QT 002

 

Queer001

QT 002

I bought a pair of these beautiful gloves, costing many thousands of Lire, during a visit to Milan in 1997. I was in town for ‘Salone Internazionale del Mobile’, the annual furniture fair. The webbed fingers suggested these were for swimming; but strangely they were found in a hardware store rather than a sports shop. I was in a hurry, and left the shop without any explanation of their proper use [they were packaged without branding or instructions in a transparent plastic bag]. It transpired that these gloves were developed as a training device for serious or competitive swimmers. The webbed fingers increase resistance of the hand through water, so although one is propelled more quickly [as with fins/flippers], the benefit in training is that specific muscle groups can be focussed. A simple device not to help you swim but actually to make it more difficult. Webbed gloves are now commonly used for aquatic activities where improved propulsion is desired; surfing, scuba/snorkelling, kayaking etc.

Just around the corner from the hardware shop, on Via Alessandro Tadino, was a fantastic exhibition called ‘Oggetti Discreti – A journey in the world of objects of an anonymous author’. This beautifully simple and meaningful show was dedicated to 89 year old Maestro, Bruno Munari. The curators, Riccardo Giovanetti and Nikolaus Goettsche, invited a group of young designers to contribute ‘objects without author’. Each presented a small collection of anonymous objects, old and new, which survive and thrive in the absence of their designer’s name. Most ‘normal’ people [lest we forget] have no need, or want, to know ‘who designed what’…. and while we’re on the subject of normal, my friend Jasper Morrison – whose Immaculate Conception surely inspires Oggetti Discreti – showed us the Norica paperclip [‘…now evolved to the limit’] where normal is queer and queer is normal. Other memorable contributions from Tim Power, Alejandro Ruiz, Randi Kristensen & Marco Romanelli. My favourite was a small, disparate array of gloves, with obvious resonance, presented by Konstantin Grcic – design genius and lovely fellow:

Gloves.
A small collection of gloves.
A small collection of forms.
A small collection of materials.
A small collection of technologies.
A small collection of functions.
A small collection of smells.
A small collection of colours.
A small collection of gloves.  

QT 002 Webbed Glove, moulded from silicone, still in production.
No indication as to where, when or by whom these were made.

Grazie Mille Michael Marriott for loan of the excellent Oggetti Discreti catalogue.

 

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