Allegra Hicks on Ennobling Crochet

MILAN — The simple art of crochet is the emotional element driving “Metamorphosis,” Allegra Hicks‘ latest collection that debuted Monday at Nilufar’s Viale Lancetti location for Milan Design.

The Italian-born artist’s textile work started 30 years ago in the fields of embroidery, tapestries and even rugs. But her fascination with crochet started in her youth in Turin, after asking her grandmother if it was possible to crochet a swim suit. Her grandmother aided her in mastering the craft, an intimate family legacy that continues to weave itself through Hicks’ career as an artist.

By covering crochet in bronze, Hicks champions preconceived notions around the vulnerability associated with traditional feminine craft.

“If you could combine something so soft like crochet and a see-through item made out of cotton or silk or wool and transform it chemically into bronze, the idea of crochet changes completely. Sculpture has a life of its own and you don’t need to explain anything,” Hicks mused.

“Textiles was a passion from Day One. I am trained as an artist and designer, I worked for a painter in New York and when I came back [to Europe] 30 years ago, I made my first piece of furniture, a pair of consoles that I still have in my apartment in London,” she said. To start, the crochet for “Metamorphosis” was made by Hicks herself and later elaborated by a New Delhi artisan firm.

For the exhibit, she created a glamorous room around a sofa, a coffee table, two side tables, two standing totemic lights and one chandelier hanging in the back of the room and two mobile appliqués. The lighting is distinguished by orbs cocooned in metallic fabric. The standing lights and chandelier represent Hicks’ official foray into the lighting sector.

“I had the idea, I wanted beautiful lighting that would create different, atmospheric shadows…a dreamy sense of light that’s not necessarily to see very well. That’s not really the point,” she said.

“Metamorphosis” stems from Hicks’ fascination with the nuances of materials and the transformative process and how they change.

A female narrative also drove “Lucielle,” which Hicks unveiled at Edit Napoli in October. The exhibit was a homage to Santa Lucia — a formation of sculpted orbs and shells in ray formation.

Allegra Hicks

Allegra Hicks

Francesco Squeglia

Nilufar founder Nina Yashar and Hicks met two years ago, and discussed a collection with poignant storytelling. The two sofas within the collection, she commented, are completely embroidered.

“When you have a very specific and strong creative vocabulary and you worked with it and for it for a very long time you write different words with the same alphabet.”

“Metamorphosis” will be on display at Nilufar on Viale Lancetti 34, until Sunday. The debut is part of the gallery’s “Time Traveler” exhibition, uniting the cutting-edge works of contemporary talents with the timeless masterpieces from design legends of the past, as well as new creations from the Open Edition range. Contemporary artists with new solo shows include a mosaic by renowned digital artist and designer Andrés Reisinger and a lava ceramic sculpture by Ranieri creative directors Francesco Meda and David Lopez Quincoces.

Allegra Hicks

Lighting by Allegra Hicks

Filippo Piccolini

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