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We can’t talk about Martino Gamper’s work without talking about his use of waste material, and we can’t talk about Martino’s use of waste material without talking about his project taking apart and reassembling furniture by Italian master designer Gio Ponti – so here you go, in our second little excerpt of our very current issue:

Perhaps your most radical use of existing material was when you took apart furniture by Gio Ponti for your project in Basel. Weren’t some people very shocked by that?
The Ponti furniture was from the Hotel Parco dei Principi in Sorrento. When the hotel was renovated in 2005, the furniture was sold in two lots; nice collectible pieces that are still around in auctions and all the other bits – doors, cupboard doors, headrests, bedsteads. Stuff that no one wanted to buy. Nina had bought those leftovers, but didn’t really know what to do with them – they were mainly in very poor condition. When I saw them, I loved the colours and the idea that something that was going to end up in warehouse storage could be made into something new. For me it wasn’t about taking something apart. I was asked to do a performance at Basel and I thought it would be a good chance to make something new from the old.

Did you plan what you were going to make before you started?
No. I was actually really nervous, because I didn’t have any idea what I was going to make.

But some people at the fair were quite outraged by what you were doing.
It was seen by some of the dealers as quite provocative, particularly before I had started making anything new, when I was just destroying. Even Nina was a little hesitant at the beginning. I was destroying the very pieces that the other galleries were selling, more or less. For me, it was also important to make a statement about the status of young designers in the fair. It is meant to be a contemporary show, but young designers don’t really have a place. I understand that someone like Jean Prouvé designed beautiful furniture, but should half of the fair be Prouvé?

All images courtesy Nilufar Gallery, Milano