The Leo Visconti Venetian Crystal Mosaic Contest

IDAS-(International Design Advanced Studies) Hongik University Seoul
Professor Simone Carena MOTOElastico.
Students: Minjung Hillary Kim, Yeseul Kim.

Leo Visconti’s craft is rich with the ancient glitters of the silk road, glazed by Venezia’s glass, multiplied by Byzantium’s mosaics to twinkle with the colours of asian spices. But the interesting aspect is the fact that Leo Visconti is looking for contemporary applications of their timeless product. Our Korean location and our peculiar mixture of local and foreign structure (IDAS is the first international design school of the Republic of Korea, founded by the Government in 1997 and purchased by Hongik University in 2005) proved  to be a fertile territory and the class produced half a dozen scenarios that were presented to Leo Visconti’s executives at the end of the spring semester.

The direction of the exercise suggested a balance between the timeless quality of the materials and hand crafts (glass, metals, pigments) and the contemporary reintroduction of mosaic through the digital code: gems as pixels. Korea has a rich history of textures and crafts in relation to precious materials, (since 2013 Korean Craft exhibitions visited the Triennale di Milano and toured the world (last November my office designed the Korean Craft exhibition in Saudi Arabia). Korea is also known for its Hi-Tech industry, with a world leadership for digital LED and plasma screens therefore the meeting point between crafts and “pixels” seemed very appropriate and exciting.

Following this introduction you will see the winning project and the runner up. They are embryos of applications, but they are the result of exciting discussions and numerous adjustments that helped us reconsider the value of suggestion more than a precise description: a low definition image (a mosaic) offers space (depth) for misinterpretation, mistake and mystery. The patina of time, the variation of a gesture, the innuendo of a whisper are exciting gaps in the era of communication.

If you add water or a secret, murder or distance you will see deep in the blur and add your own imagination to the void.

Low-def, Hi-depth