Sergio Rossi FW 2016/2017

“My shoes are Rossi, Sergio Rossi”. Here’s what we could be saying next winter.

The FW 2016/2017 collection designed by Angelo Ruggeri is almost completely black and clearly inspired by secret agents, spies, soldiers and trekkers.

This is going to be the perfect line of accessories for a charming man in need to go to an exclusive party, run away, fight, catch an helicopter jumping from the terrace, climb a mountain, kill the evil guy and then lay in front of a fireplace.

Maybe this is not daily life, but for many a daily dream.

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Paula Cademartori SS 2016

With the current SS collection Paula Cademartori is showing that she’s not just an “emerging designer” anymore, but a full grown-up creative and entrepreneurial mind.

Bags, shoes and small leather accessories are slowly and inexorably creating a real fashion world, ready to be expanded in several directions. Her vision is clear and her approach is that of an established brand.

It’s not anymore just about color and fun, but here we’re seeing style, class, elegance, irony, something pretty rare and unusual in the landscape of young fashion.

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Making Louboutin

A few months ago I was in Naples for a rare occasion to visit one of the factories that make men’s shoes for Christian Louboutin. I love to witness the making of things, in particular when it comes to handmade stuff.

In the past few days the official Louboutin Homme Instagram account is showcasing some of the pics I took at the factory. Seeing those wise hands at work, in the act of transforming those precious materials into pure beauty, makes me live once again those wonderful days. And understand why #CLLovesNapoli.

If this is not enough and you want to read the full story I wrote for Cool Hunting, just follow this link.

FULL of nice stuff

In questo momento, FULL è sicuramente il più interessante negozio di abbigliamento maschile a Milano. Ricerca, prezzi accessibili, molti marchi nordici, qualche bestseller (ma in edizione limitata), rarità varie: questi gli ingredienti del bellissimo mix di marchi che Luca e Eugenio (con la direzione creativa di Simone) hanno scovato in giro per il mondo. Un luogo piccolo piccolo da cercare, da trovare, da scoprire, in cui passare un po’ di tempo a provare, curiosare con calma.

Milan in B&W

In questi giorni la luce a Milano è magnifica…

Lasvit

Lasvit-nova-bor-paolo-4-thumb-620x413-56757My latest article for Cool Hunting

We were recently invited by lighting specialists Lasvit to visit their production sites in Nový Bor, a small town north of Prague in the Czech Republic. We visited two different plants, met designers Maurizio Galante and Arik Levy, and previewed their products that will debut at Milan Design Week. During the trip, we had the chance to see glassmakers using breath and gravity in the perfection of their craft.

The first location was a traditional furnace in the middle of the Bohemian woods where dozens of men work glass in an incredibly hot environment. At the center, the main ovens kept melted glass at 1400º C. Divided in groups of three—one master glassblower and two assistants—craftsmen work at high speeds, rough and elegant at the same time, quickly extracting fragments of melted glass that is then put into wooden moulds and blown with the force of lungs. In a series of choreographed gestures, the artisans reenact an ancestral way of relating to matter. Here we saw the production of Jar, a new lamp designed by Arik Levy.

The second plant was completely different, with the environment of a futuristic white laboratory. Every step of production was more contemporary, and the name of the place itself, Kolektiv, indicated that this was a collaborative effort among young people specialized in fusing, painting, grinding and engraving. In a place meant to innovate in the art of glassmaking, we saw Maurizio Galante’s Plisse brought to life.

During this intense day, suspended between a primitive past and a futuristic modernity, we had the chance to talk with both Levy and Galante about their respective projects for Lasvit.

Galante, Italian-born and now based in Paris, is one of the elite few fashion designers working in the world of haute couture. In recent years he has branched out to create everything from furniture, lighting and audio systems, working with companies such as Baccarat and Chopard, to stamps for La Poste France. HisTattoo poufCanapé Cactus and Louis XV Goes To Sparta (designed in collaboration with Tal Lancman for Cerruti Baleri) have rapidly become contemporary design icons.

For Lasvit Galante has created Plisse, a lamp that unites the softness of fabrics with the delicacy of glass, transforming the ruffles that define his fashion into a new glass concept.

