Matches for: “luxury” …

Early Modern Luxury, Greed, Ethics: Conference at Villa I Tatti, 25-26 Sept

itatti_logoThis conference, Luxury and the Ethics of Greed in the Early Modern World, will take place at the Villa I Tatti on 25-26 September 2014. It will unravel the complex interaction of the competing paradigms of luxury and greed, which lie at the origins of modern consumption practices. In the western world the phenomenon of luxury and the ethical dilemmas it raised appeared, for the first time since antiquity, in Renaissance Italy. Here luxury emerged as a core idea in the conceptualization of consumption. Simultaneously greed, manifested in new, unrestrained consumption practices, came under close ethical scrutiny. Other European countries soon followed suit, and similar debates emerged in Ming China with the twin concepts of schechi and shemi. As the buying power of new classes gained pace, these paradigms evolved as they continued to inform emerging global cultures through the Early Modern period. Speakers and their abstracts can be found here.

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Palaces, skyscrapers, villas, follies ….. and six styles of architectural luxury

9781409433217.PPC_Layout 1Today luxury and its celebration are hardly confined to European élites and the American leisure class. Apart from the adornment of the body, the displays of luxury surround us most visibly in built and unbuilt environments. In The Architecture of Luxury (2014) Annette Condello focuses on a range of contexts in Italy and Western Europe, Latin America and the United States to trace the myths and applications of luxury in architecture, interiors and designed landscapes. Moving from antiquity to the modern era, she identifies six historical categories of luxury – Sybaritic, Lucullan, architectural excess, rustic, neoEuropean and modern – and relates them to their different historical periods and cultural contexts.

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Luxury and its underside

Rosa Salzberg   University of Warwick

Luxury is one of the concepts most closely associated in the popular mind with Italy today and in the Renaissance period which I research and teach.

A diamond is forever

‘A diamond is forever’ (Don Draper, 1948, after Anita Loos, 1925)

But the precise value and consequences of luxury – of the skills it preserves and innovation it generates, but also of the social inequalities it reflects and arguably exacerbates – are still matters of heated debate. I am part of a recently-launched International Network entitled Luxury & the Manipulation of Desire which aims to explore these questions anew, linking the contemporary agenda to scholarship on the history of global luxury from the Renaissance to the present. It focuses on three key areas: the production of luxury, the regulation of luxury and the geography of luxury.

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The architecture of luxury

Annette Condello   Curtin University

120px-08653_Palacio_de_Bellas_Artes

Palacio de Bellas Artes, Mexico City. Begun by Adamo Boari in 1901.

The idea of luxury – how it can be defined and what forms it takes in different cultural contexts and historical periods – is the theme of an earlier post. My own interest is in the application of luxury in the field of architecture. Building on my previous research, which examined Francesco Venezia’s contemporary architectural spolia in Italy and France and Adamo Boari’s early modern designs in Mexico and the USA, I am developing a project which examines the meaning and application of luxury. Luxury has become a contentious issue in architecture: is it an unqualified benefit or something that should be present only within strict limits? The project’s scope spans from antiquity to modern (and contemporary) times.  Continue reading

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Beauty and Beast: Venice and the rhino

In 1751 Pietro Longhi painted this portrait of the rhinoceros, Clara, brought to the Venice Carneval that year. He depicted the animal eating quietly, indifferent to its owner (carrying the horn which had rubbed off) and to the masked and other spectators in the casotto behind it. Nearly three centuries later the rhinoceros returns to Venice in the form of a symposium, Beauty and the Beast: Venice and the Rhino, on 24 November and an accompanying exhibition, Rhinoceros: Luxury’s Fragile Frontier, 24 November – 21 December, both at the Palazzo Contarini Polignac. The exhibition title reveals the central theme. Both Venice and the rhinoceros are now luxury objects and both are threatened by the desire they evoke. The symposium brings together artists, conservationists, poets, writers, and historians to explore the unexpected intersections between these two endangered objects of luxury consumption. The exhibition presents the works of two artists concerned about issues of fragility and identity in relation to their personal and wider worlds and that of the rhinoceros. Their sculptural creations will be framed against the background of a ‘demand reduction’ marketing campaign which targets the consumption of rhino horn.

