Domestic aliens: a universe of feelings

"Cucine & Ultracorpi" introduces an installation by Italo Rota, set in motion by mechanisms made by Marzorati Ronchetti.

Triennale Design Museum, Milan



On the occasion of the Expo 2015, the eighth edition of the Triennale Design Museum is dedicated to the theme "Cucine & Ultracorpi".

Curated by Germano Celant in close collaboration with Silvana Annicchiarico, the exhibit is inspired by the book "L’invasione degli ultracorpi" and the eponymous film, cult science fiction that tells of alien conspirators, capable to assume human form and to substitute people, living their own daily life.

Similarly, the museum’s exhibition narrates (from April 9, 2015 to February 21, 2016) the slow but inexorable transformation of kitchen tools, from simple tools to real robots - an invading army that has colonized the domestic hearth, changing drastically our relationship with food.

The evolution of these objects - from the simplest tools of the eighteenth-century to the coffee makers, toasters and refrigerators, and even to the modern garbage disposal units, range hoods, blenders, domestic ice cream makers, etc. - illustrates the parallel transformation of our world, from the manual to the technologic one, also with additional artefacts such as advertisement, manuals, documentaries and games.

The itinerary is developed for thematic areas, with a multisensory perspective that theatricalizes the specific characteristics of each appliance, involving the four natural elements and giving particular emphasis to those iconic examples of different kitchen types, raised by the inspiration of some of the leading Italian and foreign designers.

Italo Rota with Irma Boom has put into practice this magical and surprising universe, recalling that alien and utilitarian mechanized landscape by drawing from various backgrounds and languages - such as science fiction - also to highlight ironic, tragicomic and a bit disquieting aspects of the relationship between man and machine.

One of the most significant works of the exhibition is the installation dedicated to cutting tools, designed by Italo Rota and realized with the decisive contribution of Marzorati Ronchetti, which oversaw the technical aspects related to the movement of the different types of tools involved in a sort of cosmological dance.

Here is what the installation tells:

"A universe full of stars, planets, moons and galaxies, threatening and in a constant swirling motion.

A universe where kitchen objects live, mix, chop and look at us. Many of them have strong personalities; some are quirky, other violent, to the limit of perversion.

Rotating blades inhabit the dimension of time, on which they are mounted and held by forces they don’t know, that govern their life as the mechanism of a complex clock.

A symmetry of fascination and dread. A real world, tragic and funny at the same time."

In this case, Marzorati Ronchetti provided its expertise to study and build the entire system, from the electric motor to the mobile metal components: an example of mechanics applied to art which fits perfectly in the established tradition of "metal tailoring" that characterizes the company. 


Celestial mechanics for sharp objects

"We are proud to participate in the event "Cucine & Ultracorpi"- explains Stefano Ronchetti, partner of Marzorati Ronchetti. We have been engaged directly by Silvana Annicchiarico, director of the Triennale Design Museum, to create the mechanisms of the installation dedicated to the cutting tools, an artwork designed by Italo Rota to offer a unique perspective of our daily relationship with the tools, even with the most dangerous, used in the kitchen to prepare food.

We created a handling system based on a rack mechanism and other devices, driven by an electric motor, which will give rise to a kind of performance, halfway between mechanics and abstraction. The whole is placed inside a large showcase, which has a chromed steel cable profile structure, dry mounted (dimensions: 410 x 77 cm, height 210 cm) and posed on a raised platform.

The showcase presents a composition of blades and other cutting tools, arranged in a cosmological pattern representing moons, galaxies, stars, and even the sun. An opaque sheet separates and supports the constellation of sharp objects operated by the mechanism which, with its shafts, belts and pulleys, is visible on the opposite side of the showcase.

The artwork will be placed in the last and in my opinion the most poignant exhibition hall. We are confident that its iconic power will be able to arouse the visitors’ interest. "



Client: Triennale Design Museum

Director: Silvana Annicchiarico

Exposure: Cucine & Ultracorpi

Curator: Germano Celant, Italo Rota

Artwork: Installation dedicated to cutting tools

Author: Italo Rota

Company: Marzorati Ronchetti



Courtesy Triennale Design Museum

Photo Gianluca Di Ioia