How was this project born?

This project was created with the intention of combining what I’ve always done and continue to do in the fashion with the craftsmanship of glassmaking. The initial idea was to put movement into solid things. I like the idea that the movement could also be transferred to more rigid objects of completely different worlds, such as jewelry and glass.

Before doing the project, had you seen the production? Did you know already the techniques and limitations you were supposed to consider?

When I first visited the furnace and the company, I studied what Lasvit had done before and tried to become part of the collection—all with something that did not exist, something new that was mostly mine. My fashion is very built, very architectural, so it was easy enough to be able to find a meeting point. It’s haute couture that I do; there is so much craft, which is also abundant in the work of Lasvit.

In your atelier stimuli arrive from all over the world—do you feel that you behave as an interpreter who then revises it all in a personal way?

This is what happens during a journey. Sometimes you have a vision or discover something unexpected. For example, the first time I came to Nový Bor, I realized that they work glass in a different way compared to how it’s done in Venice, in different spaces, with different possibilities. So I tried to put together all these points with lines and to provide new answers and do something interesting.

Did you bring Paris to the Czech Republic?

Lasvit is fully projected outward with respect to what is seen here. I tried to make Plisse an “ambassador,” an object able to tell who made it and where it comes from. Undoubtedly there is also a lot of my work here, where I’m from, what I do, France, Italy. But above all there are the emotions, which are the key to my work. Today we do not need anything. What we lack, however, are objects that give us some kind of pleasure.

We have seen in production that the modules of Plisse are born small and then are welded, almost “sewn” together, with a technique that is very reminiscent of fashion. At the same time, the project is highly modular, with a logic closely linked to industrial design. Was this project is born with the ambition to become a family of products?

Undoubtedly, every time you give birth to a creature you want it to have a history and a long life. This idea of modules that can expand and multiply like a virus is part of this logic. In Milan Plisse will be presented on a long wall, but we also imagine to use it on ceilings, to give the impression of living in a seabed, under algae or under the ice.

The glass elements of Plisse are born flat, placed on specially made ceramic curved surfaces, then melted in an oven until you get to their final curved shape. It looks like an ironing process, another component derived from fashion.
Plisse will be presented white and clear—are there planned evolutions in the project through color?

I’d love to work with color shades, from light to dark, which could give the idea of something that lightens up. With glass you can do it.

Artist, filmmaker, photographer and designer Arik Levy was born in Tel Aviv and now lives in Paris. His work is based on a strict relationship between objects and functionality, art and design, technology and nature, surface and colors.

Jar is the new lamp he conceived for Lasvit, a very flexible and open project that is mainly meant for public spaces. Even though it is completely handmade in the most traditional furnaces of Nový Bor, there’s a very clear and strong digital allure. In fact the presentation of this collection will be based on the RGB color model, allowing users to create an interesting range of combinations. At the factory, we discussed with Levy the origin and the evolution of his new piece.

You say that you want to create “ego-friendly” objects. What does that mean exactly?

Ego-friendly is my motto. It means that I create the tools, and the architects, the interior designers or the owners can interpret them and build what they like. Surprisingly enough, when you design objects and you see them not the way you did them exactly—not the way you choose the colors, not the exact finishings—in many cases you have interesting surprises. I remember when I started 20 years ago I was making lights from cardboard. I sent my mother a light and to protect it I packed it with plastic mesh. I traveled to Israel a few months later and I discovered she left it with the mesh, turned the light on and it looked amazing. For me it was a part of packaging, for her it was the lamp: this is ego-friendly.

What about the aspect of color? You went for a RGB color palette, a very basic solution that, depending on how you combine the single elements, can create almost every color.

It’s a basic solution for an endless number of interpretations. I think that color is a question of personal taste; anyone can tell me what’s a beautiful color to them. I think it’s a great possibility to give color variations and a wide range for people to use. If the concept of the light of the object is color-free, then it works in almost every color. If a Ferrari is put in pink it doesn’t work. It is important and relative to integrate that thought about the color potential within the design. Jar is about how the the colors interact with each other with see-through effects and with the light, both natural and artificial.

The shape of Jar is very iconic, clean and may recall the shape of a glass bottle. Was that the starting point?

