La casa touch

Oggi si parla tanto di touch, ma poco di soft. La mostra La Casa Morbida, voluta da Foscarini e curata da Beppe Finessi, colma questa lacuna.

Il luogo scelto e il tema della mostra creano un’accoppiata più unica che rara. Il Museo Poldi Pezzoli è prima di tutto una casa, ma anche un luogo di collezione ed esposizione di tessuti preziosi e rari. Gran parte dell’esperienza sta nell’attraversare gli austeri luoghi del museo con le sue durezze (marmi, bronzi, stucchi, armature, legno, vetro) e vederli riempiti di mobili imbottiti, tappeti, ricami, lane. Scovando i pezzi della mostra tra i pezzi della collezione si scopre che la scelta è curata all’ossessione, tra oggetti unici o quasi (come il sorprendente “Tappeto Volante” di Ettore Sottsass) e oggetti visti mille volte (ad esempio i “Feltri” di Gaetano Pesce per Cassina), tra essenzialità grafica (il tappeto “Untitled” di Rosemarie Trockel) e iperboli kitsch (la “Piesces Chair” di Carla Tolomeo).

La Casa Morbida di Foscarini non è una smart home: è un abbraccio da abitare. In un’epoca in cui tutti tocchiamo da mattina a sera freddi monitor di vetro, avere a che fare con un tocco caldo e soffice apre il cuore e la mente. Si torna piccoli inventori, si scoprono esperimenti di ogni sorta, si ammirano lavorazioni magistrali, si resta sorpresi dalla semplicità di alcune idee, ci si scopre a violare il “non toccare” che vige nei musei più tradizionali.

La mostra è aperta a Milano, in via Manzoni 12, fino al 5 maggio.

Jean-Marie Massaud for FPM

My new article for Cool Hunting.

Founded back in 1946, FPM-Fabbrica Pelletterie Milano is a leather goods brand that has come back in recent years with new captivating projects, with the mission to work “in the name of movement”. With the aim to connect with the world of design, the brand has released collaborations with worldwide renowned figures such as Stefano GiovannoniMarc Sadler and Marcel Wanders.

FPM’s latest collaboration involves French archistar and designer Jean-Marie Massaud, also known for his previous works with B&B ItaliaAxor HansgroheDiorPoltrana Frau , FoscariniLancôme and Renault.

For FPM he has designed a collection of luggage called Globe, due for release in September 2012. The suitcases come in four sizes and are made of 100% pure polycarbonate. The shapes are a synthesis of function and aesthetics, where the technical solutions serve also as visual marks. We had the chance to meet Massaud for an exclusive interview and a preview of the Globe line.

Could you introduce us to Globe?

This project is a collection of luggage for every kind of situation: it’s lightweight, solid, resistant, efficient, high level in terms of quality and looks. We tried to reduce instead of adding elements, both functionally and visually. As a result it looks like the archetypal professional luggage for photography equipment and electronic devices, but redefined for common use. However, in order to enjoy it you don’t need to carry complicated electronics or optical products. The shape is just a parallelepiped with smooth edges, with the addition of some ribs (two horizontal and two vertical) that give a bit of structure to the luggage.

How did you define the concept?

The request from FPM was to have no design, no fashion references, no special attention to fancy colors. That’s why we chose a dark blue that is very close to black, a deep and intense khaki (to stay away from a strong military feel but to give a neat sense of efficiency), a red which recalls Chinese lacquer and a very light and warm grey. There’s also a special edition in white, just because we like white.

FPM wanted to make an affordable product: it’s the less expensive of the collection but not because we sacrificed on quality. For this same reason we also searched for a permanent basic item, meant to stay in the collection for a long time. It didn’t have to look trendy or fashionable—on the contrary, the focus was a simple shape and a large volume, so that we could invest more in the study of details and mechanical fittings. We didn’t want to have a simple basic article without allure or identity, but something meant to be long-lasting as a collection and—from the consumers’ point of view—able to stand the patina of time.

How was the design process developed?

We have designed every single part of the suitcase in the constant quest of efficiency and lightness. We strengthened the structure of the wheels to protect and make them super strong with reinforced plastic and glass fiber. The zipper and the stitches are clearly visible to show how good they are. It’s a strong piece of luggage—efficient and robust—and it has to look like it.

How is the project going to evolve?

We are planning a constant advancement of the project with new materials and innovative production processes, like different fibers for the shell and vacuum-formed neoprene on the inside. This is just a starting point—that’s why we have thought of a very efficient and gimmick-free volume, where the function is the first thing you can read.

At first glance, the surface could recall a sort of monochrome Mondrian painting. In the future development of the project we foresee adding some pockets, to be placed in the central area defined by ribs. They could be used to place magazines and other flat items, and every customer will have the chance to choose the color, so the suitcase will actually look like an abstract painting. Customization is a clear request from the market—it could be spontaneous (like with souvenir stickers) but we are willing to let people choose some elements of their suitcase.

In this project and in other designs you made sure there’s always a rhythm, a sort of visual melody. Do you have any creative relationship with music?

The first piece I did for an Italian company was the Inout sofa for Cappellini. When the press saw it they wrote it was “minimalistic and organic”. I thought, “I never care about style, I focus on content. I strive to find a symbolic approach in terms of shape, able to express what’s inside.” I was a little upset with this interpretation, but then I realized this is how my work could be read.