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Sustainable Lina: the architecture of adaptive reuse

Lina Bo Bardi220px-masp_at_paulista_av_in_sa%cc%83o_paulo (1914-1992) was an Italian-born designer of buildings, furniture and jewelry. She trained in Milan with Carlo Pagani and Giò Ponti, working also for Domus and Milano Sera directed by Elio Vittorini. In 1946 she moved to Brazil where she became well-known for her modernist buildings, notably the São Paulo Museum of Art and the Glass House where she lived in the remains of the rainforest surrounding São Paulo. An analysis and appreciation of her work has recently been published under the title Sustainable Lina (Springer, 2016) edited by Annette Condello and Steffen Lehmann. It concentrates on the social dimensions of her adaptive reuse projects from the 1960s to the early 1990s, interpreting her themes, technical sources and design strategies for the creation of luxury as sustainability and pointing to the Italian influences on her approach.

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Rizzoli Bookstore Reopens in NYC

Sally Grant   New York

The old Rizzoli Bookstore on 57th St, NYC Photo credit: Rizzoli Bookstore

The old Rizzoli Bookstore on 57th St, NYC
© Rizzoli Bookstore

Book – and bookshop – lovers of the world rejoice! After closing the doors of its beloved 57th Street store last year, Rizzoli New York opened a new flagship in the NoMad district of Manhattan last Monday. While this location, in the nineteenth-century St. James Building at 1133 Broadway, may not be able to replace the now-lost historic charm of its predecessor, with its famed vaulted ceilings (the building has since been demolished to make way for a luxury development – who’d have thought it?), for an independent bookstore to re-open these days is an event to be celebrated.

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Of Coffee, Cakes, and an Obligatory Saint

Catherine Kovesi  University of Melbourne

Bassrelief of San Martino on the Oratory of the Scuola of San Martino

Bassrelief of San Martino on the Oratory of the Scuola of San Martino

Throughout most of the westernised world we have just celebrated the festival of Halloween. Each year many protest the intrusion of what they see as an Americanised festival into their indigenous traditions, and it did look a little anachronistic here in Venice to see Halloween paraphernalia in many shop windows. But now, barely a fortnight later, the windows are full of paraphernalia for a different and delightful festival here in the city, one with many similarities to Halloween in the ways in which it is celebrated by the children of Venice, but which is completely enmeshed in Venetian tradition. This is the Feast of San Martino, celebrated on 11 November for at least three centuries now.

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‘Madonna dei Bagni … Prega per noi.’

Catherine Kovesi   University of Melbourne

P1020061Wandering along the banchette of one of Venice’s regular mercati antiquari the other day, my eye was caught by a lovely little tazza di caffé. Turning it over, I saw that it was by Ginori, and I felt a little pang that I couldn’t fork out the 40 euros that the stall owner wanted for it.

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THE PRINCE AT 500

Power of Luxury flierTo mark the 500th anniversary of Machiavelli’s composition of The Prince, a group of Italian, Australian and US institutions –  the Embassy of Italy in Canberra, the Australian Institute of Art History of the University of Melbourne (Melbourne), the Fondazione per l’Istituto Italiano di Scienze Umane (Milan and Florence), the Museo Poldi Pezzoli (Milan), the Istituto Italiano di Scienze Umane (Florence and Naples) and the UCLA Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies (Los Angeles) – has organised a series of international symposia with the participation of leading Renaissance scholars. The first, The Power of Luxury: Art and Culture at the Italian Courts in Machiavelli’s Lifetime, will be held at the University of Melbourne on 19-20 February 2013. Registration is free, and the programme, abstracts and details of the location can be found here.

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