The Story Behind the Name


Behind the name Revolution of Forms there is a story, one that is at the core of this project and what we stand for.

The simple explanation is that I chose to call the business Revolution of Forms as a homage to a great book by John A. Loomis about Cuba’s National Schools of Art. If you search Revolution of Forms on your preferred browser, chances are that you’ll find entry for the books long before you find us.

Architecture and books are two of my greatest passions.

Architecture represents one of the first forms of art I encountered and learnt to love from a young age.

I grew up in Italy where many buildings are historically and culturally important. I learnt how to read them, to look up at the painted ceilings, to understand the meaning they try to convey.

Most buildings are not masterpieces, but when I am lucky enough to be in one that is, the power of forms and structures can be overwhelming, from the Duomo in Milan to the Aquatic Centre by Zaha Hadid in London.

In 2018, my partner and I had the privilege of visting the Schools of Art in Havana which are the subject of the Revolution of Forms book. Walking amongst the mostly forgotten and abandoned structures left a strong impression on me, and since then I often thought about the experience as a pivotal point in my life.

Books are fundamentally important to me also, some books are responsible for some key decisions I have taken in life, so it seems only natural to me that I would choose the title of a book for a project that was my own.


So what’s so special about Cuba’s National Art Schools?

A Revolution of Forms is a Revolution of Essentials.

- José Martí -

The schools were conceived immediately after the revolution and they represented the utopian optimism of change.

Built between 1961 and 1965, and never completed, the schools comprised of variety of schools, plastic arts, dance, dramatic arts, music and ballet.

As John Lumis wrote ‘they attempted to reinvent architecture, just as the Revolution hoped to redefine society’. The Schools of Art are the first Postmodernist ruins, the project sadly was never fully completed.


 

During our visit I was amazed how the forms and materials could clearly express an idea, an identity as strong and defined as the Cuban revolution.

Two of the architects involved in the design of the schools were Italians, Roberto Gottardi and Vittorio Garatti. Right there, far from my home country, in the middle of what used to be a golf course accessible only to the very wealthy, I stood surrounded by bricks arranged in shapes and forms that were immediately clear to me.

Not only they were elements of a language I understood, they were also representing a potential social and cultural connection still very much alive.

Even if far away from home and looking at something so different from anything I had ever seen before, I felt at home, connected to this place and to these forms.

The power of these forms and the experience of exploring this place had a profound impact on the way I think about other cultures and ways of life when I travel.

 


So fast forward a year when I was brainstorming business names I thought long and hard about the values of the company and more than just the values, why I wanted to create this company.

The world revolution can have substantial implications for a brand, the word is primarily associated with dramatic removal and replacement of a government that can often result in a dictatorship, so perhaps not an ideal candidate for a business venture!

However, revolution in its literal meaning, stripped of the historical associations, simply means ‘an important change in the way people do things’. I would like to think that people are changing the way they do things, in particular, the way they interact with and acquire objects.

I think an increasing portion of the market is now looking for ways to be more conscious about the way they spend their money, careful not to support brands that exploit people and pollute the environment.

I believe that artisans and craftsmanship are fundamental elements in the path to a responsible lifestyle.

Revolution of Forms was created for the ethical customer looking for a brand that aligns with their value, but first and foremost was created to give exposure, protect and promote the hard work of artisans around the world. According to Glenn Adamson ‘Every object represents a potential social connection. By better understanding the tangible things in our lives, we better understand our fellow humans.’

Revolution of Forms is here to facilitate and explore that connection.

 

Written by Raffaella Goffredi

Photographed by Stephen Smith

All rights reserved ©2020 Revolution of Forms.


If you want to know more about the Schools of Art you can find the book in various online stores. A good short video is here https://vimeo.com/50648492 and the documentari Yuli- The Carlos Acosta Story is partially shot in the School of Ballet.

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