Cesare Augusto Nava’s Biblioteca Totem from 1980 – which will be auctioned in the next web-only auction of Italian Design and Style on 6-18 October 2022 (lot 11, estimate 1,500 – 2,000 euros) – is proof that the strength of Italian design originates and develops in the provinces. Nava Arredamenti in Desio is an all-round small business where Cesare, together with a small group of collaborators, designs, manufactures and sells objects contemporary to their time. A closed ecosystem in the microcosm of the company open to the world.
A utopian and ideal object that could preserve the Power, Wisdom and Love described by Tommaso Campanella in The City of the Sun of 1602 – where a universal republic governed by principles of natural justice is dreamt of – but also furnish the futurist spaces of Antonio Sant’Elia’s ‘New City’ of 1914 and the architecture of Metropolis – Fritz Lang’s 1927 film masterpiece – which was inspired by the innovative intuitions of the architect from Como.
A monolith of bold and colourful positivity that in its experimental approach to industrial design is very much akin to the postmodern enthusiasm of the Memphis Group, which through deco and futurist citation, pop and kitsch, wanted to breathe new life into an overly glossy and minimalist design.