October 18, 2020

Lightscape, contemporary design and reinterpretation of tradition

Abstract patterns, fluorescent colours, transparent and impalpable fabrics, are the contemporary tapestries by Luisa Longo, which subvert the rules of an object with a thousand-year history

Lightscape collection
Premiering in EDIT Napoli -the editorial design fair that takes place from 16th to 18th October- after the internationally acclaimed exhibitions of the architecture artworks painted on silk and organdie, Luisa Longo presents Lightscape, a collection of tinted panels and tapestries hand-embroidered on fabric, creations that perfectly combine contemporary design with the top-class craftsmanship typical of the Neapolitan fair.
Longo's artworks revisit in a modern way a very ancient decorative item: the tapestry, which dates back to
Greece's Late Helladic period and Ancient Egypt.
A reinterpretation in a contemporary key that takes into account the changed needs of all of us and the decisive importance that the house has taken on in our lives. «Now that the home environment has returned to being of central importance - explains the designer - the need to take care of the home as a fundamental
element of the quality of our life is more than ever affirmed».
The Lightscape collection, in fact, revives a tradition that goes far back in time and subverts its rules in order to generate an object that, despite its millennial history, features a wholly contemporary decòr style. It is evident in the materials employed - not the solid, thick fabrics that are typical of the traditional workmanship, but rather the thin and translucent taffeta fabric - and in the choice of pigments - vibrant colours, rich in iridescent shades, different from the conventional model - as well as in the subjects themselves, excluding
any figurative shape, tending towards abstract patterns and vivid tones.

Contemporary design and ancient know-how
For each artwork, Longo has designed round-shaped patterns, varying in size and colour, which she painted on the taffeta fabric, after the contouring and sewing of skilled needle-workers. Then, based on Longo’s outline, local artisans included additional decorative embroideries to the panel, of different shapes and colours, blending the chromatic composition in harmony with the depicted pattern.
Longo entrusted the embroideries to skilled Roman artisans who specialise in traditional fabric decoration techniques, sewing by hand each of the embroidered designs on the panel, with extreme care and expertise due to the delicate nature of the fabric.
«Working a fabric as delicate as taffeta is not at all easy - says the designer - in all its phases, from sewing to painting and then to embroidery, special techniques and attention are required, which only expert hands possess, at every step you risk to ruin all the work, yet it is precisely because of this ethereal consistency of the fabric, of this painstaking work of seamstresses and embroiderers that beauty takes shape».
A long-established custom for the artist, visible across her whole body of work, is once again confirmed by the union between contemporary creativity and ancient knowledge, high-quality production methods and attention to hand-crafted details. In the Lightscape collection, just like in the majority of her artistic production, Longo employs pigments and painting techniques in such a way as to make the colour vibrant, with vivid kaleidoscopic effects that add depth to the painted surface. Thus the tinted shapes – consisting in graphic symbols applied over a uniform, flat coat of paint – acquire a three-dimensional quality and light up with iridescent shades thanks to the meticulous usage of the dyes.
The design and the needlework, the painting and the embroidery: the entire production line of the panels is strictly handmade, each piece of it unique – and yet, it is the result of a creative source able to guarantee the delivery of a small array of pieces in a short period of time.
The artworks Longo presented at EDIT Napoli are conceived as wall hangings as well as an adornment for furniture such as sofas, tables and beds.

Panels’ size: 266 x 264 cm, 208 x 82 cm, 210 x 138 cm Material: fabric, taffeta

Luisa Longo
Luisa Longo’s work revolves around the concept of a cross-over and admixture of design, craftsmanship and art – in particular fiber art, which applies a mix of techniques on the fabric. Longo’s work has been unfolding over three decades of artistic production, during which she exhibited her work internationally in some of the major art and design institutions in the world.
Aiming to establish a connection between decorative art, painting and design, Longo follows the trail of Bahuaus’ practice and vision of an all-embracing art form, drawing inspiration from the work of the German designer and weaver, Gunta Stölzl, as well as from designer Sonia Delaunay and painter Dorothea Tanning; similarly, she embraces the concept of beauty as part and parcel of our daily lives from the Arts and Crafts movement. Originally from Bologna, Luisa Longo is based and works in Rome.