Aphrodisia - Mali Weil - erotica is the new politics - photography


concept, design, creative direction:
Mali Weil

with the sustain of:
Compagnia di San Paolo within the framework of Ora! linguaggi contemporanei_Produzioni innovative, Provincia Autonoma di Trento

realized in collaboration with:
IED Torino, Circolo del Design, Torino Graphic Days, Toolbox Coworking, Overground magazine, Operae Indipendent Design Festival

in network with:
Palazzo Carignano-Polo Museale del Piemonte, CUS Torino Sez. Lotta, Teatro Stabile di Torino, CSS Ebla

powered by:
Centrale Fies

press office:
Carmela Santovito

communication support:
Virginia Sommadossi/Fies Core

graphic design:
Cinzia Bongino

Aphrodisia is a a space, an imaginary and a research on friendship relations, used as starting point for a capsule collection for the private environment of the house.
Aphrodisia is dedicated to Erotica, as the “art of intensifying relationships and inflaming the body and mind”. Each piece constitutes a fragment of a bigger narration in which spaces, rituality and private actions usually belonging to the domestic sphere, become moments to empower the body and to consolidate friendships. Aphrodisia catalyses new visions in which political imagination becomes an erotic act. The collection transforms the home environment into a gymnasium—the ancient Greek location dedicated to the physical and philosophical training of the individual for public life, but also a venue to cultivate political and erotic relationships. Intensity, beauty and narration intersect respectively in order to prepare for action.

But Aphrodisia is a process as well: conceived with a performative approach, in order to forerun the making of the design-object and to be able to continue after its exhibition, Aphrodisia is a concept employing different formats: from workshops for students, to performances, from creative direction of a site-specific intervention on a magazine to public talks, dinners and lectures, from a pop-up research lab, until the design creations, as the final output, a wide supply-chain involved artisans, young designers and several cultural scene actors.

The collection launch within Operae Indipendent Design Festival in Turin has been completed by a performance: “Erotica is the new politics” a training experience for at least 2 people leaded by a personal trainer, a ritual to initiate the animal spirit to the erotic aspects of taking action.
Later Aphrodisia generated a performance which is also a dinner, where it’s possible to talk about erotica, about the relationship between Socrates and Alcibiades, about design and obviously about politics: “Amare Alcibiade”.

Aphrodisia è uno spazio, un immaginario e una ricerca su alcuni tipi di relazioni di amicizia, da cui nasce una nuova capsule collection Animal Spirits.
Aphrodisia è dedicata all’erotica come “arte di intensificare le relazioni e di infiammare corpo e pensiero”. Ogni pezzo costituisce un frammento di una narrazione in cui spazi, ritualità e azioni private appartenenti alla casa diventano occasioni per potenziare il corpo, intensificare relazioni amicali e far esplodere nuove visioni dove l’immaginazione politica si fa atto erotico. Trasformare l’ambiente domestico in un gymnasium -luogo della classicità dedicato all’allenamento fisico e filosofico alla vita pubblica, ma anche ambiente dove coltivare relazioni politiche ed erotiche- è l’obiettivo della linea: intensità, bellezza e narrazione si integrano a vicenda per preparare all’azione.

Ma Aphrodisia è anche un processo, concepito in maniera performativa in modo da iniziare prima dell’oggetto di design e proseguire dopo la fiera, il concept si è articolato contemporaneamente in diversi formati e vari appuntamenti progettuali: da workshop per designer e studenti di accademie alla produzione e diffusione di visual e narrative, dalla direzione creativa di 1/16 di una rivista a talks, lecture e cene, dall’apertura pop-up di un research lab all’interno di festival di cultura visiva, fino alla produzione di design. La produzione di design poggia quindi su una filiera articolata che vede la collaborazione di giovani designer, creativi, cuochi e artigiani, oltre che di un network composto da molti attori culturali.

Il lancio della collezione ad Operae Indipendent Design Festival (Torino) è stato completato da una performance “Erotica is the new politics”, un training per almeno 2 persone guidato da un personal trainer, un’esperienza rituale per iniziare il proprio animal spirit all’erotica dell’azione.
In seguito Aphrodisia ha generato una performance che è anche una cena, dove si parla di erotica, della relazione tra Socrate e Alcibiade, di design e ovviamente di politica: “Amare Alcibiade”.


Erotica: site specific editorial project for Over Magazine, realized in collaboration with IED Torino and edited by Undesign Studio.
photos: art direction Mali Weil
shooting & post-production Anna Donatiello, Alessia Tripodi
wrestlers Simone Fidelbo, Francesca Indelicato
shot in Palazzo Carignano Turin


A wrestling mat inspired by the greco-roman wrestling mat, which transforms the living room into a new space, in which to train your imagination and challenge your limits. A story with the “dazzling light of glory” at its center, like a mirror in which to see your own reflection. An entirely handcrafted product made with a low-warp loom and finished with precious raw copper inserts.

concept, design Mali Weil
development Materia Critica production Manifact Weaving – Isabella Micati + Navarini Rame

virgin wool, copper 225×225 cm

Aphrodisia Circle - handmade tapestry
Animal spirits’ circle from aphrodisia collection. Photo courtesy Mali Weil

“Every firm friendship knows a little bit of conspiracy.”

