“Oh, mirror, mirror on the wall, am I most beautiful of all?” Snow White’s mother, the envious Queen, would ask her looking glass each evening, soothed by the oracle’s assurances until the night it copped to the fact there was no way she could outshine her daughter’s loveliness. Into the woods went pretty Snow White, escorted there and abandoned at the biding of her powerful and demented mom.
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
When you take away the singsong rhythm and whimsical illustrations of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, the Brothers Grimm fairy tale couldn’t be more representative of a young woman headed for decades of psychotherapy!
And when the seven bearded little men, all strangers, show up at the door, of course Snow White was frightened: mothers, let this be the example you use when you are reading bedtime stories to your darling girls—never, ever open the door!
I get it: had she not let them in, there would be no fairy tale. So on the story goes with fiddly-de’s and fiddly-dum’s as the dwarfs regaled Snow White, their small stature irrelevant due to their irresistible charms.
The Seven Dwarfs’ Cottage in the Forest-Glen
I have only one thing to say to Thumpy, Pot and Pan, Slap and Happy, and Whiz and Wham (now Sneezy, Bashful, Dopey, Sleepy, Happy, Grumpy and Doc thanks to Disney): I want that little thatch-roofed cottage in the forest-glen. It is my idea of heaven and you have moved on to the great palace to live “happily ever after” with Snow White after all.
It must be obvious by now that I didn’t have children given my slightly whacked interpretation of this time-honored fable. And I’m not using you, dear readers, solely for the purposes of a therapy session today. I have a design angle for this post, which you have likely figured out by now due to the alluring image to the right.
Snow White Italian Style
I segue this ridiculously long lede to an introduction of a collection of playful pendants by the Fossombrone, Italy-based lighting manufacturer, Karman, has given a line of lighting named Settenani—a riff on Sette Nani, which means Seven Dwarfs in Italian—makes the fixtures perfect for one of my literary design narratives. The pendants are the Pisolo, Brontolo, Gongolo, Mammolo and Eolo, each with a correlation to the personality of one of the Seven Dwarfs; and the Biancaluce, a fixture paying homage to Snow White.
There isn’t much about this collection that isn’t brilliant (pun intended), down to the concrete they’re fashioned from. I’m visually highlighting the Mammolo and Pisolo as favorites because I adore the small patches on their matte cement surfaces pressed with lacey patterning. How’s that for a paradoxical design move?
The designer is Matteo Ugolini, who is also Karman’s creative director. I’m tapping the company as one of the most remarkable labs for creativity I’ve come across in quite some time—this collection proof that they seamlessly address every detail from conception through marketing and branding. Take a look at this video presenting “a day in the life” glimpse at one of their photo shoots and you’ll see what I mean.
I met the company’s export sales manager Vitaliano Mancino, who described the manufacturer’s vibe eloquently: “Karman is unique because of the company’s creative identity. Some may think what we do is too daring but I like to think of our point of view as elegant with a twist.”
Soon after his visit, he sent me the Karman team’s latest creative adventure: the first in a series of comic books-cum-graphic novels titled Karmando, which they will be rolling out quarterly. Daring in its scope, elegant in its execution, the project is intelligently conceived with just the right twist of devil-may-care.
Biancaluce and her Settenani from Karman
I’ve had the pleasure of seeing a few of the Settenani pendants in person and as good as their photography is (and it’s exquisite), the lights are even cooler in person. I felt like the handsome prince staring through the glass case at Snow White when I saw them. But it’s not just about pretty fixtures that Karman is brilliant at: how clever of them to have given their rollout of this collection an edge by storyboarding it with a wizened man in drag.
It takes a lot to surprise me and the image below gave me a delicious jolt when I first saw it. I’d like to thank Karman for giving me the chance to skirt the edge with this post because it isn’t often I give myself leeway to be so playful here on SH, the blog. I must say I giggled all the way through the first draft!
I also blame the talented Italians for my latest design obsession. My jaunts to antiques fairs and flea markets in the coming months will include the hunt for a set of garden gnomes. Though I don’t have a green space attached to my Brooklyn pad, with just the right hint of kitsch, they’ll be an edgy addition to my eclectic décor.
The Diary of an Improvateur and this DesignSalon entry © Saxon Henry, all rights reserved. Saxon is an author, poet and journalist, as well as a contributor to Architizer. Her books include Anywhere But Here, Stranded on the Road to Promise and Four Florida Moderns.by