Actually this configuration seems but doesn’t have the proportions of a bottle. For me it’s a little more technical and sharp, more like a gas cylinder or a diving tank.

Why did you choose such delicate and pale shades to present at Salone in Milan?

I wanted it to be see-through. I like it when it’s lit but also when it’s not. The object benefits from the surroundings and changes according to the background. If you have a red wall or a Malevich painting, that shines through the piece and creates a new shade.

There’s a very famous book by Leo Lionni called “Little Blue and Little Yellow.” Jar is not really homage to the book, but it’s a sort of primitive but very intelligent primal understanding of what the eye would see, understand and benefit. I wanted that level of sophistication, without powerful opaque colors, that if the environment changes, they don’t change. It’s like a rainbow: it’s transparent, but all the colors are there. There’s a sensation of magic in it, it’s there without being there.

And we come back to the idea of ego-friendly, since there’s more room for interpretation. We are more than open to personalizations. I would love to have someone who wants only olive green or orange or whatever, or different color appearances, or someone who wants to open a restaurant and only create gradients from black to white. I’ve just created the toolbox for people to use and I think that people could take this opportunity.

Torre David / Gran Horizonte

My new article for Cool Hunting

Torre David is an abandoned 45-story skyscraper located in Caracas, Venezuela. After the death of the developer in 1993 and the collapse of the Venezuelan economy a year later, the office tower was almost complete, but the construction was suddenly and inexorably interrupted. Today Torre David is a real vertical slum occupied by a community of more than 750 families. The residents of the tower have spontaneously created a sort of city within a city with areas for sports, leisure, worship and meetings—an extra-legal community whose organization has been studied by Alfredo Brillembourg and Hubert Klumpner, along with research and design teams at Urban-Think Tank and ETH Zürich.

The exhibit Torre David / Gran Horizonte is one of the most incredible surprises at this year’sArchitecture Biennale in Venice. It wasn’t by chance that this project was awarded with the Golden Lion for the Best Project of the Common Ground Exhibition, the true core of the Biennale curated by David Chipperfield.

In the Venetian exhibit and in their book Torre David: Informal Vertical Communities (due to release October 2012), Brillembourg and Klumpner analyze this reality and other similar informal settlements, coming up with concrete ideas for sustainable interventions aimed to transform and take these places back to the urban landscape.

The center of the exhibition is far from a didactic space. The fully functioning arepa restaurant, Gran Horizonte, acts as a traditional place to eat and create community, like those created by the inhabitants of Torre David. The exhibit also displays some breathtaking pictures by Iwan Baan that describe the thin line between everyday life and this one-of-a-kind situation, where despair and beauty coexist in every shot. The Common Ground Exhibition runs through 25 November 2012 at La Biennale.

Image courtesy of the U-TT Archives and Daniel Schwartz.

Marni Chairs and L’arte del Ritratto

My new article from Cool Hunting

Unveiled in a flurry of buzz at the 2012 Salone del Mobile, Marni has created a collection of 100 colorful wicker chairs made by ex-convicts in Colombia re-assimilating into social and professional life. The chairs are constructed from metal frames with multi-colored PVC threads woven around the seat backs and armrests. The style of seat is traditionally Colombian, updated with Marni‘s reinterpretation of the woven pattern to create totally new color variations in line with the Milanese fashion house. They’ve also added small tables to go alongside the chairs either indoors or out.

Along with the new line of furniture, Marni presents “L’arte del ritratto” (The Art of Portraiture), a project by photographer and filmmaker Francesco Jodice featuring portraits of the chairs with Marni employees, technicians, craftsmen and collaborators. During Salone we caught up with Carolina Castiglioni, daughter of Marni founder and designer Consuelo Castiglioni, and the house’s director of special projects, to learn more about the project.

How long has Marni been involved with other forms of design?

This is the third year we are presenting at Salone del Mobile, but each time we have come with a totally different project. For 2012, since we are a small family company, we loved the idea of portraying people as a family in one big picture in a charity context. The day of the shooting felt like a day off: we had fun. After each shot, Francesco Jodice asked us to freeze for one minute, during which he was filming, creating a living picture, which now is projected on the façade of the store.

