He loves good food and beautiful design, and enjoys life as it unfolds day by day. It’s no wonder that the respected actor Mario Adorf insisted on visiting this year’s Ambiente. Our partner country Italy is Adorf’s second home, and the main attraction was: la dolce vita.
The real Italy
‘Design made in Italy’ was at the heart of this year’s Ambiente. What a great opportunity for German actor Mario Adorf, who himself is half-Italian, to visit Frankfurt and see the new ideas and old favourites his compatriots have to offer. He explains the fascination with la bella Italia: “It’s such an easy way of existence, living with beautiful things, a gift for enjoying what is generally called ‘la dolce vita’: that’s what people all over the world love about Italy.” Indeed the actor, who has lived in Rome for over 40 years, embodies the quintessential Italian with his laid-back appearance and nonchalant yet perfect his dress sense. This is especially true of his eating habits: “I eat almost exclusively Italian food. My favourite is fish in a salt crust. And I take pleasure in my daily espresso and glass of red wine, albeit in moderation because of my age.” There must be something in the Italian lifestyle, for it’s hard to believe Mario Adorf is 85. His old friend, film diva Sophia Loren, once ascribed her good looks to eating pasta every day. “Well if Sophia says so, it must be true.”
Mario Adorf takes a ‘viaggio culinario’ through the halls of the trade fair, visiting exhibitors such as porcelain manufacturer Richard Ginori, traditional cookware maker Ballarini, and Bialetti, inventor of the cult stovetop coffee pot. Our star of stage and screen also inspects the special presentation from our partner country. He loves Paola Navone’s idea of staging Italian design against the backdrop of a huge green, white and red table. “Cooking and the joy of sharing food with others is a big part of my life”, Mario Adorf explains. He reminds us it wasn’t until the 1950s and 60s that Italians here in Germany opened restaurants late in the evening, so there was somewhere to eat after the cinema or a concert. Although the actor’s love of beautiful items from Italy is firmly focused on his stomach, he’s drawn to one design icon in particular: a red Vespa with white polka dots and a green saddle. It is an iconic Italian design, and this one usually lives in the Piaggio Museum. “When I was young, I preferred Italian sports cars. Only the paparazzi rode scooters.”
Design classics are never out of fashion
Just like the Vespa, with its eternally waspish curves. Or the ‘Moka’, the aluminium coffee pot with a look that remains virtually unchanged and is present in all good Italian homes. And indeed like much Italian porcelain and glassware. With a centuries-long manufacturing tradition, Italian design stands for an elegant, timeless style that is never out of fashion. “It’s like our Italian sign language,” says Mario Adorf with a smile. He demonstrates how to show something is delicious, with your finger on your cheek, and how a disparaging stroke under your chin shows you’re not interested. This communication system has emerged over generations. That also applies to many design classics: they remain evergreen because their look and practicality are bound together in perfect harmony. Quality to last a lifetime, instead of throwaway consumption: that’s this actor’s motto. He sees this reflected in Italian cuisine, fashion and design. Adorf sums it up nicely: “La dolce vita is a mood, a lust for life, which nobody can resist.” He points his fingers upwards in a typical gesture as he asks: “And why would they?”