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Adherence to downhill skiing

Going straight down, to measure one's courage and, in some cases, to mask a bit of bad grace in taking turns, a skier descends at full speed.

Cut the air by doubling over on your skis. On the fresh snow it passes like an arrow. At the bottom of the slope, covered with snow from head to toe, back in the queue to go up to the top again. The skier has his eyes firmly planted on the slope, he dreams of challenging nature.

This image, so far from the Milan of the Salone del Mobile , only reappears in my mind today after a few years after reading the book by Carlo Mollino "Introduction to downhill skiing" (Mediterranea, 1950). Thanks to the re-edition of historical products by great masters that Zanotta has decided to re-propose for 2018, I find myself admiring Fenis , the 1959 seat that Mollino conceived for the Faculty of Architecture in Turin and which, with its sinuous lines from the Aosta Valley, reminds me how much the words of the master, eclectic architect and exponent of an eccentric elite of protagonists of Turin's artistic and cultural life, were actually a metaphor for life. Mollino's art immediately established itself. He was certainly among the most multifaceted men of his time. Architect, designer, photographer, aviator, a man with an infinite passion for skiing and the mountains, he did not struggle to make his practice of managing multiple aspects of his personality, even for a natural predisposition he lived his life as a work of art. Between his life and his works it is difficult to establish a boundary, always poised between genius and technique, very often he interpreted the needs of the society of his time. The Teatro Regio di Torino was the symbol of the great reconstruction in Italy in the first decades of the second post-war period, becoming a symbol of rigorous design professionalism and peculiar construction skills. Even his "games" were no less, on the occasion of the New Year celebrations of 1964 he built and donated small "companions for the night" for the friends present, cardboard dragons to be precise. Real companions to take with you on surreal journeys, those of dreams. The dragon donated to her friend Carol Rama was recently recognized by the Superintendence of Archeology, Fine Arts and Landscape of Turin as a unique collector's item. His photographic technique, always updated and constantly equipped with the latest technology available, was the tool on which he exercised his talent with enthusiasm and continuity. His design was always inclined to enhance the craftsmanship of the object and artistic originality.

He experimented with new methodologies and materials, such as his patent of overlapping curved plywood.

Perhaps the downhill skiing to which Carlo Mollino refers does not only refer to a technique or a sporting specialty linked to skiing. I believe that someone like him who tries to initiate a person, in this case a skier, to find himself by learning the techniques, suggesting ways to control, govern and at the same time create the style of descent, know the mechanics of movements, physical effort, the harmony of the style, the elements of technique, the equipment, the fluid trajectories marked on paper as on the snow, is a way to be able to shorten the distance between two parts of oneself, the self and the other.

Finding yourself in your work and life not necessarily to be successful but rather to get to the bottom of the track with awareness.

"Everything is allowed" was his motto, "without prejudice to the imagination".


Fenis chair © PH_MiroZagnoli

Carlo Mollino: Message from the Darkroom © PH_Adarte

Fenis chair © PH_Maura Mantelli for WMMQ

Fenis chair © Museo Casa Torino Mollino

Polaroid © Museo Casa Torino Mollino

Walking dragon on a bed © Museo Casa Torino Mollino

Bathroom © Museo Casa Torino Mollino

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