To mark the 2014 Salone Internazionale del Mobile, the Van Cleef & Arpels boutique in Milan exhibited the stage sets designed by Creative Academy students in partnership with the Cologni Foundation for the Métiers d’Art and the Compagnia Marionettistica Carlo Colla & Figli – Associazione Grupporiani. The Creative Academy is a school of design and applied arts established in Milan by the Richemont Group in 2003. Every year, the Cologni Foundation gives the 20 students on the Master’s programme a new creative challenge.

Following fruitful collaborations with Van Cleef & Arpels in 2011 and 2013, a new project was developed in 2014 with the support of the famous Milanese marionette company. The theme of Fairy Tales, chosen for this competition, echoes both the magical realm of Van Cleef & Arpels and the enchanting puppet shows of Carlo Colla & Figli. Marionette theatres are very popular in Italy, where they express their craft and extraordinary drama skills in staging classic repertoire, including ballet and opera, but also popular folk tales. Inspired by the magic of the theme, the students were asked to design original stage sets inspired by the enchanting world of the fine jewellery Maison.

Throughout their creative journey, students were assisted in this unprecedented artistic project by master artisans and set designers from the marionette company. Many skills are required to build a stage set and convey the enchantment of this poetic world in miniature. The rules and age-old craftsmanship that govern marionette-making have been passed down over three centuries from generation to generation within the Carlo Colla & Figli theatre company.