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Como, Italy – The picturesque city of Como, nestled on the shores of Lake Como, is set to host the highly anticipated Lake Como Design Festival from September 16th to 24th, 2023, and the exhibit “Between Art and Nature” until October 14, 2023. This year marks the festival’s fifth edition, and it promises to be a remarkable journey through the intersection of art, design, and nature. With a backdrop of historic and forgotten locations in the city and its surrounding areas, the Lake Como Design Festival continues its mission to unveil the artistic and architectural heritage of this enchanting region through a unique cultural offering.

Lorenzo Butti, the visionary behind the festival and its artistic director, reflects, “The fifth edition of the Lake Como Design Festival is a significant milestone for us. It allows us to look back with pride at the path we’ve traversed while inspiring us to aim for the future. Paying homage to Pliny the Elder, who was born in Como two thousand years ago, is our way of embracing the rich artistic and cultural legacy of this corner of the world and connecting it with contemporary creativity in all its facets. We have used ‘Naturalis Historia’ as a guide to navigate the realms of design, art, architecture, craftsmanship, and literature, offering visitors a kaleidoscope of visions and emotions that originate in Como but extend to the far reaches of the imagination.”

Indeed, the theme chosen for this year’s festival is “Naturalis Historia,” drawing inspiration from the observation of nature as a guiding thread and paying tribute to Pliny the Elder, whose 2,000th birthday Como is celebrating in 2023. The festival’s focus, once again centered on the fusion of art and design, is enriched by the profound influence of Pliny’s work. “Naturalis Historia” is a monumental encyclopedia that has been a fundamental source of knowledge for scientists and intellectuals for centuries. Compiled by Pliny the Elder, it has survived in its entirety to the present day. In its 37 volumes, Pliny expresses his eclectic and inquisitive character through a complex treatise that spans geography and anthropology, zoology and botany, medicine, mineralogy, metallurgy, and the history of art.

The program of “Naturalis Historia” includes “Back to Nature,” a selection of works, projects, objects, and furnishings from various sources united by a common inspiration drawn from nature across different epochs and techniques. This selection is set in the prestigious surroundings of Villa Olmo.

“The Other Animals,” a collective exhibition of works, objects, and furnishings, will explore the theme of zoology. Hosted by the Municipality of Como at Palazzo del Broletto, this exhibition is the result of collaboration with a board of selectors from various fields.

“Between Art and Nature: Photographs from the Collection of Fondazione Sozzani,” curated by Maddalena Scarzella, presents a selection of 80 photographs from the permanent collection of Fondazione Sozzani in Milan. It offers a fresh perspective by focusing on works in which Nature serves as an inexhaustible source of inspiration, study, reference, veneration, estrangement, and comfort.

“Stories of Fabrics,” hosted at San Pietro in Atrio, features a selection of works by national and international designers who engage in extensive research and experimentation in the realm of natural and vegetal craftsmanship, from agriculture to weaving and the rediscovery of ancient production techniques.

The festival also welcomes back the “Contemporary Design Selection,” an open call for independent designers, publishers, and galleries dedicated to contemporary design. This year, the event is curated for the first time by Giovanna Massoni and is hosted within the historic Villa Salazar, open to the public for the first time.


In its fifth edition, the Lake Como Design Festival continues to offer guided tours organized by Wonderlake Como, focusing on Como’s architecture. Alongside the institutional venues, the festival maintains its OFF program, featuring site-specific projects and installations involving local entities and designers from around the world, further enriching the festival’s diverse landscape.

As Lake Como Design Week 2023 unfolds, it promises to be a celebration of creativity inspired by the natural world, offering visitors an unparalleled experience of art, design, and culture in the heart of this enchanting Italian city. Whether you are an art enthusiast, a design connoisseur, or simply someone looking to immerse yourself in the beauty of Como, this year’s festival is sure to captivate your senses and leave you inspired by the timeless connection between art and nature.

Learn more:

Associazione Wonderlake Como

via Alessandro Volta 70

22100 Como, Italia

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