Kartell Goes Bourgie

Schermata 2014-04-04 alle 14.59.26

My new article for COOL HUNTING

Bourgie is certainly one of the most recognizable lamps of the last decade—as well as one of the best sellers for famed Italian brand, Kartell. Designed by Ferruccio Laviani, its baroque allure masterfully meets the simplicity of a pure outline while dignifying plastic as an excellent design material.

The Bourgie is now celebrating its 10th anniversary, and Kartell has made the exciting decision to tap some of the most renowned international designers to re-conceive the lamp in tribute to its lasting design. The upshot is an impressive collection of 14 unique pieces, which will be unveiled in Paris on 23 January 2014, at Kartell’s flagship store. This will be the first in a series of international exhibitions that will go on throughout the year.

The “Kartell Goes Bourgie” project features Philippe Starck, who has gone for a fantastically over-the-top design in which the lamp’s base is almost entirely covered in a cascade of colorful paraphernalia. In contrast, Ludovica+Roberto Palomba reproduced a simple and delicate metallic structure which works with RGB-colored lights that give life to an impressive game of polychromatic shadows.

Some of the designers truly reinvented the Bourgie. Front Design‘s love of fluid and unconventional shapes is expressed by a deformation of a white Bourgie. Mario Bellini added a whole new function to the lamp and turned it into a hanger—complete with an umbrella stand. Patricia Urquiola‘s vision means Bourgie can finally fly and become a ceiling lamp, although created from the same components as the original.

Absolute simplicity is the cue for the reinterpretations realized by Christophe Pillet, Nendo, Tokujiin Yoshioka and Piero Lissoni, while other striking contributions from Alberto Meda, Lenny Kravitz, Eugeni Quitllet, Patrick Jouin and Rodolfo Dordoni will also delight viewers.

“Kartell Goes Bourgie” collection will be unveiled 23 January 2014 at Kartell’s Paris flagship store located at 242 Boulevard Saint Germain.

Kartell: The Culture of Plastics

Kartell-monograph-1-thumb-425x227-54124My new article for Cool Hunting

From the very beginning of Kartell‘s history plastic and design have been the mantra. Founded by Giulio Castelli, a chemical engineer, the Italian furniture brand is the most influential proponent of plastic industrial design, building a sizable following through quality production processes and design contribution by innovative designers. The homes of the 1960s and ’70s were very keen on accepting this experimentation and thus the company grew rapidly. Even though today Kartell is owned and directed by Claudio Luti, the founding ideals remain the same, making a strong argument for the chemical formula of success.

In order to celebrate this tradition Taschen has recently released a substantial, meticulously curated monograph entitled “Kartell: The Culture of Plastics.” The work of editor Hans Werner Holzwarth, professor of visual communications at the Bauhaus University in Weimar, and Elisa Storace, curator of the Kartell Museum, describes in its 400 pages more than 60 years of activity, nine Compasso D’Oro ADI awards and the colorful design icons created by the likes of Gae Aulenti, Joe ColomboPhilippe Starck, Vico Magistretti, Antonio Citterio, Ron Arad, Piero Lissoni, Ferruccio Laviani, Patricia Urquiola, Marcel Wanders and Tokujin Yoshioka, to name a few.

This self-proclaimed “big book of plastics” is strictly organized in chronological order, leading us through the astonishing shapes and space-age aesthetic of the ’60s, the experimentation of the ’70s, the almost subversive style of the ’80s, the “transparent revolution” of the ’90s and the sensorial approach of the last 10 years. Authors of the book include international design experts, museum directors, philosophers, journalists and artists such as Silvana Annicchiarico, Franca Sozzani, Gillo Dorfles, Deyan Sudjic, Chantal Hamaide, R. Craig Miller, Marie-Laure Jousset, Giovanni Odoni.

Kartell: The Culture of Plastics will be published on 1 March 2013 by Taschen in two editions, the first in Italian, Spanish and Portuguese and the second in English, French and German. The historic accuracy is also guaranteed by an index of each product and award. Find it from Taschen directly or pre-order on Amazon for $40.

Flos 50th Anniversary

My new article from Cool Hunting

In its 50-year tenure Flos has truly embodied the spirit of Italian design, serving as a laboratory of experimentation for designers such as Ronan and Erwan BouroullecAchille CastiglioniAntonio CitterioPaul CocksedgeRodolfo DordoniRon GiladKonstantin GrcicPiero Lissoni,Jasper MorrisonMarc NewsonTobia ScarpaPhilippe StarckPatricia Urquiola and Marcel Wanders, just to name a few. Entrepreneurs Dino Gavina, Arturo Eiseinkeil and Cesare Cassina established the brand in 1962 based on the simple values of talent, art and culture, and in 1964 Flos— meaning “flower” in Latin—moved to the Brescia area under the guidance of Sergio Gandini, the visionary who brought in legendary talents like Achille and Pier Giacomo Castiglioni and Tobia Scarpa.

