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The Brazilian-Italian designer with the Hollywood-proof name, Leo Di Caprio will be presenting a fabulous new piece of furniture called Ziggy as part of the exhibition A Matter of Perception: Tradition and Technology. He has a special connection with Litta, too, since his own company AuCap actually started up there.


Leo Di Caprio, of mixed Portuguese and Italian descent, having lived abroad for many years, became inspired by the jewellery of indigenous Brazilian peoples, with its colourfulness and interesting geometrical shapes. “I was doing research on interiors in Brazil when I discovered a picture of an indigenous tribe whose kids were wearing amazing jewellery made of coloured seeds. It has been made by that tribe for hundreds of years and still looks contemporary. I translated this indigenous inspiration into furniture.” The result is an impressive cabinet featuring inlaid wood. The 2000-plus components were machine cut, and then lacquered and assembled by hand. Thus, Ziggy is a combination of industrial and manual production. The cabinet is being displayed as an installation at Palazzo Litta: “All the pieces are shown individually, like little trees coming out of the soil.”

Di Caprio is a designer who focuses a lot on concept, as much as on beauty and functionality. Not very long ago, he was a lawyer. He quit while working for a company in New York, went to California to do some rock climbing, and after a short sabbatical decided to go to Italy to study design and art history, as well as cuisine and pastry. “I basically studied everything I liked.” He also embarked on some psychoanalysis to take care of his ‘internal software’. All of this has resulted in the designer he is today, someone who enjoys researching – he names Eleonora Fiorani and Vilém Flusser as his main sources of inspiration at the moment, two philosophers who elaborate on immaterialism in their work. “I want to understand how interior design should be nowadays. Over the recent decades, our way of living has changed enormously – it is tense and full of information, with thousands of things to do every day. In this given context, I think design shouldn’t be about the hardware but rather about the software. It should speak to our senses. If everything is immaterial, what is the place of design? That’s what I am researching."


Ziggy is on display at A Matter of Perception: Tradition and Technology in Palazzo Litta, Corso Magenta 24, Milan. 12-17 April 2016.