The sense of ideas. Recombination of reality with Vito Noto’s design, exhibited in Chiasso

Vito Noto, Study sketches Day / Night Wall clock 24 hours Perditempo 1989 Mixed technique on paper 29.7 x 42 cm Product design Art collection max museo, Chiasso Photography © Carlo Pedroli
Forty-year career Vito Noto is exhibited at max museum in Chiasso (Switzerland). 200 works tell the designer’s creativity that can span in different professional areas. From May 8 to September 11, 2022.

There is a cleanliness in the design that almost extinguishes the magic. Virtuosity is exactly what we know it: to create simple, functional, beautiful forms. But sometimes the solution is so perfect, but so perfect that one doubts that it was invented. It has almost always existed. Or how it was inevitable. That is to say, it integrates so smoothly with the world that it could not have been otherwise.

And instead, it could have been something else, or not at all. So the magic – the enchantment of working conditions who takes an object, vivises it until it is reassembled into an improved form – comes again in its glory. But it does so even more, it invites you to immerse yourself in these alchemical mechanisms and reflect on the many components that give shape to an object. The shape, the color, the material, the functionality, the mechanics.

All these elements stand out – individually and in their concert – in the work with Vito Noto. For this reason, the max museum in Chiasso (Switzerland) analyzes the creative process thanks to the first anthology dedicated to the Swiss designer, but Sicilian by birth (Ragusa, 1955).

VITO NOTO. Forty years of graphics and design. The sense of ideas consists of 200 pieces including objects, models, prototypes, technical drawings, preparatory sketches, logo studies, stamps, coins and machines. The result of over forty years of career in areas such as visual designthat product design andindustrial design.

Vito Noto, Day / Night 24-hour wall clock II series Perditempo 1989 Double-sided serigraphy on glass Ø 46 cm Product design Art collection max museo, Chiasso Image © Vito Noto
Vito Noto, Day / Night 24-hour wall clock II series Perditempo 1989 Double-sided serigraphy on glass Ø 46 cm Product design Art collection max museo, Chiasso Image © Vito Noto

But the key to the exhibition, as well as to Noto’s poetics, lies in the last fragment of the exhibition’s title: the sense of ideas. It has been said that the creative process of design lies in decomposition and recomposition of reality. In the middle a sieve that removes the superfluous, and a brush that retouches, and improves, yes aesthetically, the details.

At the opening of the exhibition, however, the more cerebral side of Noto dominates, which continues into a series of nine wall clocks -one calembour intellectual capable of overthrowing the order of time. To remove our habits. The sense of movement of the hands, the one clockwise, is so ingrained that it acts inherently in the mechanism of the clock itself. But no. Noto welcomes reversing the direction, reversing the order of the hands (with the hour longer than the minutes), entering 24 hours instead of 12, dividing the dial that highlights the time of day (eight hours of sleep, eight hours of work, eight hours of free time). With all the consequences of the case: time that seems to run backwards, or slower, or even more alive because it is more justified. A process that was immediate now requires time, a minimal degree of concentration, which, however, causes the user to pay attention, to perform a thought, an action. In short, it turns it on.

Programmatic intuition, which in the works commissioned by the industry and the office also becomes a matter of safety. Just think of the vast (and dangerous) machinery that a worker uses nonstop every day. How easy is it to act without thinking? The machinery in Noto – especially machine tools for the textile industry (as Stäubli af Sargans), hydraulic, electric And medical with discrete solutions, they force the user to pay attention, to perform a minimal but basic action. It is interesting to highlight how the designer in these cases more than in others is called to interface with the end user. In this sense, the choice and color combination are also fundamental, useful for distinguishing machine components with related features. But also to give aesthetic appeal.

Vito Noto, WOW Eisen 2003 pencil tips 6.5 x 6.5 x 3 cm Product design Art collection max museo, Chiasso Photography © Carlo Pedroli
Vito Noto, WOW Eisen 2003 pencil tips 6.5 x 6.5 x 3 cm Product design Art collection max museo, Chiasso Photography © Carlo Pedroli

Combination clear in products for the office world: from presence recorders for post-franking machines, from object holders to boxes and cases for archiving, from containers for separate waste collection to vertical storage cabinets and a wide sampling of pencil sharpener, with traditional and innovative forms. It is perhaps the latter that sums up the qualities of Vito Noto. Light, colorful, comfortable, compact, clean, functional.

His working method, highlighted in various sketches and drawings, does not even vary when it comes to objects and products for the home environment. As a prototype of a sofa, the project of a lamp, coffee pots, various glass objects (jugs, glasses, decanters). As an example is WMF center coneto which Noto resorts to elementary, geometric, almost archetypal forms, to outline an avant-garde center, which, if necessary, by lifting the disc, becomes a hill.

Finally the corner reserved for graphics. With the work with the company image, design of brands and logos, the manuals for product retail. But above all, the graphics of festive stamps (such as those for the 100th anniversary of the Geneva International Motor Show (1905-2005), Universal Philatelic Exhibition HELVETIA 2022, ProPatria – Historical Itineraries series).

    Vito Noto, Cono center WMF Wüttembergische Metallwaren Fabrik GmbH 1985 Silver and gold plate 33 x ø 34 cm Product design Private collection Vito Noto, Cadro Photography © Carlo Pedroli
Vito Noto, Cono center WMF Wüttembergische Metallwaren Fabrik GmbH 1985 Silver and gold plate 33 x ø 34 cm Product design Private collection Vito Noto, Cadro Photography © Carlo Pedroli
Vito Noto, Clip Case / Clip Case Rack Vehicles driving between storage facilities and workplaces List Kunststofftechnik AG 1994 105 x 49 x 38 cm Selection
Vito Noto, Clip Case / Clip Case Rack Vehicles driving between storage facilities and workplaces List Kunststofftechnik AG 1994 105 x 49 x 38 cm Selection “Compasso d’Oro”, Milan, 1994 Selection “Design Preis Schweiz”, 1995 Industrial design Max museo art collection, Chiasso image © Vito Noto

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