Cave by Ilaria Marelli


Italian architect and designer Ilaria Marelli created this installation at the Pitti Uomo men's fashion fair in Florence this month.

The installation is designed to make visitors feel like they're exploring an underground cave.

Marelli designed the Cave to house New Beat(s), an exhibition featuring fourteen emerging fashion brands and designers

The dark interior spaces were penetrated by transparent threads illuminated from the top, while the metallic and jewel-like colouring of the furnishings were intended to represent minerals and precious stones found underground.

Below is an explanation of the project from Marelli:


Pitti Uomo

Mysterious “Cave” installation by Ilaria Marelli

Ilaria Marelli has designed a new fascinating installation for Pitti Uomo, prestigious men’s fashion fair organized in Florence at Fortezza da Basso (January, 9-12, 2008).

At Lyceum Pavillon, Ilaria Marelli’s “Cave” (her fourth exhibit design in two years for Pitti Immagine) has hosted “New Beats(s)”, a section of Pitti Uomo fair featuring fourteen emerging fashion brands and designers.

“Cave” installation takes inspiration from geological caves: dark spaces, beams of sunlight entering through crevices, amazing shapes of minerals and precious stones, intense natural colours.

Ilaria Marelli has given all these elements an abstract look in order to create a fascinating, masculine scene for “New Beat(s)”.

Shape and surface of the entrance façade are jagged like natural deposits of basalt. Just behind the entrance door, visitors go through a curtain of transparent strings hanging from the ceiling. Its top-down illumination creates interesting ray and cascade effects.

Inside the pavilion, further coloured light-cascades cut the dark spaces and reflect on vertical mirrored panels, offering other surprising views. A video projected on the surface of the light-cascades creates new effects and stimulates the visitors’ imagination of unexplored underground caves.

The exhibition desks consist of big blocks of different shape and size, painted in silver, gold and copper colours - just like precious minerals, emphasizing the latest news in male fashion at “New Beat(s)” exhibiton.

Ilaria Marelli adapts the concept of the exhibition desk to the benches and the bar offering a few minutes of relaxation to visitors of New Beat(s).

While enjoying snacks and drinks of colours similar to minerals and precious stones served on black dishes, an ethereal lounge-music collection, developed for Ilaria Marelli’s “Cave” installation, creates the perfect sound for this unique ambience at Pitti Uomo N73, held January 9 to 12 in Florence.

Pitti Immagine Uomo is an international fair held in Florence, at Fortezza da Basso, presenting world previews of fashion and accessories for men, attended by renowned international companies as well as by emerging brands and talents. Twice a year, Pitti Uomo presents the latest trends in men’s elegance, luxury collections, sports- and informal wear.

Posted on Thursday January 17th 2008 at 4:40 pm by . Copyright policy | Comments policy

  • Much ado about nothing, me thinks.

  • bald skull

    while it looks interesting w/ the lighting and geo-mimicry, those blocks don’t look all that comfortable. unless they are really a squishy foam block, then i’d bring the bong along and invite the guys over for a “session”.

  • fBot

    boxes and fibre optic lighting
    is that contemporary?

  • do people only post negative comments on everything at this website?

    i think this is phenomenal.

  • john

    ya, i totally agree with travis. Come on guys! Some constructive feedback . It is sad just to shoot down on the design without giving something to improve on.

  • Andrew

    True Indeed Travis.

  • bald skull

    not sure if what i wrote was seen as negative, buti was only pointing out that seating should be comfortable. so are those blocks for seating?

  • admin

    Regarding the increasing amount of negative comments on Dezeen, please have a look at the discussion here

    Time to stop the slagging!


    Marcus, Dezeen

  • Q

    Nice stuff

  • ireg

    I agree with some of the above posts. I think this is awesome also. It shows creative use of materials and a clear concept.