Article taken from the April 2021 issue of Forbes Italia. Subscribe!
After art, too design opens up the phenomenon Non-fungible token, digital works registered via blockchain, which have a unique and certified ownership. A still timid opening, the one of Italian design that can at times be as innovative and lean towards the future as it is rooted in the past and only true to the physical, material experience.
Design experiences the virtual: the example of Nemo Lighting
Leader of the foray into cryptodesign is Nemo lightinga lighting company founded by Franco Cassina in 1993, acquired by Federico Palazzari in 2012. In addition to producing some of the most famous works of twentieth-century masters such as Le Corbusier, Charlotte Perriand, Vico Magistretti and Franco Albini, the Milanese company creates new modern icons in collaboration with world-famous designers and architects. Its call to explore starts from the name, Nemo, character in the novel by Jules Verne, Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea. And it continues with the desire to also focus on other sectors, from art over architecture to technical clothing.
What the first virtual showroom will look like
In February, Nemo Lighting made its world debut Nft with two digital works created by Luca Baldocchi, SodlabStudio digital art designer and pioneer in the creation of 3D projects between art and design. It was he who reinterpreted two design icons in a metaphysical version: Nuvola by Mario Bellini and Potence Pivotante by Charlotte Perriand. The result is works of art with psychedelic and pop accents, protagonists in the digital exhibition Not For Today, which the company inaugurated its Nemo Virtual Museum, virtual exhibition space that will host exhibitions in rotation, allowing for interactive use of the works. A novelty that opened Nemo Lighting’s path in the art of the digital universe, which CEO Federico Palazzari, a passionate collector, also boosted with the 2020 acquisition of the historic Turin lighting company Ilti Luce (today Nemo Studio), which develops solutions for architectural lighting in the museum, retail and outdoor sectors.
“For years, we have followed the art by illuminating exhibitions, churches, galleries,” Palazzari explains. “It is a world that belongs to us, and this project was born out of the desire to explore still a little rough terrain. While it is true that other sectors have already explored cryptocurrencies, blockchain and metaverse, the same is not true for design. But we can not pretend that all this does not exist, because it has now entered our daily lives with force and occupies time and thoughts. Trying to understand this new virtual horizon is no longer an option. Yet it is often more convenient to reject innovations than to get involved and embrace them. “
Promote a flexible art concept
In line with the project, the company has launched yet another novelty: Three unpublished digital works by Luca Baldocchi, protagonists at the inauguration of the Nemo Virtual Museum, will be the subject of minting, an embossing process that allows data from an NFT to be inserted in an irreplaceable and public way on a blockchain, bringing to life a true Nemo collection of NFTs. But that’s not all, because through Foundation, a platform that allows artists and creatives to use the Ethereum blockchain to enhance their work, the works can be purchased. An important operation for the company, which will not only offer support to digital artists, but also serve to create ideas, inspire and stimulate reflections on the dematerialization of design.
The Group’s growth strategies
“I do not think the meta-verse or more generally the digital world will ever replace the physical, but it can be an interesting accessory, even in design.” With an average growth of 20% per year and an estimated turnover of around 30 million for 2022, Nemo Lighting has acquired 10% of the historic Italian company Slammanufacturer of sailing clothes since 1971. “Through the Vam 26 investment instrument, promoted by the Vam Foundation, we have co-invested in the purchase of this brand with an undisputed heritage that is part of our nautical imagination. We want to create an open and heterogeneous community around our world, so operations like this are one of the many bridges we build to other sectors ”.
Recently, the company also took over 2% of the group Zumtobel, an Austrian giant in lighting. “I call it Ebitda’s freedom, a freedom of management that allows you to tackle innovations without obsessions. Despite being a medium-sized company, we have about 100 employees in the United States, France and Italy, in Turin and Milan. We represent a niche, above all cultural, and therefore of great value. We are making important investments “. The common thread that binds the company’s operations, from NFT to sailor clothing? “Only one: the passion to travel to new worlds,” Palazzari concludes.
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