Are you working on design projects for the future?

Not for now, but we have recently opened a store in the Meatpacking District in New York for the Marni Edition, a slightly less expensive line. This is a new design concept for us, since everything inside of the space is mobile and transformable, and it showcases work of artists we love.

In the coming months, the exhibition of photographs and objects will be hosted in Marni boutiques worldwide, together with new portraits of members of the Marni team from around the world. The revenues from the sale of chairs will be donated to the ICAM Institute of Milan, a project whose aim is to help children of imprisoned women to grow up in a family environment.

Urban Italy

My new article from Cool Hunting.

Founder of the successful architecture tourism site Viaggi di Architettura, South African-born Mikaela Bandini recently expanded her scope with Urban Italy—a new website devoted to travel, design and the discovery of an alternative Italy in all forms. With a clear goal to help people discover something new and surprising, Bandini tells CH the story of the project in an exclusive interview.

How did the idea of Urban Italy come about?

My day job over the past 12 years has been creating contemporary architecture tours around the world for Italian professionals and architecture lovers for Viaggi di Architettura.

It’s what I do. It’s what I love doing. Scouting for information, contacts and spaces that you don’t get in a cheesy guide book off the shelf. After putting together over 50-plus itineraries worldwide I decided to create a guide-blog for foreign archinauts and design-aholics who want an alternative approach to Italian cities.

[It’s for] people like me who are on the lookout for great design deals, new industrial spaces, cutting edge architecture and souvenirs that don’t necessarily fit into your suitcase as well as the people who really rock the country.

The project is based on your personal experience or on a team?

I like to consider Urban Italy a kind of 2.0 version of my Moleskines—basically Italy the way that I’d like to see it (after having lived here for 20-odd years).

The project started as a personal collection of contemporary addresses and insider information from the tip to the toe (literally!) that I gathered while traveling around for architecture, food, interiors and pathological modernist furniture-collecting. Then I asked a handful of foreign friends around the country to give me their ‘best of’ to have a wider coverage of things to do and places to go. There are currently five of us working on the project, all foreigners living in Italy.

We begin the second phase of the project in spring with young Dutch film maker Caspar Diederik, who’ll be doing 2.0 storytelling about people and places around the country.

Are the Italian contemporary cities very different from the postcard-like Italy that many people expect?

We’re looking at a rather more contemporary Italy, which appeals to the kind of traveler who doesn’t collect Hard Rock t-shirts. Stuff like ex-industrial sites that have been transformed into something new, exciting spaces for arts and theater, the latest hot spots for an aperitivo, urban eateries, events, products and people. Not exactly the stuff you get on a postcard.

Then again our readers send Tweets, not postcards.

La Rinascente Design Supermarket

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My new article from Coolhunting.com

The Design Supermarket, a new floor entirely devoted to design in its multiple expressions, debuted recently as part of Milanese shopping icon La Rinascente’s ongoing renovation. Over the past four years, international architects and designers such as Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands, Cibic & Partners, Dordoni Architetti, Vincent Van Duysen and Future Systems, have been transforming the seven-floor department store with the basement-level design shop as the latest facet of its reinvented identity.

Directly linked to the nearby Duomo metro station, the new space houses a wide range of products from microelectronics to lighting, technological gadgets to office accessories and kitchen and tableware to small pieces of furniture. Starting with objects for just a few Euro to several hundreds, the range of prices makes the store the perfect place for both a little souvenir and important gifts.

Claudio Silvestrin Giuliana Salmaso Architects designed the 2,000 square-meter space, which creates the contemporary equivalent of a city square. The perimeter hosts various shops within the shop, including Alessi, Conran Shop, Kartell, Georg Jensen, Tumi, Samsonite and Nespresso, while long white stands run along the center. The display closely recalls a museum, with hundreds of objects from more than 200 different brands.

Overall, the boutique feels airy and bright, inviting browsers to touch and experiment with all the objects, like in a real supermarket. In the center of the floor, a colorful and cozy cafeteria designed by Martino Berghinz stands in contrast with the rest of the space, lending a bold splash of purple and dark grey with furnishing and fifties-inspired graphics.