Everyone knows that a big part of Italy’s charm is the beautiful Renaissance architecture. The 15th century was all about striving for perfection in all aspects of life, which in turn would create the “perfect city.” Renaissance architecture achieved this perceived perfection by looking back to the Greek and Roman times and incorporating symmetry, math, proportion, and order. The results were visually appealing, ornate buildings (like St. Peter’s Basilica). It’s this idea of architectural perfection that influenced a new line of housewares from Mad Lab.
The Utopia Collection is set of serving pieces disguised as a scaled-down city. Consisting of three jars, two trays, a serving platter, and a fruit bowl, the line is a modern day interpretation of the Renaissance style. The pieces are made from carefully carved wood and showcase architectural shapes important to the style of the time, including the arch and spire. The three jars take on iconic Renaissance building shapes, the serving trays and platter represent classic Italian courtyards, and the fruit bowl is a reimagining of the palazzo.
The Utopia Collection was designed by Antonio Serrano, a Madrid-based artist and founder of Mad Lab known for his minimalist pieces. From art installations to furniture to home decor, Serrano breaks objects down into their most basic form and uses pops of color to highlight the beauty of this simplicity. In this way, his pieces capture the essence of what makes architecture so visually appealing while also showcasing raw materials, like the maple, cedar, and ebony wood used for the Utopia collection.
While it may seem that the basic forms of the Utopia Collection aren’t in line with the ornateness of the Renaissance architecture, the pieces do reflect the ideals of that time. The Renaissance sprang from a desire for perfection. In terms of architecture, the arch was an essential part of achieving this. It allowed for visual symmetry, taller buildings, and grander doorways. By focusing on this key element, Serrano shows that perfection can be found when you take away the decoration and seek out simple forms. The pieces in the Utopia Collection are not just an homage to Renaissance architecture, they are a metaphor for life – living more simply often leads to a more fulfilled life.
Bet you never thought there would be a philosophical lesson hidden in your fruit bowl.
Created to be showcased at the Madrid Design Festival, which took place in February, the Utopia Collection will soon be available for sale to the general public.
Speaking of the Renaissance, maybe you should consider becoming a Renaissance man?
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