Homo Faber: Crafting a more human future

Homo Faber will return to celebrate the best of European and Japanese craftsmanship in the beautiful premises of the Fondazione Giorgio Cini in Venice. In light of this, to ensure the health and safety of you all, our cherished crafts community, we have taken the decision to postpone the second edition of Homo Faber: Living Treasures of Europe and Japan to 2021.

Homo Faber is the premier event organised by the Michelangelo Foundation for Creativity and Craftsmanship, an international non-profit organisation based in Geneva, Switzerland, which was set up to celebrate and preserve master craftsmanship around the world and strengthen its connection to design. Rooted in a tradition of culture and excellence and in the realities and challenges of today’s global economy, the foundation aims to support those who dedicate themselves to the pursuit of master craftsmanship and to foster a new cultural movement built around the values that are essential for their work.

The new date for the second edition of Homo Faber: Crafting a more human future will be confirmed soon. The month-long event will host 17 exhibitions and installations presenting the work of European master artisans and also welcomes Japan as a special guest. Exhibitions will spotlight the country’s venerated craftsmanship traditions and honour its influence on European craftsmanship. Together, the exhibitions showcase a wide array of materials and expertise, from traditional skills in danger of being lost to the most cutting-edge contemporary techniques. 

The world-class curators, designers and architects creating the 17 exhibition spaces are: Italian architect Michele De Lucchi, London-based fashion exhibition designer and curator Judith Clark, Japanese designer, professor and curator Naoto Fukasawa, French museum director and porcelain expert David Caméo, Belgian-Italian gallerist Jean Blanchaert, acclaimed architect Stefano Boeri, American director and visual artist Robert Wilson, German designer Sebastian Herkner, vintage car broker, expert and collector Simon Kidston, Japanese museum director Tokugo Uchida, renowned Japanese photographer Rinko Kawauchi, French curator and porcelain specialist Frédéric Bodet, Italian university professor and craftsmanship expert Stefano Micelli and French interior designer and scenographer Sylvain Roca. 

Visitors will be able to discover the excellence of European craftsmanship through a series of showcases which reveal European master artisans, their techniques, traditions, workshops, innovative methods and the creativity of their individual crafts. Spectacular exhibitions will explore the human element at the heart of fine creations, the cherished savoir-faire, the unique narratives, territorial influences, and diverse materials which enrich each masterpiece, for an authentic celebration of European exquisite artisanship. 

From Europe’s treasure trove, the exhibition will broaden its horizons to explore the entwining cultural relationship between Europe and Japan, the special guest of honour. Homo Faber 2020 honours the official recognition that Japan gives to its finest masters, designating them as keepers of important intangible cultural properties. It is considered a great honour to be a National Living Treasure, as they are known. Visitors will have the possibility to see some of the magnificent objects they have made – exquisite porcelain, a lacquered harp, hand-dyed kimonos and much more – as well as a photographic exhibition that shows them in their ateliers. 

The event brings visitors diverse, immersive experiences, including the chance to meet master artisans as they create something extraordinary in front of visitors’ eyes. Evocative images and video installations will transport spectators to master artisans’ workshops across Europe, affording them intimate views into the world of fine craftsmanship. Discover the craftsmanship behind the world’s most prestigious luxury brands and journey through a rendering of an iconic staging of Puccini’s opera, Madama Butterfly. 

“Homo Faber 2020 offers a unique window into what is possible when the heart and mind finds expression through the hands”, says Franco Cologni, co-founder of the Michelangelo Foundation. “Once again, in the glorious venue of Venice, and with our guests from Japan, we are pleased to showcase extraordinary talent and offer a new perspective on creativity.” 

Beyond the walls of Fondazione Giorgio Cini, a series of “satellite” exhibitions will take place around the city of Venice, in a multi-location exhibition entitled Homo Faber in Città. A unique itinerary winding through the streets of Venice mapping key locations for the metiers d’art, will allow visitors to keep investigating the beauty of craftsmanship beyond Homo Faber. Discover Venice’s rich artisanal heritage with visits to Venetian artisans’ workshops, the Fenice ateliers, Vivaldi’s violins exhibited in the church of Santa Maria della Pietà, the Domus Grimani exhibitions and much more. 

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