Saturday, 22 September 2012


The fruits of Gabriella Crespi's labours fold metallic extravagance with utilitarian innovation for the sharpest of palates. Crespi, an international designer, artist and socialite dazzled the stars with her tactile and erudite reflective forms. Born in Milan in 1922, Crespi grew up in the mellow and rural twilights of Tuscany, in such a landscape the sensual harmony of Proserpine would saturate both mind and soul. Undeniably, this languid affair with nature influenced Crespi's outlook and sculptural style. Initially studying architecture at Politecnico Instituto, this introductory foray into design would manifest itself within Crespi's hidden pockets of pragmatism.

"Yang Yin" desk/bookcase 1979
This auteur style ripened with Crespi's "The Small Lune" collection which was ignited via her emphatic absorption of the universe. These interlocking sculptural shards, some doused in copper-streaks others in a dew-cooled surface of persian marble became quixotic sculptural totems to outer galaxies. Many of Crespi's signature materials include bamboo, plexiglass, and a range of metals and stones which rotate in combinations to embellish the Crespi stratosphere, one that is peppered with an intense connection with nature and architecture.

"Ellisse" - "Cuba Tonda" - "Scultura" 1976

"Yang Yin" bar 1979
Most of Crespi's works were created during the 60s and 70s, during which her furniture designs became talismanic pieces in their own dimension. Her elegant and elaborate mechanisms embalmed an innate allure, continually associated with her designs. Quite often these rubix cube-like interventions unfurled with efficient ease to unlock inner lacquered shelving units, evident in The Yin Yang desk. 1972 saw the birth of another iconic design: "Monsieur - Madame" a shelving unit consisting of contrasting metals with deep diagonal grooves to reflect an illusory effect, which was heightened through the use of lighting. Swivelling plexiglass shards and metallic planes seamlessly overlap like the petals of an orchid. This shape-shifting luminescence in Crespi's work was undeniably thirst quenching to her panoply of collectors. The duality between the urbane, disco essence and organic, spiritual splendour became a doctrine for a soporifically sensual era. Organic mysticism was ever present, non more so than in her animal sculptures: life-size bronze deer, elegant herons and an ostrich stood like an obelisk with a real ostrich egg cradled as part of the anatomy. By blending the urban and the natural, the mind and the spirit Crepsi cross-pollinated realms to form exact and elegant design, how to have the astronomic in your living room.

"A Kumquat for John Keats" by Tony Harrison 1981
"A Kumquat for John Keats" by Tony Harrison 1981

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