Seven totem designs at the Lake Como Design Festival


Sculptural totems of different materials, colors and sizes were displayed at this year’s Lake Como Design Festival, where Neolithic artifacts saw a revival.

Among the many designers exhibited at the Italian show Lake Como Design Festival this year, a notable number have relied on totems – traditionally sacred spiritual objects – for their work.

Now in its fourth year, the annual design festival aims to connect architecture, design and art in the region. This year’s theme, neo-nomadism, has resulted in an array of designs that reference the rich heritage and design history of the place in the form of totem poles.

Created by Italian artistic director Lorenzo Butti, the event featured work by designers including Italian architect Fabio Novembre, Australian designer dean norton and duo based in Como Draga and Aurel.

“The journey must start from what history has given us, accompanied by a fundamental awareness of the importance of preserving what we have, while creating again what has not been seen before and promoting it,” Butti said of the festival.

Read on for our pick of seven of the most exciting totem designs:


A red totemic sculpture

Red Figure by Min Park

Seoul-based designer Min Park referenced Asian pagodas – multi-tiered towers typically built to have a religious function – for Red Figure, a towering sculpture made of earth and paper pulp and finished in a glossy deep red glaze.

Park based his design, which was on display in the neoclassical Villa Gallia as part of emerging design collective Movimento Club’s exhibition, on Korean stone pagodas where people gather to make wishes and pile stones on top of each other. on the others.


Several sculptural objects on a table at the Lake Como Design Festival

Christian Schüle’s Playful Rover

Inside the ornate Nobel Room at the Casartelli Science Museum, designer Christian Schüle has exhibited a series of sand-colored sculptures called The Playful Rover.

Designed to be playfully stacked or nested inside each other, Schüle’s tactile objects combine pyramid shapes with spheres in a nod to ancient architectural structures.


A curtain in beige and red fabric

Metamorphosis by Rikki Peltola

Finnish artist and designer Rikki Peltola created Metamorphosis using what she calls a “meditative and organic” technique, hand-crocheting delicate threads of paper to create the textile, which stretches skyward like a totem.

The fabric was designed to echo the way plants adapt to their environment by extending their roots outward in search of nutrients and water, especially in extreme environments.


Two totems in front of a window

Tribu Vases by Verter Turroni for Imperfettolab

Three totemic poles by the founder of the Italian design studio Imperfetto LabVerter Turroni, were positioned on a balcony that surrounds Casa Bianca, a historic palace overlooking Lake Como.

Presented as part of an exhibition organized by Phila Gallery, totemic stone structures can also be used as vases. Each column is formed by a wide rounded base and surmounted by different cylindrical shapes.


Two totem pole sculptures at the Lake Como Design Festival

A push by scattered disc objects

Made entirely of marble, these two sculptures in neutral colors are designed to resemble primitive devices for storing or hiding valuables such as coins.

Design, technological research and architecture studio Scattered disc objects has created several marble stone replacement pieces that can fit snugly into the gaps of the top halves.


The interiors of a showroom at the Lake Como Design Festival
The photo is by Alice Finney

Fran lamp by Llot Llov

Presented in the exhibition of the Movimento Club, a floor lamp with fringes in natural raffia – also known as Japanese grass – which unfolds to cover 80 centimeters in diameter.

Produced by the Berlin-based interior brand Llot Llovthe natural fibers around the lamp help cast the light in a soft glow while contributing to its organic shape and totemic feel.


Two lights with hemp shades in a bathroom inside the Lake Como Design Festival

Presence of Agustina Bottoni

italian designer Augustine Bottoni draped a thin veil of translucent hemp fabric around these two coordinating floor lamps, giving them an ethereal look.

Each lightweight LED lamp, called Presenza, has a solid brass base finished with satin that has been molded into unusual totem-like geometric shapes.

All images courtesy of Lake Como Design Festival unless otherwise stated.

The 2022 Lake Como Design Festival takes place September 17-25, 2022. Check out the Dezeen Events Guide for more information on the many other exhibits, installations and talks taking place throughout the week.

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