Conspiracy is a dinner set designed to transform the convivial moment of supper into a symposium, where friendships and diverse political ideas mutually intensify until the point of fury, through the art of conversation. Inspired by Plato’s Symposium, the perfect example of a banquet where eros and politics combine, Mali Weil has designed a universal table utensil that can turn itself into a weapon if necessary.

concept, design Mali Weil
production Fabrizio Baroni + Navarini Rame

copper, tin 27×3,5×2 cm / 37x 4,7×2,8 cm

Conspiracy - Aphrodisia collection - Animal-Spirits
Conspiracy - Aphrodisia collection - Animal-Spirits

Aphrodisia is completed by the lamp Complicity, presented at Milano Design Week 2018 for the first time. It exists as applique, suspension or as abat-jour. The small and versatile abat-jour represents the smallest unit of luminosity. The pivotal element remains the copper circle present in all other items in the collection. In this case it is combined with Murano glass art, strengthening the connection with previous narratives. Heat, energy and conductivity are conveyed through a glowing veinand an excess of light, capturing in copper and glass that moment when individual action reaches its completion and the consequences shine into public space. A triumph of light and color that lets the imagination glow.

concept, design Mali Weil
development Granfo Lampadari
production Nicola Moretti, Navarini Rame
copper, cobalt murano glass, led strip, steel diam. 58 / 18 cm. 8 kg ca.

Complicity light applique- Aphrodisia collection - Animal Spirits
Complicity light applique- Aphrodisia collection - Animal Spirits

Wear intensity and style it as a sign of recognition among animal spirits. An explosion in pure gold, handcrafted, wrapped around the fingers like taping in a light. Along with the jewellery, buyers will receive the .cad le of the product, allowing them to autonomously 3D print up to seven copies, enlarging their circle of animal spirits.

concept Mali Weil
jewel design Matteo Bagna
production Cristino Martinelli

18kt gold or 18kt gold, silver + ruthenium

ring Motherlode by Mali Weil black and gold

Collision is a set of six plant-based cosmetic oils made exclusively for Aphrodisia, in a mixer made from brushed-copper with a marble base. Combining the six oils, each with their own properties, results in exclusive blends suitable for different body parts. The blending goblet is designed to be held in the hand, so that the high thermal conductivity of the copper warms the oil to body temperature. Collision transforms a moment of personal care into a two-person ritual to prepare for action, igniting the body and focusing the mind.

concept, design Mali Weil + Luigi Miori
cosmetic design Luigi Miori
development Materia Critica production Areaderma + Navarini Rame
6 (political) body oils copper, lava or marble tray, cobalt glass bottle copper diam. 12,5 marble tray 22×16,5×3 cm

Collision - Aphrodisia Collection - lava tray
Aphrodisia Collision marble details


food & narrative performance on the figure of Alcibiade

“…and what happens when Eros meet Polis, dear Alcibiades?”

concept Mali Weil
food design Fucina Supper Club, Padova
premiere Venice Design Biennial / fuori Biennale Architettura

relational performance
concept Mali Weil
personal trainers Jozef Gjura, Giulia Mazzarino, Andrea Triaca
premiere Turin, Operae Design Fair – Contemporary Art Week 2017


“Objects and performances meet and collide in these pages as they have been doing for many years, in my work since 2012, when I started to include the design of objects (sometimes in collaboration with other designers) in my performances.
My demon is to strengthen the imaginative capac- ity. It is a matter of making a shift, whose political heart is not only critical or theoretical, but vision- ary. If happiness is found in the dexterity of hands and mind, this shift must also involve the design, the construction and the use of objects. They are always sharp objects, whose edges and sagging shape us in the same way in which we have moulded them, and above all they are able to populate and inhab- it our everyday life.

The Shining Reverie of Unruly Objects (Mali Weil, 2020, Bruno Books Editions Venice) heads into the heart of my relationship with objects and it tries to note down all the voices I hear and I have heard when I questioned those artefacts about my future, and ours.
Can I group those features under the wider name of unruliness?
And go so far as to say that an object is interesting for me when it is unruly?”

Excerpt from The Shining Reverie of Unruly Objects, Mali Weil, 2020

“Oggetti e performance si incontrano e si scontrano da lunghi anni nel mio lavoro. Dal 2012, quando ho iniziato a inserire la progettazione di oggetti (talvolta in collaborazione con altri designer) nella costruzione di performance.
Il mio dèmone è potenziare la capacità immaginativa. Si tratta di operare uno spostamento, il cui cuore politico non è solo critico o teorico ma visionario. Se la felicità è destrezza di mani e di mente, questo spostamento deve investire anche la progettazione, la realizzazione e l’uso di oggetti. Questi corpi sempre appuntiti i cui spigoli e cedimenti ci plasmano tanto quanto noi li abbiamo plasmati, e soprattutto in grado di popolare e abitare la quotidianità.

The Shining Reverie of Unruly Objects (Mali Weil, 2020 editore Bruno Books Venezia) va al cuore di questo mio rapporto con gli oggetti e cerca di trasformare in appunti tutte le voci che sento e ho sentito quando ho interrogato quegli artefatti sul mio e sul nostro futuro.
Posso raccogliere queste caratteristiche sotto la più ampia etichetta di indocilità, e spingermi a dire che per me un oggetto è interessante quando è indocile?”

Estratto da The Shining Reverie of Unruly Objects, Mali Weil, 2020


Aphrodisia arises from the obsession to set on fire the political imagination.
Aphrodisia nasce dall’ossessione di far ardere l’immaginazione politica.