Slalom Comes to Doha with Icone
On September 20, 2023, Italian design excellence landed in Doha within the spaces of M7, Qatar’s epicentre for innovation in fashion, design and technology with an exhibition curated by celebrity gallerist Rossana Orlandi and designed by architect Lucio Micheletti. While all the pieces were extraordinary in design and value in history, we turned our attention to one design that has captured our attention, Idol by Isabella Del Grandi for Slalom.
“ICONE. Voices of Design Made in Italy” promoted by the Embassy of Italy in the State of Qatar and hosted by Qatar Museums, the exhibit stems from an exceptional cycle in bilateral relations between Italy in Qatar.
Rossana Orlandi, a leading figure on the international creative scene, Compasso d’Oro 2022 winner, and ambassador for “good design” decided to dedicate a showcase the unbridled talent of Italian manufacturing with a signature exhibition design by architect Lucio Micheletti of Micheletti+Partners, setting in motion a coup de théâtre highlighting Italy’s unparalleled creativity.
Through her original perspective, visitors are guided through a path shining a spotlight on the excellence of the Italian manufacturing industry, exploring the origin of the iconic pieces’ designs.
“The exhibit is focused on two main keywords: emotion and education. With this in mind, the creatives involved were engaged to choose their creation that excites them most, sparking a continuous dialogue with the featured companies, who were crucial partners for the entire operation. The collaboration with Lucio Micheletti, the architect who imagined darkness as an ideal frame within which to set the furnishings, fusing a museum setup with a theatrical stage to establish the perfect concentration and mood. On view until December 20, the exhibit promises a sensorial experience, enveloping visitors within the customised layout exploring original ideas around exhibition design. Here, the most advanced lighting, digital and audio technologies will engage the audience to make the experience as immersive as possible,” says Orlandi bringing our attention to the detailing that has gone into the exhibition design.
The exhibition also brings one Qatari designer into focus, Maryam Al Suwaidi’s Haima, a fusion of Qatari architectural heritage and the desert’s curves brought to life through Italian craftsmanship FROMM.
Another interesting product that captured our attention for its marriage of technology and design was Idol an ensemble of three phono-absorbing sculptures by Slalom designed by Isabella Del Grandi with the intention of pushing the boundaries of acoustics with an eclectic touch and a new symbolic meaning.
Slalom Acoustic & partition systems is an Italian company producing sound-absorbing products, able to guarantee a safe acoustic comfort together with a unique design of its kind. The peculiar characteristic of Slalom is the sustainable approach to the project, from the choice of raw, to the production and management process with reduced environmental impact. But for us it was the design of the product that seemed to be the clinch breaker.
Both the founder and the designer of the Studio were in Doha and we asked them about this new product. Elettra de Pellegrin, CEO and founder of Slalom and Isabella Del Grandi, designer and art director of Slalom are both passionate women of design who were stunned by Doha and its architecture.
“The re-interpretation of primitive shapes gives life to a series of contemporary totems, consisting in an assemblage of non-traditional geometrical figurines in balance with each other,” explains Del Grandi, the architect-cum-designer of Slalom.
The design takes its name IDOL from original interpretation the ancient Greek word, as a symbol of mystic powers or object of representation for other meanings.
“Idol is the result of the meticulous search for harmony between colours and fabrics belonging to opposite worlds, which transferred to a human scale generates dynamic and indeterminate multisensory experiences. Each volume activates a different sense, each geometry acquires an unexpected meaning and, thus, through sight, touch and hearing, a personal idol, an experiential meaning, an imaginary figure is constructed,” explains Del Grandi.
Carefully crafted by atelier Slalom, every sculpture is finished with ethical and precious felts and fabrics made in Italy, that have been specifically selected for the exhibition, as the evocative colour palette. The diverse nature and aesthetic of the fabrics together with the colours combine into a multisensorial experience when interacting with the products and concur to the construction of an imaginary landscape.
The idol will be an art piece with a function when it adorns your living room. A piece of art designed by a woman, brought to life by a woman-owned entpreneur and architect who also makes sure that her Company employs more women (80% of the workforce is currently women).
“The challenge consists not only in guaranteeing acoustically comfortable spaces, but also in guaranteeing the well-being and health of users, who are the center and objective of our actions. The wide choice of materials offered and the attention to detail come to life from the careful choice of partners and their ability to promote quality, traceable and highly recycled raw materials,” says de Pelligrin.