Sawaya & Moroni emerges on the international design scene in 1984 relatively quickly combining professional talent of architect and designer William Sawaya with entrepreneurship of Paolo Moroni. The company is now set as a manufacturer of high quality design furniture.
Both partners are from areas unrelated to the furniture, so the lack of family’s tradition to be respected and passed, typical of this area, becomes a positive element, free from all conceptual and productive restrictions. Thanks to this freedom borns a collection of limited editions signed by the great protagonists of contemporary architecture, design and art, together with a multitude of furniture, silver and artifacts that have found place in private collections and design museums around the world .
Every product has a story. In the course of our century, artistic values have gradually seeped into a variety of fields, so that artistic significance has come to be attributed to many objects originally designed for other purposes. The extremes of the aesthetically-inclined transformations of practically any object and product can be found in various artistic movements. One of these is Dada, which paradoxically invited the observer to see the most everyday of industrial products as works of art. Another one was Pop Art, which channelled the stream of media images and mass consumption products towards the mill of art. In Italy, we also had the Poor Art movement, whose aim was to use art to salvage even the least valuable of industrialised society's cast-offs, such as the poor materials of iron, paper and brick.
The wisdom of hindsight demonstrates the logic behind these development: with a certain degree of arrogance, artistic quality was attributed by the market in opposition to the material value of the work and above all in contrast to the actual work put into achieving the final result. This was certainly one of the more unreasonable and provocative phenomena of our age, as art seemed to have become a way of a tributing an excessive value (firstly aesthetic, but as a consequence also economic) to an object that had a precious little intrinsic value in terms of materials, technique and work.
Today's presentation of a collection of artistic silver pieces is therefore a challenge to this attitude. Each object in the collection - whether a candlestick or a fruit bowl, a tray or a caraffe - is practically unique, strongly individual and exceptional, unlike the "multiple" approach and the widespread technical reproduceability so much used and abused in the arts. But in this collection of silver, it is not so much the quality of the material that defines the character of the product as the accumulation of a long, slow, complex process of elaboration and work, an approach that turns on its head the concept of attributing value to a work of art in a purely arbitrary way, by conferring aesthetic status on technically poor objects created without any mastery.
Every one of these silver object has the uniqueness of a prototype, as each of them is practically handmade. Although production is preceded by a detailed design study, the results are achieved individually by the complex process of hand craftsmanship, right down to the tiniest detail. The architects and designers who designed the collection are well-known and highly authoritative. But the contribution made by the craftsmen to converting the design into a product enjoys an equal quality and authority, although they are less well-known. Although these pieces are the results of layer upon layer of such profound design conception, craftsmanship and artistic care that they are worthy of display in a museum, this does not mean that they neglect their 1'unctional objectives: an authentic work of art need not fear being used.
A tray or a candlestick made in this way is a "noble" object and a work of art by virtue of this way of blending the conceptual design and the creative process. In this way, each of these silver objects tells a story. These are not pieces designed once and for all and then mass-produced by an industry that uses contemporary artistic misunderstandings to spread and increase they value.
The pieces presented here are all unique, each one always has a story to tell: the story that has brought them individually to their visible result, just like the portrait that each one of us has of ourselves, which tells how we have developed as individual human beings.
The brand Sawaya & Moroni is mainly known for his research and conceptual design for its daring collaborations with architects such as Jean Nouvel, Daniel Libeskind, Dominique Perrault, Michael Graves, OM Ungers, Massimiliano Fuksas, Zaha Hadid, Charles Jencks, Kazuo Shinohara, Ettore Sottsass, Adolfo Natalini, Jakob + MacFarlane, Hani Rashid, Mario Bellini, Jean-Michel Wilmotte, but also for design projects as well as signed by the same William Sawaya from designers or artists such as Ron Arad, Michael Young, Richard Hutten, John Maeda, Toshiyuki Kita, Borek Sipek, Toni Cordero, Platt + Young, Christian Ghion, Mario Cananzi, Jeannot Cerutti, Terry Dwan, Matt Sindall, Veit Streitenberger, Luigi Serafini, Marco Mencacci, Tim Watson, Setsu + Shinobu Ito, and others.
Sawaya & Moroni Milan' s showroom recently moved from Via Manzoni to a more central location in Via Clerici 1, a stone’s throw away from Piazza della Scala, the Galleria and Piazza Duomo .
Occupying two floors, the new showroom has nine display windows in Via Clerici and Via San Protaso, where the Sawaya & Moroni Collections showcase the many aspects of their contemporary identity, featuring the design work of some of the most celebrated and revered names in the world of architecture and design.
Now located in the historical palazzo built in 1921 for the jeweller Cusi, the showroom opened in early May on completion of an eight-month phase of substantial refurbishment and renovation work, based on an original design by Sawaya & Moroni Architects, which has enabled several strong architectural elements to emerge.
Since its construction in 1921, the location now occupied by Sawaya & Moroni has hosted a wide variety of activities. One of these was a bank, whose splendid monumental armoured doors still defend the vaults in the basement, now home to the Sawaya & Moroni’s Sterling Silver Collection.
Both floors are illuminated by Zumtobel Lighting that amplify the suspense connatural to the spirit of design.