Photographer: Mark Elias/Bloomberg

Cartier Owner Brings Ferraris, Fine Art to Venice Artisan Show

  • September 2018 fair to include fine vases, bikes, blown glass
  • Billionaire Rupert formed foundation to promote dying arts

After warning that robots and technology will make many people unemployable, Richemont Chairman Johann Rupert wants to show that people still have a role to play when it comes to designing things like fine vases, bespoke bicycles and, yes, luxury goods.

Venice will be the site of a 4,000 square-meter exhibition of Europe’s top artisanal skills that’s being organized by the Michelangelo Foundation, which the South African billionaire set up last year with former Cartier executive Franco Cologni to promote disappearing crafts.

Johann Rupert

Photographer: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg

The exposition will showcase a myriad of objects including fine vases, contemporary art, bicycles, and the work of the world’s best Ferrari restorer, according to the Geneva-based foundation. The Homo Faber show will run from Sept. 14 to Sept. 30, coinciding with the Italian city’s Biennale of Architecture.

Visitors will get the chance to see artisans create work in real time or through virtual reality, and the event will give artists and designers across Europe an opportunity to network and gain visibility, a spokeswoman said by phone. It will also include makers of musical instruments, furniture and blown glass. Visiting car lovers will be able to watch the world’s most renowned Ferrari restorer at work and luxury aficionados will be able to observe demonstrations of leatherwork techniques.

“The exhibit will provide a panoramic view of European fine craftsmanship,” the 67-year-old billionaire said in the statement. “It will nevertheless have a singular undercurrent: what human beings can do better than machines.”

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