The theme

by Alfred de Locatelli
Docente di Modellistica all’Accademia di Brera a Milano


Incognito Furniture

– In natura ignotum

The night of the Angels,
objects of various origins
2019
Alfred de Locatelli


Dimensioni 40cm x 40cm x 10cm.

” Being is dark if devoid of appearance; appearance is inconsistent if it is devoid of being. “
Gorgia da Lentini.


…designing is a journey, and it is very interesting when that journey becomes one of discovery, and is recorded as such. Often, the objective of our work is the designed object, but by losing ourselves in the sea of knowledge, we can rekindle our belief in the new, along with our interest in ourselves and our own work.

The theme of this competition is an adjective: incognito. A theme that is difficult to define, but easily simplified: the mask. (I know you, mask).

incognito adj., adv., noun [from Lat. incognitus. from in- and cognitus, past part. of cognoscere – to know]. – 1. adj. Unknown, unidentified, undercover (generally unknown to a specific person or group of people, rather than someone of whom absolutely nothing is known).

Montesquieu, the French philosopher, judge, historian and political thinker, had some interesting reflections. He relates the tale of a journey to Venice in 1728, saying: “A masked costume is not a disguise, but rather, an incognito. Only rarely does one change one’s clothes, and everyone knows one another”.

Masked carnival costumes were a free pass, with rules and privileges that ensured a freedom of movement still astonishing to this day.

Masks and costumes feature in every culture, and in order to understand them, we need to analyse them and familiarise ourselves with them.

Here are some ideas to explore:

The mask is the place of our deepest impulses, and there is nothing simple about it.

Everything is centred on the body, which may be healthy, deformed, alien, mysterious or absent.

The Wild Man, within whom prejudices and legends are dominant.

The mask confronts the creation and continuation of the relationship between the individual and the group. Over time, it creates rituals.

Freud calls it the uncanny.

Heroes put on and remove their masks.

All that remains for us to do is to imagine a hidden, mysterious piece of furniture that reveals only what it wishes to convey. Incognito becomes a celebration of all things veiled and concealed.

The wardrobe, as the artist Magritte might have said, can disguise itself as a chair, but it will never be a chair.