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The Farnesina Design Collection

The Farnesina Design Collection

Colore / Calore

The Farnesina Design Collection offers an interpretation of Italian design and manufacture over the past fifty years

February, 2011 – April, 2011


By its very nature the collection is a non-permanent one slated to change in content over time, and around which the Ministry of Foreign Affairs intends to launch other initiatives to complement the exhibition, so as to fully tap the project’s potential. Indeed, the spheres covered by the Collection-from design for living spaces to environmental design, automotive to office and public services design, interior to fashion design, lighting to graphic and web design-have great importance in our daily lives as they identify innovative solutions to everyday dilemmas.

Gaetano Pesce, 543 Broadway

The Collection’s initial springboard-the concept of “colore/calore” (color/warmth)-plays on a phonetic shift (in Italian) from one vowel sound to another, from one term to a very different other: colore (color) as the specific experience of humans, who see colors very differently from almost every other mammal; whose vision, like that of fish, reptiles, birds and some insects (bees and dragonflies), works with a kaleidoscope of chromatic variations to which science has often anchored its certainties.

Newton discovered original essence in light; Thomas Young distinguished its primari units, the “three physiological colors” (red, blue and yellow); Goethe wove his history of the imagination around color; and philosophy, from Aristotle to Descartes, associates color with such fundamental terms as perception, sensation, quality, origin, interpretation and truth-that circumscribed zone that serves as the optical screen onto which we project what we call reality.  

Knoll, Harry Bertoia, Bertoia,

“Colore and calore” are two qualities linked inextricably with Italian design; two nouns that recall, at an elementary level, the variety of the landscape (the domestic one, yes, but more importantly the external one) – calore (warmth, and by contrast the lack of it) is a quality intrinsic to the passionate Mediterranean character.
The resulting complexity can be examined through all the possible meanings the two terms produce; and those shades and tints, luminosity and vivacity stretch across a spectrum of possible analyses providing a basis for interpretation.


Gaetano Pesce | Riccardo Schweizer | Enrico Baleri & Denis Santachiara | Stefano Giovannoni | Franco Poli | Harry Bertoia | Alessandro Lenarda | Riccardo Paolino & Matteo Fusi | Gae Aulenti | Makio Hasuike con Ufficio Tecnico Ifi | Michele Loseto

The exhibition from the Farnesina Design Collection was brought to Israel by the Italian Embassy