Milan 2021 – “In 2013, my mother left us because of pancreatic cancer.” Says Daniele Mingardo. His metallic carpentry and brand Mingardo presents the A FLAME FOR RESEARCH project and exhibition curated by Federica Sala. “It was a few years ago, and now I finally have the chance to do something meaningful for someone, just as I would have appreciated if this had happened to my mother. And I am willing to make a concrete gesture by doing what I do best: being a blacksmith.”
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Daniele has invited ten acclaimed designers to design unique candleholders that will be auctioned in a charity event organized in collaboration with Christie’s Italia to support the Mario Negri Pharmacological Institute IRCCS concretely implementing the scientific research against cancer. [At OFFSTAGE, Piazza Luigi Vittorio Bertarelli 4, until September 10.]
The pieces are conceived by Michele De Lucchi, Jaime Hayon, Philippe Malouin, Alberto & Francesco Meda, Luca Nichetto, Matteo Thun, Patricia Urquiola, Marcel Wanders studio, Panter & Tourron and Federica Biasi, who is also the art director of Mingardo.
Why candleholders? “The candleholder does not protect just any element, but it guards fire. It is not only an object is also the bearer of a message of hope, a positive attitude of mind, bringing confidence in the future.”
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Federica Biasi has created Rue, a suspended poetic sculpture that enhances metalworking. A spark plug cylinder connects two curved arches held in tension by a cable with a weight attached to each other and connected to the ground. Like a path of light, Rue evokes the suspension between life and death, expressing a vision of hope.
Riflesso, by Michele de Lucchi, features seven polished brass plates sewn with iron wire. Illuminated, the stitching points evoke the rituality of a patient. The flame mirrored on the glossy surface creates a play of reflections that emphasize the warm tones of the light. The circle-shaped wall candleholder is a metaphor for acting in solidarity: we sew to assemble pieces, fix tears, build relationships and create strong bonds.
Instrument N 01 by Jaime Hayon is a magical artifact, a symbol of conviviality. It is a smiling tribal face, a tribute to the happiness shared by a circle of friends whose ears/handles add a touch of expressiveness. Beautiful and functional, Instrument N 01 is produced with a technique similar to some metal wind musical instruments.
Philippe Malouin’s Stack candelabrum was inspired by London chimneys and industrial towers where the designer lives and works. The piece is powder-coated in bright green, a colorful contrast, full of confidence in research, designed to stand out in an interior with neutral colors.
Alberto and Francesco Meda have devised a candlestick consisting of two steel sheets, an encounter between two shapes that give the object’s name: Incontro. Here, the organic form crosses deliberately to support the candle as a symbolic transposition of the encounter between supportive people united for the aid of a beneficial cause.
Like small illuminated temples, unexpected discoveries on a street corner, the edicole are Italian urban niches housing and protect the elements they contain. For Edicola, Luca Nichetto reinterpret these alcoves. A refined candlestick in stainless steel and iron is protected by pigmented and satin Ocean Blue paint interacting with the flickering candlelight.
“It’s the little things that give us hope, like lighting a candle to pray,” says architect Matteo Thun who create the evocative Sant’Agata candle holder. A single round candlestick was made to hold a group of candles, a unique piece holding multiple light sources. A candle is like sunlight, warm and familiar, a torch that points the way and shows solidarity.
Hope by Patricia Urquiola plays with materials and surfaces dancing with the light of a powerful and positive flame burning for the battle against the disease. Simple and totally demountable, the structure is made of mauve-colored anodized metal. A cylindrical base, decorated with a ribbon, supports the custom-made candle whose light is filtered by a perforated panel that multiplies the flame, creating shades of purple.
Two flames hide behind a monolithic body, a symbol of the past and thought towards a distant future. The result is Focus, an object by Panter & Tourron that lives out of time. The candlestick is composed of two equal parts, which can be coupled by matching the respective bases or used separately as independent elements. When the two parts are coupled and the candles are lit, two side slits remain uncovered, releasing light as a symbol of hope.
Marcel Wanders studio has designed Cu-Cou, an elevated chandelier with satin and glass bead blasting copper finishes. The unique piece consists of a central light bulb surrounded by five candlesticks containing either tea or conical candles.
A flame for research: all photos by Matteo Imbriani and Stefania Zanetti, courtesy of Mingardo.