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The House of BMW in Milan at the Salone del Mobile

Press Release by BMW Group

How can we design technologies that respond to human needs, given the challenges of the modern world? The House of BMW has come up with some answers. Located in the heart of Milan’s fashion district, the company’s dialogue hub will transform into an experimental artistic space for the Salone del Mobile on 7 – 12 June and shine a spotlight on connectedness, digitalisation and circularity.

“House of BMW: In residence Mike Meiré – Tales from a Neo Collective Future” is the name of the six-day programme made up of installations, performances, workshops and discussion formats – with art director, designer, curator and artist Mike Meiré taking the artistic lead.

“The House of BMW is an ideal location for this interdisciplinary project,” explains Massimiliano Di Silvestre, President and CEO of BMW Italy. “Here, technology, design, beauty and innovation share the stage with sustainability and circularity. And at the centre of it all is something we have come to appreciate all over again in recent years: the importance of interpersonal relationships.”

“Tales from a Neo Collective Future” sees the artists Botter, Claudia Rafael and Anna Deller-Yee reflecting the spirit of the times. They tackle opportunities and challenges of technological developments by interpreting strategies of digitalisation and circularity. During the Salone del Mobile, the House of BMW will, to this end, transform into an open space of possibilities where artists and visitors venture together into the sphere between perception and poetry, factual and fantastic. “Art can inspire us as designers to think really radically about innovation. Design is, in a sense, the combination of art and technology,” says Adrian van Hooydonk, Senior Vice President BMW Group Design. “The Salone del Mobile provides an exciting platform where we can rediscover this symbiosis again and again.”

The Neue Klasse is a standard-bearer for a new attitude.
The BMW Group is part of this experience space, a company navigating transition. The underlying spirit of this process can be seen very prominently in the BMW i Vision Circular study car. The fully electric four-seater embodies the BMW Group’s intention to become the most sustainable manufacturer in the world of individual premium mobility. It marks the starting point for a whole new attitude. Circular economy was a factor in its design from day one of development. The BMW i Vision Circular is not a finished product, it’s a vision. And that connects it with the artworks in “Tales from a Neo Collective Future”: Both are blueprints of what could be.

A creative exchange with artists and their work .
BMW Group Design, the House of BMW, Mike Meiré and the artists he’s selected have come together behind this philosophy. “As a collective of artists and designers we want to use the possibilities we have today and the challenges facing us as we look ahead to create a place which inspires us, moves us and stimulates us to dream,” explains Mike Meiré. The collective includes Lisi Herrebrugh and Rushemy Botter, founders and creative directors of menswear label BOTTER. Inspired by their Caribbean roots, BOTTER’s fashion creations reflect social engagement and environmental awareness, combined with art and innovation. Berlin-based Claudia Rafael, meanwhile, brings together the human interface and the possibilities of technology in her digital art – and uses filters to question existing ideals of beauty. Anna Deller-Yee lives and works in both Germany and Italy. She describes herself as “the designer that paints too much”. She combines visual and narrative elements of fashion and painting. In her work, traditional artisan crafts become a toolset to express her perception of our society.

BOTTER view circularity as the central element of their works.
In Milan they will be working with a recycled item that can be found all around the world: the archetypical “Monobloc” chair. Designed originally as disposable, the creatives will elevate this mass product to the status of unique tailor-made pieces, objects that completely change how they are perceived through a new shell. By wrapping each chair as a textile sculpture – a process of radical upcycling – BOTTER not only experiment with the conventional order of high and low culture, they challenge production methods.

BOTTER’s second work focuses on the evolution of movement. It invites us to envision an alternative of how we understand movement today. The sculpture appears as a kind of capsule – made from recycled plastic. A large transparent mould, inspired by a toy box, encloses a void in the life-size figure of a human being. Seemingly emerging from another dimension, the work suggests an alternative to the familiar. In this sense BOTTER create a mould of what might come, a blank space we can fill with our imagination.

Claudia Rafael questions the societal potential of technological innovation.
For “Tales from a Neo Collective Future” Claudia Rafael explores the deeply human capacities of technological innovation. For the duration of the exhibition, the artist collects images of visitors on site. By altering these images through her facial filtering technique and by making them part of a constantly growing dataset, the artist creates a portrait of all the participants with Artificial Intelligence. Over time, an image is created that symbolises all the visitors to Neo Collective. They can interactively experience the face-filter capturing process by adding their image to a “collective portrait” that will emerge at the end of the exhibition. During the programme, visitors can see the image evolve in real time. This collective image illustrates the contradictions of digitalisation: its anonymity and intimacy.

Anna Deller-Yee empowers collective movements using human touch.
Anna Deller-Yee employs the metaphor of the SMELL OF RAIN for “Tales from a Neo Collective Future”. In a figurative work, the artist brings together painting and embroidery. An ancient knowledge of artisan crafts becomes the tool set to express her perception of our society. A large-scale tapestry made up of diverse materials expresses how human touch can empower collective movements, especially in digital times.

A richly varied programme transforms the House of BMW into an Open House.
A variety of events, performances, and design talks between Mike Meiré and Head of BMW Design Domagoj Dukec, and with artists from the collective, will also take place across the six days of the fair. Added to which, in an example of sustainable production at work, a miniature version of the BMW i Vision Circular – the circular vision of BMW Group Design – will be created live and without any waste over the course of the week using a 3D printer.
Michelle Elie’s “Cooking Experience” places a collective ritual at centre stage: the shared experience of cooking and eating. And Mike Meiré’s installation “Lab to Market” also tells its story here – of the lively chaos of a market, with all its flavours and aromas, meeting the artificial technological order of a laboratory.

The House of BMW will be showing the artists’ work at Via Verri 10 in Milan on 7 – 12 June: In residence Mike Meiré – Tales from a Neo Collective Future.

You can find the latest information on the programme here.

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