Sawaya & Moroni emerges on the international design scene in 1984 relatively quickly combining professional talent of architect and designer William Sawaya with entrepreneurship 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.
Designers & Architects
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, Toshiuki Kita, Borek Sipek, Toni Cordero, Platt + Young, Christian Ghion, Mario Cananzi, Jeannot Cerutti, Terry Dwan, Matt Sindall, Veit Streitenberger, Ludovica + Roberto Palomba, Luigi Serafini, Marco Mencacci, Tim Watson, Sido + Francois Tevenin, Setsu Shinobu Ito +, and others.
Sawaya & Moroni showroom in Milan is located in a building late '800 with windows on the central Via Manzoni, 11 and extends over three floors connected by a double flight of stairs.
The architecture of the building and its interior is characterized by strong architectural elements recovered during the restoration done by Arch. Sawaya early 80’s. This place has hosted a famous shop of leather goods and other activities that have altered the original architectural dimension further several transformations done in the years that had almost deleted any reference to a past of great aesthetic quality.
The most significant architectural elements are: the large liberty skylight partly destroyed by bombing during the 2nd World war, now fully restored, the windows on Via Manzoni with gold bronze structure directly arrived from England on 30’s, the granite columns of '800 and iron pillars of 1926 restored and maintained on site as functional and decorative elements.
The exhibition on the ground floor, illuminated by ‘20s skylight, becomes a particular container that contrasts the modernity of the pieces of Sawaya & Moroni’s collection designed by the most discussed figures and -at the same time- the most revered in the world of architecture and design.
Sawaya & Moroni design studio was established in Milano 1978 . The design office dealt originally with architecture and interior design.
In 1984 with the advent of the opening of “Sawaya&Moroni contemporary furniture” show room in via Manzoni the studio added also to its activities the product design and the exhibitions installation.
The team , composed by architects and designers from different nationalities, education
and upbringing is lead by William Sawaya.
Within the architecture practice and interior design a particular consideration is given mainly
to residential, hospitality projects , restoration of public and private buildings,
hotels, yachts and resorts .
The studio provides complete project documentations from shell and core to facades and from
the interior design to the fit out phase.