Milan 2021 – In the second half of the 19th century Mortimer Granville, a doctor investigating hysteria, invented the vibrator. Back then, bad moods, sadness, exuberant personalities and psychiatric disorders were wrongly linked to the only female figure. They were also a pretext to hinder and define – incorrectly – the figure of the woman. Nowadays, the vibrator and other sex toys are rightly considered objects of pleasure, both for men and women.
During Milan Design Week, irony and humour are combined with social and contemporary themes at Hysteria, an Alpha District’s open-air exhibition in piazza Gino Valle. A group of creatives was asked to think about the theme of women and invited them to create a project based on vibrators or other sex toys. The exhibition has been created in collaboration with The Zen Agency and online sex-store Magic America. Check the projects we liked the most.
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Luca and Simona Perrone, founders of the Libribianchi art and design project, use books as a raw material to promote culture. Their sculpture consists of a candid, open book stubbed by a nail wedged into the pages reflecting on women’s prevarication in a relationship. “The nail symbolises men’s narcissism, turning affection for the other person into hatred. The violated book represents women’s acceptance of abuse for the sake of protecting the relationship.”
In Hippocratic Greece, it was believed that hysteria was caused by a displacement of the uterus, treated with perfumed ointments to redirect it to its original and natural position. Le Mete – the destinations in English – is a collection of three scent diffusers by Trepunti Studio. In the installation, “the uterus is transformed into a wandering sphere in search of essential oils in order to absorb fragrances and gradually release them.”
“I started from the concept of pleasure,” says Miguel Reguero. The designer conceived the Venus project from the idea of collecting and preserving small aphrodisiac gastronomic pleasures like the spices linked to the myth of Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love emerging from the sea inside an oyster shell. Hence the name of the project, Venus, her Roman equivalent. The project counts a series of containers whose shapes recall small objects of pleasure.
Valentina Cerra and Chiara Corbani created The Shell, a sinuous vibrator container crafted in porcelain by Biancodichina. “As an ancient emblem of fertility and femininity, the shell is fragile but protects, showing itself off by guarding its contents.”
All photos: courtesy of Alpha District.