Wedge by wedge

Certain symbols have a specific size depending on their address. For Westerners, whether they be werewolves or lovers, the moon always tends to be a (more or less) full moon.  In the case of Islamic peoples, it is instead a crescent moon (associated with a star) that one finds on the flags of many states. … Read more

A moveable feast

Furniture, fickle, mobile and moveable are the same word in Italian (“mobile”), and in 1961, three years before  Ernest Hemingway’s book of memoirs “A Moveable Feast” was posthumously published, the first Milan Furniture Fair (Salone Internazionale del Mobile) opened. At the time nobody could have imagined what long-term effects it was going to produce. The … Read more

Spring cleaning

At times, all we need to do is dust off the meaning of words. In English, the word vacuum cleaner contains a reference to an empty space which, in a way, describes the mental state of those who are asking themselves where artificial intelligence is going to lead. Who knows if we’ll manage to turn … Read more

Easter tales, Bunny tails

Beliefs and cupboards: it’s the same word in Italian and, coincidentally, both have a relevance to Easter. The latter, because at this time of the year a cupboard often contains a stash of chocolate; the former, because it comprises symbols and legends such as the one surrounding the rabbit. Our furry, long-eared friend has multiple … Read more

At the heart of the city

Paris, Rome, New York, London: one thing they have in common is that, regardless of their latitudes, they can knock us out. Therefore, a community spirit, under a slogan involving emotions, is what is needed to lift people’s spirits. Someone who was well aware of this was Milton Glaser, the great designer who in 1977 … Read more

Co(s)mic death

The ultimate paradox for writers of tragedies is to die in an almost comical manner. Spring begins tonight, yet it’s already been a few weeks since we started orienting our antennae towards the sun. That’s what Aeschylus was doing – enjoying the seaside warmth outside his home in Gela, Sicily – on a sunny day … Read more

Incomplete thinking

“Good evening, brothers and sisters!” This greeting, vibrating with familiarity and spoken 10 years ago by a gentleman looking out from the balcony on St Peter’s Square, became a signature style: that of a certain Francis, elected Pope on 13 March 2013. As designers, we sow seeds, hoping they’ll spill over onto some unknown slope; … Read more

The Worm Moon and its miracles

Tonight the waxing moon is on its way to becoming (tomorrow night, 7 March) a full moon. It is called “Worm Moon” by the Farmers’ Almanac, a name which refers to the earthworms that emerge from the soil around now, as the weather gets warmer and spring showers begin to fall. Not only is the … Read more

Once upon a time there was February 30th

Shakespeare’s Hamlet famously says that “Time is out of joint” and that he was born to set it right. There was a monarch who took this literally. In 1712 King Karl XII of Sweden found himself compelled to add an extra day onto the month of February, over and beyond the 29th, owing to problems … Read more

A mask for Pretty Polly

In many countries – including Italy – Carnival is traditionally a season of excess and masquerading, of merrymaking before Lent. Anything goes, topsy-turvy becomes the new normal; and as revellers strut around in fancy dress, preening themselves like parrots, the comic, the ironic, the burlesque and the satirical become jumbled up and difficult to distinguish … Read more