Diverse Maniere was a design manual published in English, French, and Italian in 1769 by Giovanni Battista Piranesi. Bringing together a clear concept of his radical aesthetic, the manual is an impressive collection of designs that articulates Piranesi’s Venetian taste as well as his engagement with antiquity.
Piranesi’s criteria are essentially visual, rather than academic and historical, and he aired some remarkably original ideas on the stylization of natural forms in antiquity. The main argument for these ideas calls for a coherent new system of design, growing from a study of nature combined with all that is excellent in the past, regardless of whether it is Greek or Roman, Etruscan or Egyptian. Due to their complexity, few of the designs in Diverse Maniere were made. However, in 2010, Michele de Lucchi and Adam Lowe made a selection of objects and worked on the designs for an exhibition at the Fondazione Giorgio Cini.
The Helix Tripod was digitally modelled in ZBrush, 3D printed using Laser Sintering, and then cast in bronze and gold-plated. The work was conducted under the direction of Adam Lowe at Factum Arte in Madrid.
Artists and institutions increasingly require a new type of mediation to transform ideas into physical realities. Factum Arte is an atelier and an incubator of creative ideas, founded by British artist Adam Lowe in 2001, dedicated to digital mediation and the production of works in two and three dimensions for contemporary artists, museums, and special projects. The team at Factum Arte’s atelier in Madrid (and the studios in Milan and Bologna) includes artists, engineers, software-writers, craftsmen, conservators, and technicians devoted to masterminding artistic projects and finding solutions to their unique challenges. These activities have resulted in ground-breaking works of art.
The work carried out by Factum Arte is inherently original and diverse. It ranges from three-dimensional facsimiles for major conservation projects (on which it works with Factum Foundation) to archival print editions, vast bronze and stainless steel sculptures, or concrete “prints”—in fact, anything involving sensitivity to, and a practical understanding of, the transformation, mediation, and manipulation of data.
At Factum Arte, the development and application of new technologies goes hand-in-hand with high levels of craftsmanship and manual skills at every stage of the process. Factum Arte has been engaged for some time in developing digital technology to create high-definition archives that are of sufficient quality to be used to re-create the original.