A tale of beauty, décor, materials and surfaces
Students' designs by master mosaicists
A new wave of creative expression in mosaic, terrazzo and pebblestone is expected to be unleashed soon, revealing modern interpretations of traditional materials. Nurturing the talents of young artists and artisans is second nature to Fantini Mosaici – indeed, the Milan-based family firm has taken pride in doing so for more than a century.
For the first time in its 123-year history, Fantini Mosaici took this support to the next level and initiated a creative competition for the students of the prestigious Accademia di Belle Arti di Brera (Brera Academy of Fine Arts) in Milan.
Entries for the competition are now open to all students enrolled in the 2022/23 academic year, and graduates of the 2021/22 sessions, and must be submitted on or before 13 February 2023.
"We are continuously on the lookout, scouting for new talents and ideas from the youth that can be adapted and integrated into our company. While we practice centuries-old stone, terrazzo and stonework techniques, collaborating with an academic institution like the Accademia di Brera is an excellent opportunity for Fantini Mosaici to encourage young artists to work with age-old materials, but with a modern and fresh interpretation,” says Enrico Fantin, President of Fantini Mosaici.
Fantin adds: "This is the first time that we are sponsoring a competition of this type, but we regularly collaborate with universities and academic institutions like Bocconi University in Milan; and more recently, we engaged with Sotheby’s Institute of Art in London. Other initiatives with students in various parts of the world also allow us to develop and nurture new talent while promoting the best of Made in Italy."
“The creation of unique hand-made surfaces – whether they are mosaic, terrazzo or pebblestone – is in our DNA. However, as the world – and, indeed, Italy – is facing an acute shortage of artisans, we have a duty to make a conscious effort to encourage young people to pursue careers in the crafts, where they can develop their talent and become highly regarded and specialised artisans – such as master mosaicists,” Fantin explains.
"Following several student briefings on the technical aspects of designing with mosaic, terrazzo and pebblestone, we are pleased to announce the Call of entries for this exciting project, for which we expect around 30 to 40 entries," says Professor Massimo B. Randone, the Curator of this initiative and founder of Cxine.
"The theme of the competition – 'Tales of material, decoration, beauty and surfaces' – is deliberately abstract, as we want to give the artists maximum freedom to be as radical or conservative as they want with their works."
"Mosaic is an expensive medium and not always accessible to students; we seek to bridge this gap and allow them to create designs which can be realised [either] in their chosen material or a hybrid combination of materials," Randone says.
The competition is a way to invite young talents to interpret, in their own poetic and figurative language, the representative potential of the art of mosaic. They should create a design capable of expressing, enhancing and exploring the decorative, artistic and expressive narrative and potential of high-end Italian manufacturing in the specialities of hand-cut mosaic, terrazzo and pebblestone – in which Fantini Mosaici excels and creates surfaces for institutional and luxury clients in all parts of the globe. "This is a chance to observe, be surprised [by] and reward a collection of stories composed of materials, decoration, beauty and surfaces," explains Randone.
As an added incentive, the winners will receive a monetary prize (supporting their creative aptitude and research) and have their work manufactured, exhibited and published in a project catalogue.
A prize purse will be shared between the three First Prize winners, and three Honorary Mention entrants. Additionally, some 15 works of Select Interest which are also deemed to be of an excellent standard will also be included in the exhibition and event catalogue.
Each entrant can make a maximum of three entries which will be assessed by an illustrious panel of seven jurors, including:
Maria Cristina Galli, Deputy Director of the Accademia di Brera
Dany Vescovi, Director of the Accademia di Brera Painting School
Felice Martinelli, Professor Urban and Territorial Intervention Planning Accademia di Brera
Laura Traldi, Editorial Coordinator internimagazine.it / DWProfessional Curator
Sandra Kapp, Head of Content and Special Projects Fantini Mosaici
Massimo Bruto Randone, Founder and Director of Cxine
Alessandro Consolo, Founder and Director of Consolo Hub
The jury will evaluate the entries based on creative originality, refinement and elegance of composition, feasibility and compliance with entry requirements, and clarity and intensity of artistic and methodological relationship.
The mosaic and stonework panels designed by winning students will be hand-made by Fantini Mosaici master craftspeople and will be exhibited during the annual Milan Design Week – the world's biggest design event (running 18-23 April 2023).
The winning designs of the Fantini Mosaici-sponsored creative competition will be prominently displayed within the Accademia di Brera campus, widely considered to be one of the heartbeat of the Milan Design Week, which is attended by the world's top architects, interior designers and design media.
With over 4,000 students, including many mainly postgraduate foreign students, the Brera Academy has an enviable global reputation for producing students of the highest calibre.
"We look forward to being inspired by the fresh, free-spirited ideas of the participants and having our master craftspeople transforming them into works of contemporary art, as part of our responsibility to pass the traditions to the next generation." Fantin says.