Mattia Bonetti showcases his latest designs at David Gill Galleries in London. BY BROOK S. MASON In the design world, the oeuvre of the Swiss-born, Paris-based Mattia Bonetti reigns supreme. After all, his work traverses sculpture and design mixed with a dose of alchemy. Favoring Bonetti's work are such A-list pop cultural icons as Madonna and Elton John, along with designers and architects Jacques Grange, Robert Couturier and Delphine Krakoff. Now Bonetti's latest designs, which showcase his creative riffs on styles as diverse as Rococo and surrealism, will be front and center in a new exhibition at David Gill Galleries in London from June 3 to July 19. "Over the past 27 years, Mattia has been translating his own visual poetic vocabulary into design, and he continues to do so," says David Gill. A total of 25 examples will be on view. "Of late, I've been harking back to bronze antiquities, 18th century notions of fantasy and contemporary culture as well," says Bonetti who frequents the Louvre and Musée des Arts Dé- coratifs for inspiration. He cites an upholstered sofa and arm- chairs with sides of hand-carved and painted wood shields emblazoned with stones and gilt decoration. "They're my inter- pretation of Roman shields," notes the designer from his Paris studio. Also on view will be his cast iron Bubblegum series which includes a table based on an 18th-century gueridon, only with elongated legs akin to those of a giraffe. "But that design in cast bronze also refers to a wad of bubblegum when it's pulled apart, so there's a sense of elasticity," says Bonetti of that ex- ample, which comes in an edition of 24. He paired that table with an identical one in acrylic, which he's dubbed Ghost. Then a table with a gray tufo stone top is rimmed in gilt bronze that integrates shell-like designs. "I had been thinking of 1750 shell-encrusted grottoes, but with a contemporary twist," says Bonetti of the quixotic design. "The table and mirror in that series incorporate the natural due to the rock and shell- like portions, yet evoke a sense of surprise and whimsy," he adds. A marble coffee table with its edges in rock crystal also speaks of Bonetti's particular brand of magic. Who are the collectors for his designs, which weave to- gether fantasy and function? "By and large, they have modern paintings by Picasso and Rothko, along with a Damien Hirst or two," says Bonetti. If you can't take in the exhibition at David Gill, head to the Paris Biennale des Antiquaires, where Bonetti's design exam- ples will be featured at the stand of Pierre Passebon this Sep- tember. Designer Mattia Bonetti will show his new work at David Gill Galleries, including his Bubblegum side table, below.

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