Copper and the Home: Hors Concours

The hors concours section of the sixth Copper and the Home international design award demonstrates the incredible ability of copper and its alloys to blend with and complement the aesthetic choices of different designers, representing an exciting cross-section of the design world’s latest trends.

The award—presented by the Italian Copper Institute in collaboration with the European Copper Institute—celebrates the use of copper in contemporary design, rewarding professional designers and young talent from around the world.

A first for this competition was the introduction of a Hors Concours section with showcasing Italian design expertise in the field of copper. Seven of the country’s most exciting studios and designers were selected to enter projects that displayed a particularly strong cultural value and inspired applications of copper and its alloys.

Giorgio Bonaguro
Concentrico: joinable, seven-branched candle holder
Made of polished and satin-finish brass, ‘Concentrico’ has three concentric disk— lathed and perforated with 32, 24 and 16 cm diameters—equipped with candle holders whose heights range between 5 and 11 cm. The manufacturer of this prototype was Silver Tre of Milan.

In a time such as this—marked by a theoretical trend towards dematerialisation—Giorgio Bonaguro designed a deliberately ‘materialistic’ , which anchors itself to the ‘mechanical’ aesthetic on the one hand (looking like almost a gear) and, on the other hand, to the possible surface finishes of copper. So, the concentric candleholder can easily be composed (or dismantled) by superimposing three overlapping elements with each other.

Carlo Contin
Tocut: jug with handle
Made from copper in a fully hand-made process of silver welding, Tocut is 26 cm height, with a 10×12 cm base. The manufacturer of this prototype was Silver Tre of Milan.

In many ‘drawn’ jugs, there is often a problematic relationship between the body and handle. Sometimes this is solved with elegance, sometimes it is left in the indeterminacy of a quite casual juxtaposition. Carlo Contin tackles the issue from the very beginning: the handle is part of the jug’s body. A high cone, shaped like a ‘wizard’s hat’, is truncated and bent in such a way that its narrower part becomes a handle. Consequently, its continuitiy is absolute, and it proves to be a strongly iconic object.

Lorenzo Damiani
Corto Circuito: table lamp
Corto Circuito consists of two parts, shaped by a manual lathing: a cover like a bell—34 cm in diameter and 21 cm height—in white enamelled copper on the external side, and a base—diameter 30 cm, height 3 cm—in polished copper.

How it works: the neck of the covering bell houses a battery that charges when the object is closed. When the lid is lifted, the circuit allows the internal light to switch on. The manufacturer of this prototype was Silver Tre of Milan.

Lorenzo Damiani, the most ‘inventive’ of Italian designers, interpreted the invitation to design a copper object destined for home space as an occasion to define a new typology. Split into two parts—one tray and one curious cover bell—Corto Circuito (Short Circuit) has a true nature that is at first hidden. Only when the lid is lifted is that nature revealed, activating the magic of an electric circuit and turning it into an emergency lamp or torch. The long handle—in addition to offering a grip—houses an LED light and battery. The large cone acts as a diffuser, and the base is both a support and switch.

The design is absolutely consistent with Damiani’s personal aesthetic, pursued for many years, whilst also inserting new words into our daily vocabularies.

Insuperficie: table mirrors
Made from sheets of copper, brass and bronze, cut and bent, the Insuperficie (On the Surface) mirrors are polished on the front face and satin finished on the back. They are 30×50 cm. The manufacturer of this prototype was Daniele Paoletti / zeroflatfloor of Teramo.

These mirrors, by Gabriele Pardi and Laura Fiaschi of Gumdesign, remind one of the most intense adventures of Bruno Munari, the ‘travel sculptures’: portable elements to personalise even the most humble hotel room. Similarly, these reflective metal screens—designed in different sizes and able to stand thanks to a careful bend work—become sentimental objects. They will decorate any place, with their reflections and their elegant simplicity: a sort of metallic origami!

Giulio Iacchetti
Moscow Mug: cocktail mug
Made of lathed, polished copper, with a hand-shaped handle (originally a reinforcing rod) welded onto it, the Moscow Mug is 8.5 cm high and has an 8.5 cm diameter. The manufacturer of this prototype was Silver Tre of Milan.

Invented in 1941 by John G. Martin, the Moscow Mule is a cocktail still served exclusively in copper cups. This presented Giulio Iacchetti with an arduous task: to make an object recognisable while fully respecting a tradition and solid typology.

Iacchetti properly replies by relying on the definition of detail: it is the handle that builds the identity and the uniqueness of the project. Although this mug is intended to host a sophisticated cocktail, Giulio recovers the value, and the strength, of ancient tankards made from pewter, relying on copper’s warm and rich colour to tame the final result.

Capomastro: multi-functional tray
Made with polished copper, manually lathed, this tray is 30 cm in diameter, and the height of the handle—hand-shaped and then welded—is 5.8 cm. The manufacturer of this prototype was Silver Tre of Milan.

Very often, the names of design objects are separate entities, defined a posteriori and with some degree of randomness. On the contrary, here, the name ‘Capomastro’ (Master Builder) is a formal and functional synthesis of the design of the object. The word refers to life at the building yard and, particularly, to a skilled mason: a person who makes use of a tool called ‘frattazzo’, to spread and smooth mortar. The frattazzo is equipped with an important handle.

The ancient wisdom of this tool is analysed and reinterpreted by Paolo Lucidi and Luca Pevere. The very handle, in fact—although remaining functional—becomes the only decorative element of an elegantly minimal composition.


Donata Paruccini
Isola: centerpiece  
Hand-made entirely from brass externally, and from copper internally, Isola consists of an elliptical bowl (32×20 cm and 5 cm in height). Inside, there is a hand-chiselled relief with an oxidised copper green finish. The manufacturer of this prototype was Silver Tre of Milan.

Nowadays, ‘art-design’ is discussed a great deal, often with the proposal of pieces that bypass function in order to become pure form. Donata Paruccini—while reaching the end result of ‘art’—acts in the opposite way, beginning with a well-defined and humble function (such as humidifying the air in heated environments) in order to propose a ‘functional sculpture’.

Isola (Island) is indeed a geologically layered landscape, contained in a place that simulates a lake. The real presence of water, in addition to creating sophisticated reflections, activates different degrees of oxidation for the different copper layers, lending the object unique and inimitable features. The project also includes the passing of time amongst its founding components, and showcasing the beauty a characteristic of the material that some may dismiss as a defect.

About ECI
The European Copper Institute (ECI)—founded in 1996 and based in Brussels—coordinates a team of 38 professionals based in 10 offices across Europe, and works closely with its copper industry members on regulatory matters and market development programs. ECI is part of the Copper AllianceTM, which brings together the global copper industry to develop and defend markets for copper, and to make a positive contribution to society’s sustainable development goals.

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Bryony Samuel
Communications Officer
+44 1 442 275 705