I have chosen to update the term Arte Povera coined by Germano Celant in 1967. Its a neologism to describe the massive outburst of furniture and decorative objects exhibited and sold since the millennium characterised by experimental forms. These pieces clearly celebrate lowly objects being repurposed as 'designer', only just stopping short of fine art in order to retain a sense of utility, a sense of fun . Some are practical to manufacture only because new fabrication techniques have come about controlled by computer aided design. Other 'one-off' pieces like those made by the Campana Brothers are hand made, unique and costly to assemble like couture hence the term Haute.
Whats really interesting is the UK scene which has gone into overdrive ever since design students have been graduating with our recent eco crisis conciousness. Aided and abetted by the far sighted impresarios Designersblock. Anything that was thrown away now seems like a blank template to design over and reinvent. It helps if you live near a flea market, but areas in London that have shot up in value have squeezed out cheap markets to be replaced with antiques and tourist tat. Luckily Deptford still has its cheap as chips, 'cheap and chipped' junk market which is its best badly kept secret. Clare Page and Harry Richardson from Committee at 198 Deptford High Street have been master exponents of Haute Povera gaining particular recognition with their elegant lamp stands made from items which look like 50p bargains that when assembled in a knowing way looks like the latest thing in a chic and hip hotel.
To mark the Deptford Design Weekend within the London Design Festival 2007, (and coinciding with DeptfordX) the local based design agency Raw Nerve have created the Deptford Design Market Challenge. The website there amply demonstrates 27 objects bought from the market and transformed in the Haute Povera style and their use of the charming appellation 'Deptford Thrift Market'. The objects will be on display at the Royal Festival Hall between the 15th and 20th September, with plenty other design festival treats.
If that hasnt whetted your appetite, how about upping the stakes by adding more luxe and visting TrashLuxe at Liberty from the 20th to the 30th September when the finest exponents of Haute Povera with their oh so good luxe will tease and delight your aesthetic taste buds, sore eyes and tender flesh. If you cant wait read this stomping blog posting about it from Dezeen.