TECTONICA at Milan Design Week: Ecology of form

ARCHITECTEM was present at the unraveling of Clino Trini Castelli’s exhibition ‘Tectonica’ as part of Fuori Salone, featuring models and applications of Castelli designed textures reminiscent of tectonic plates. Ayesha Zafar showcases the exhibition through her photographs and conversation with the Curator and the Artist.

Clino T. Castelli designed a series of furnishings for the 18th Milan Triennale in 1992 that presented objects reflecting his “no form” ideology, a concept he has stayed true to over the span of his career as an Industrial designer and an Artist. The focus of his work predominantly revolved around materials and textures. The series included the “antiseismic bookcase” Tectonic, a unit placed in the center of a room, the cases on one side with inward sloping shelves to avoid books from toppling over in case of a tremor, while the other face a texture featuring a sequence of pyramid-like modules in slight relief. The surface ever so slightly changing with varying light and shift in perspective from movement around the unit.

As the curator Guido Musante explains

The tectonic bookcase gave its name to a type of texture, later called Tectonica, also in reference to the movements of the tectonic plates of the earth. That surface is sort of ideal ‘cretto’ (crack) capable of communication an idea of enormous latent energy, like that of the continental plates. All this happens with the use of the smallest possible figurative sense: Tectonica becomes the minimum expression of maximum natural events. Its texture concedes nothing to the usual plastic composition, and instead establishes a universal and abstract, highly characteristic meta-language.


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Speaking with Clino Castelli, he emphasized the importance of execution and having a vision – one that began 25 years ago and is just as relevant today to produce objects that require the specific imagery that is vital for it to portray.

Guido Musante explained further that the concept of megatextures, and of Tectonica in particular, is to shift away from form and to apply simplistic volumes. This places emphasis on the material affording it an intrinsic three-dimensional character as though being seen through a microscope.

The production designer, Riccardo Giustini, explained the objects and images present at the exhibition include cases of Hitachi supercomputers (Energy Mosaic), to the recent large servers (Virtual Storage Platforms) used by the ‘cloud’- the worldwide network of data centers. The VSP servers were treated with a special perforated grid titled ‘dark moss’.

Guido Musante expressed how over the years, Tectonica has become a matrix for a wide range of design studies outside pure industrial design such as textiles, building modules, home automation controls.

For Clino Castelli Tectonica is extraneous to the great modern paradigm “form follows function” that also constitutes the algorithm of separation between the concepts of art (as form without function) and design (the form of function)


The exhibition TECTONICA placche e art crate will continue till the 30th of April at Galleria Giuseppe Pero, Via L.P Lambertenghi, 3, Milano.
The Fuori Salone Event TECTONICA modelli e applicazioni is open from the 11th of April till the 17th of April at Castelli Design Studio, Corso G.Garibaldi, 35, Milano.


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