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Architect with a bent for design, caught between experimentation and poetry

After a long experience in France which led him to work with Jacques Ripault and Christophe Pillet, Gae Avitabile returned to Caserta, choosing the region of Campania, in the South of Italy, as his place of residence and inspiration for his work.
Here, far from the official routes of design, he is a member of the scientific committee of the Royal Palace of Caserta and carries out his work as an architect both independently and in support of international studios. As well as these aspects, Gae Avitabile’s research takes an independent path in his design and experimentation with new materials, an activity which always flows through a careful mapping of the local artisan expertise and resources.

“My time in Paris allowed me to understand that you can create whatever you can think of, continuously changing scale, interpreting a project differently every time, even if it is very similar. After returning to Italy, I tried to apply this methodology to a completely different context: it was a process, not taken for granted, which allowed me to find my design key.”

The first step is a radical change of vision starting out from the geographical data, Southern Italy, implying a different perspective not only on design, but also on the way of doing design itself. In the beginning, Gae’s attentions focused on wood and iron. As traditional as these materials are, he soon discovered that the result would not be so immediate: the project evolved and adapted itself on the basis of the expertise and tools available to the local craftsmen, each time trying to understand the highest point which can be reached. Everything is part of a process where ideas and reality adapt reciprocally, in which the final result can only be original and experimental.

What Gae Avitabile’s creations have in common is his relational method of design, which is able to create dialogue between the large and small scale precisely because it comes from attention to the context – local, but not only – and its dynamics: he does not create certain responses as much as open processes in which the meanings are stratified in the objects themselves.
Having attended the most recent editions of Edit Napoli, where he exhibited the results of his research into new materials, at the same time Gae Avitabile has developed his own range of furniture available on Artemest, PalermoUno and displayed in Galleria Mia in Rome. This year’s Milano Design Week, on the other hand, will formally seal the designer’s partnership with Forma&Cemento, a brand which fully reflects his experimental and stylistic research.