Piero Atchugarry Gallery, in partnership with Bonacina, is delighted to present, Sintesi, a collaborative exhibition synthesizing the worlds of art and design. Sintesi weaves Bonacina’s 134-year legacy of Italian craftmanship into a harmonious dialogue with thoughtfully selected artworks from the Piero Atchugarry Gallery.

An independent, family-run operation since its inception, Bonacina has been in constant pursuit of sustaining tradition and modernity in its unique furniture-making process. The company takes pride in its specialty of using rattan—a sustainable vine known for its durability and flexibility— and over the years combining rattan’s malleability with other innovative materials, consistently defining their timeless style whilst embracing new ideas. Designed to impress and delight, Bonacina’s furniture defies the limitation that “form follows function” instead of proposing its principle where form and function, like design and art, are inseparable. Sintesi introduces these artisanal pieces within an exhibition space that does not make a distinction between furniture and art but instead finds parallels in the creative process that tie design to art and vice-versa.

When it comes to the skilled designers who have contributed to a Bonacina creation, their constructive process unequivocally moves in the direction of sculpture, wherein craftsmanship is at the service of an artistic idea. A visceral example is exhibited with the Nastro sofa, created in 1964, by one of Italy’s most inventive designers, Joe Colombo. Lacquered in a striking jade color, coupled with organic lines creating bold, curvaceous forms, Nastro characterizes a distinctly modernist aesthetic, typical of Colombo’s designs. Renowned for his embrace of modern technologies and fascination with futuristic abstract art, Colombo kept “the environment of the future” in mind with nearly everything he created, producing a body of furnishings that spoke to the energy and excitement over the potential of the ‘Space Age’.

The Nastro sofa seamlessly interacts with Consequence (2023), by Arcangelo Sassolino, and Tunel V (2021), by Dagoberto Rodríguez, wherein new technologies and futuristic suggestions play a central role in the overall oeuvre of these three artists. Dagoberto Rodríguez combines architecture, design, and a skilled painterly hand in Tunel V, immersing viewers in an alternate future built from legos, a recurring motif for Rodríguez. Similarly observed with Nastro, Sassolino’s, Consequence leans on research and conceptual design, however, it manifests in large with a focus on materiality and the many ways technology can alter, and even liberate its form. Also exhibited, is Gio Ponti’s celebrated Continuum armchair, created for Bonacina in 1963.

Known as the ‘Father of Modern Italian Design’, Gio Ponti was a firm believer that fluidity and lightness are fundamental to design, a sentiment reflected in the organic lines that elegantly construct Continuum. Ponti turned to novel creations that simultaneously showcased a broad artistic approach and a clear, integrated vision in his efforts to combine visual beauty and functional requirements. Displayed in tandem is End of the Day XV (1972), a sculpture by the late influential American sculptor Louise Nevelson, that emphasizes experimental zeal within its fluid abstract composition.

Composed of found objects unified by a single color, Nevelson conceived her sculptures as environments that sought minimalist truth in shape, line, texture, and form. Belonging to the same generation but residing on separate continents, Gio Ponti and Louise Nevelson both held spontaneity and innovation in high regard, attributing the highest importance to the process. Effortlessly blending artistic expression and utilitarian function in their characteristic approach, Bonacina skillfully fuses tradition and innovation in each of their creations, resulting in a rich history that spans four generations. Sintesi encourages viewers to consider these furniture designs as artistic pursuits, synthesizing the inseparable relationship between art and design, and aesthetics and functionality.