In general I don’t like soft lines and shapes, but at the same time I don’t like a Cartesian way of thinking, where it’s nature against culture. I’m happy when I find a sensual and natural contour, that could be originated by mechanic needs but at the same time could be considered as the link between what’s hidden inside and what is visible outside, between meaning and structure. A simple parallelepiped with smooth edges is boring, unless you read smoothness as a quality. I like to create this kind of dialogue, and in music it’s the same.

I’m not a big connoisseur of contemporary music, but I have studied piano and classical music. In music you need structure and rhythm—if you have complete freedom you get lost but if you only have beat, then it’s boring, the sound becomes artificial and rigid. The combination of these tensions, both in music and design, shouldn’t be a compromise but a constant dialogue.

Les Poupées and Vader

My new article for Cool Hunting

Les Poupées marks the first collaboration between Italian designer Luca Nichetto and French gallerist Pascale Cottard Olsson in Stockholm. Combining a ceramic candle holder with a glass vase, each object blends cultural references from the pure lines of Finnish artist and designer Timo Sarpaneva and the colors of Italian maestro Ettore Sottsass to the silhouette of Japanese kokeshi wooden dolls.

Another new project by Nichetto for David Design, presented at the Stockholm Furniture Fair, is Vader, a lamp that experiments with the possibilities of traditional ceramic production, pushing craftsmanship to the limit in order to create a modern design piece. The range of colors has been chosen with Scandinavian culture in mind, but at the same time reflects the designer’s Venetian origins.

We talked to Nichetto about these and some forthcoming projects.

With Les Poupées, you have been able to merge Scandinavian, Japanese and Italian design. Were you interested in highlighting the differences or the similarities between these three design cultures?

I was mainly focused on understanding how, in a global world, the classic cultures of such different countries could be able to give me some elements, to let me create a functional puzzle and generate objects to be sold. When you buy Les Poupées, you hold a piece of my personal point of view on Scandinavian, Japanese and Italian history.

The Vader lamp is tied to a different, more pop inspiration. Was the reference to Star Wars a starting point or just fortuitous?

This is not meant to be a pop project since the allusion to Star Wars is pure coincidence. The initial intuition was a minimal gesture, just two cuts into ceramics. As a result, a functional light object for the space is capable of underlining the quality of the material itself, a quality which relies also on manufacturing.

Can you give us a preview of the projects you are working on?

I’ll unveil several projects during the Milan Design Week, including new collaborations for Cassina and De Padova. I’m still continuing my research process with Established & SonsFoscariniCasamania and Emmegi, but I’ll also be present at Salone del Mobile with small projects for the French editors Petit Friture and La Chance.

Les Poupées are on display at the Hallwyl Museum in Stockholm until 4 March 2012 and sell from Gallery Pascale.

Binic by Ionna Vautrin

My new article from Cool Hunting

Exactly one year ago, Foscarini launched the Binic, a charming little lamp by French designer Ionna Vautrin. With an overarching nautical theme, the name comes from a small lighthouse on the coast of Vautrin’s hometown of Brittany, France and the shape is inspired by the wind sock of a ship.

With its diminutive stature and quirky aesthetic, the Binic still commands a distinct presence on the desktop. The base is in satin aluminum, while the projector is made of glossy polycarbonate, enclosed in a simple inclined screen that gently spreads the light. Made in Italy, the lamp has been a bestseller over the course of the year, not to mention an award-winner—Binic was named “Best Table Light 2011” at the Wallpaper Design Awards.

We caught up with Vautrin to talk about her instantly beloved piece.

Binic is a object that almost becomes a character—was that intentional?

I like the idea of an object that is incarnated, nearly personified. Binic was originally inspired by wind socks but in the process it became more alive. But anyone can find his own personal reference.

You have a very special sensibility for colors, how did that come about?

I don’t know if it’s a special sensibility, but I always had fun working on it. The color is fundamental for a project, it’s not something I would ignore. To me it’s important as the definition of the shape or the choice of materials and finishings.

What other projects are you are working on?

The Cyclope Mirror and the collection of vases have recently been produced by Moustache. Actually I’m working on a few different projects: a collection of bags for Nava Design, some big fabric animals for Kvadrat and a personal exhibition at the Tools Galerie in Paris.

Binic is available in 2,800 design shops and distributed in 88 countries across the world. For more information head to Foscarini online.

Inventario: Everything is a Project

My new article from Cool Hunting.

Inventario: Everything is a Project, a new publication supported and promoted by lighting design company Foscarini, doesn’t just aim to be an alternative to traditional magazine but also puts its own spin on branded content. Conceived and directed by architect Beppe Finessi, the project also has publishing chops with Corraini, one of Italy’s most celebrated book publishers in the field of design, art, illustration and image, stepping in to print it.

Edited like a traditional magazine and shaped as a book, the tri-annual hybrid format is intended to identify and analyze everything that is new, to focus on research and innovation with a 360-degree view on the worlds of creativity, design, architecture and art.

While it’s not your usual house organ, the content works as a mirror of the values and ambitions of Foscarini.

Distributed in bookshops and libraries worldwide, you can also pick Inventario up online for €10.