Gandini thus began the brand’s remarkable story of passion, hard work and a near obsessive devotion to experimentation, research and innovation—all of which has been diligently documented in the Flos Historical Archive by Gandini’s wife and the 2011 Compasso d’Oro winner Piera Pezzolo Gandini. With the help of a team of professionals and friends, for the last six years Pezzolo Gandini has undertaken meticulous research, restoration and classification work to bring together prototypes, designs, original drawings, packaging, graphics, advertising, photographs, film clips, books, catalogues, awards and appearances at trade fairs, exhibitions and museums. The archive takes various forms—multimedia, paper and collections of products and objects.

In order to celebrate this important anniversary, Flos is launching an iPad application developed by Mobile Dream Studio. We recently had the chance to preview the app in Milan, and it is not simply a catalogue, but a true journey in the history of design. Sergio and Piera’s son, Piero, the CEO of Flos, collaborated with writer and journalist Stefano Casciani and photographer Ramak Fazel to create a real family history focused on “precision, project and poetry”.

The app—available late April 2012—offers a detailed chronological sequence of facts, full of archived images of the people who started the company, as well as sketches, prototypes, games, products and videos of the production processes.

The Best of Spanish Design

My new article from Cool Hunting.

As evident at the latest Salone del Mobile, Spanish design is becoming increasingly known for turning simple objects into playfully clean shapes suitable for any environment. Below, check out our favorites from the show.

With nearly 50 years of design under their belt, Expormim continues to explore multipurpose furniture with two new inspiring collections. Nieves Contreras‘ Out_line Collection and Javier Pastor’s black and white Nido line work beautifully both indoors and out with their metal framework and airy compositions.

Celebrating its 10th year on the market, Andreu World revisited the classics with the new padded Nanda Comfort Chair by Lievore Altherr Molina Studio, debuting in both leather and fabric versions in Milan.

Lievore, Altherr and Molina also designed the beautiful Woody chair, where new proportions come alive in oak wood.

Once again, the Spanish carpet industry is rich with beautiful surprises. Patricia Urquiola‘s all natural rugs for Gan by Gandia Blasco recently received the Red Dot Design Award for their outstanding quality and innovative design.

Nanimarquina confirmed its aptitude for innovation with the pixilated Digit rug by Cristian Zuzunaga. The vibrant designs add texture and color with their optical patterns, which change in appearance depending on the lighting or time of day.

At SellexMario RuÍz designed the sleek Bildu, a seating system made of a steel structure with inserts of wood and padded fabric.

Jesús Gasca’s Laclásica prototype is remarkable since the concept of the stacking chair is rarely applied to a wooden piece. It’s slated to go into production this September at Stua.

Madrid’s DesigM presented young and experimental designs, like Embalando Lujo’s furniture for Dapefe. The concept takes different styles of old-fashioned furniture, transforming it into a game where the pieces interact with the user for virtually unlimited possiblities.

Love Story by Colectivo Empanadilla makes light of romance with its clever heart-shaped base that turns a candle into a table piece.

I segreti del Signor Rossi


Non conoscevo le scarpe di Gianvito Rossi fino a quando non mi è arrivato l’invito per l’inaugurazione del negozio di via Santo Spirito. Un marchio così, in una via così preziosa rappresenta l’incontro di due segreti, che incarnano perciò la quintessenza dello stile milanese: le cose più belle a Milano sono sotto gli occhi di tutti, ma bisogna saperle vedere, oppure sono ben nascoste e bisogna saperle trovare.

La boutique si trova in un’ala dello splendido Museo Bagatti Valsecchi e ne rispetta la natura, ma giocandoci di continuo. Merito del lavoro di Patricia Urquiola, che ha preso molti pezzi del grande design italiano ma cambiandone colori e natura, come le librerie di De Padova che diventano mensole per le scarpe e le lampade disegnate da Citterio che si tingono di rosa cipria. Un lavoro analogo è stato fatto con lo spazio, mettendo il parquet alle pareti, creando cassettoni che sembrano usciti dal set di Tron ma che dialogano con quelli originali del settecento nelle altre stanze. Tutti le vetrine sono di vetro rosato, leziose e divertenti, attraversate dalle grafiche che continuano le pesanti inferriate, intoccabili. Non era un’operazione facile togliere la pesantezza del passato, dare un valore di design e dare vita ad uno spazio innovativo, ma ci sono perfettamente riusciti.

Anche le scarpe passano di continuo dal classico al futuristico, soprattutto quando si scopre che i sottilissimi sandali hanno la suola in fibra di carbonio. Oppure quando si scopre che il signor Rossi in questione è il figlio di Sergio Rossi, che fa un lavoro consapevole di quello che è il passato del suo nome, ma senza fare il passatista. Per certi aspetti lo stile dei suoi prodotti è ancora acerbo, non ancora abbastanza iconico, ma se le premesse sono queste, allora la strada è aperta in direzione di un futuro ricco di sorprese e bei lavori.