United in their passion for rarity, craftsmanship, and the elusive magic of nature’s hidden beauty, the Milanese house of TIVIOLI and the Parisian jeweller Elie Top present ‘Argonautica’, a dual showcase and exhibition inviting new conversations between fashion, art, architecture, and design on the occasion of Salone del Mobile 2023.
In a nod to the Greek mythology of Jason and the Argonauts, the title ‘Argonautica’ invokes the golden fleece as a symbol of the principal materials of the two designers: gold and shearling.
Imagined by Gae Aulenti in 1992, the exclusive TIVIOLI boutique – hiding in plain sight on the via Santo Spirito in the heart of Milan – becomes a vessel for a geographic and historical dialogue of aesthetics throughout the ages, in a dual presentation of unique pieces by TIVIOLI and Elie Top amongst an unprecedented selection of modern art and design masterpieces of the 20th and 21st centuries.
On street level, TIVIOLI showcases a selection of one-of-a-kind coats handmade in Turin, Italy. From the simplicity of brightly-hued suede and shearling to opulent touches of gilded jacquard and pleated silk chiffon, as well as an exceptional kimono coat in century-old Lombardy silk threads, each coat is a unique expression of the house’s craft, employing impeccable natural materials and immaculate hand finishing. Grounding these designs in Tivioli’s artistic universe, Liberty vases, mid century furnishings and artworks including Lucio Fontana’s bronze Concetto Spaziale, photography by Bruce Nauman and Gilbert & George, and a sculpture by Jean-Michel Basquiat all create diverse tensions within the space.
Downstairs, Elie Top’s creations are unveiled in bespoke illuminated columns filled with his one-of-a- kind fine and high jewellery designs surrounded by exotic flora and backdropped by the Italian painter Sandro Chia’s leafy 1987 work on canvas. Inside each glass atrium, Top’s otherworldly jewels evoke the designer’s inspirations from across the globe and stretching back through human history, from heraldic bracelets and pendants in blackened gold, yellow gold, and silver, to snake and chameleon- shaped rings set with old mine cut diamonds, rubellites, emeralds, yellow sapphires, and other repurposed stones. Chosen from celebrated collections throughout Top’s career such as ‘La Dame du Lac’ and ‘Mécaniques Célestes’, pieces epitomise the bold, decorative line of the designer’s work, demonstrating his delicate balance of historicized detailing and meticulous modern craft.
‘Argonautica’ is on display by appointment only throughout Salone Del Mobile 2023, from Wednesday April 19th until Saturday April 22nd from 10 - 7pm.