The installation designed by CZA for Marmomacc 2019 responds to the given theme "Hortus Liticus" through a simple action capable of generating complex spaces and figures through the mere proportional variation of an hourglass-like element repeated countless times.
Like the hoodoos of Bryce Canyon or the basalt columns of Garni, the “stalagmite” forest designed by CZA and made by the company Franco Umberto Marmi evokes at the same time the wonderful photos of inflorescences or legumes made by Karl Blossfeldt – capable of revealing the extreme “architecture” of the plant world – and the “Infinite Column” by Constantin Brâncuşi, which seems to unite the opposing principles of a totem column and an abstract figure without beginning or end in a single form.
The “artificial forest” made up of slender elements of different heights thus underlines the necessary reciprocity between the work of nature and the work of man, in their millennial relationship that has generated the wonderful European and Italian landscape, where they appear at the same time distinct and fused. As Gio Ponti said: “Italy was half made by God and half by architects”.
The name given to the installation, Sharawaggi, borrows a word from the physiognomy and the mysterious history: the first to use it is William Temple in “Upon the Gardens of Epicurus” (1685) where he states that it is a word used by the Chinese to describe “the beauty of studied irregularity (…) without any Order or Disposition of Parts”. The term takes hold in nineteenth-century England to define a “natural” aesthetic in the design of gardens, buildings and environments, giving an exotic touch to the contemporary concepts of “artful disorder” or “careful carelessness”. But research on its origin does not show any trace of the word in ancient or modern Chinese; the contemporary theory is that it is rather a transcription of the Japanese word “Shorowaji” by a Dutch diplomat visiting the gardens of the royal villa of Kyoto, a well-known masterpiece of “simulated naturalness”.
A word “extinct” in the East and survived in the foggy environment of the Anglo-Saxon moors could well define today a new design attitude, capable of uniting precision and informality, order and play, nature and artifice, in the consciousness of an ever smaller and more fragile globe.