Piero Lissoni, the Italian architect, furniture, and product designer, was in town this week for ICFF and AN had a chance to sit down with him in his SoHo office to discuss his career, why Italian product design leads the world, and why Phi-3.14 is still key to all design. Lissoni has worked for nearly every important Italian and international design brand but emphasizes that he is first an architect and secondarily a product designer. When I asked him about his (and Italy’s) success as a world leader in design, without hesitation he pointed to the educational system in Italy. Lissoni studied architecture at the Polytechnic University of Milan, which, he emphasizes, is not like so many Anglo-Saxon universities “a scientific” or technical university but a “humanistic” one that also teaches drawing, art, geography, history, and the importance of 3.14, the “Greek magic number.” He believes Phi and classical proportion is the “key” to good design and points to Hudson Yards as a “totally inhuman” alien environment because of its disconnection from scale and proportion. As a current faculty member at the Polytechnic, Lissoni still teaches hand drawing, physical model building, and not “just information,” but “the culture behind the profession.” When Lissoni graduated from the Polytechnic, he worked for several years in architecture firms in Milan, Paris, Amsterdam, and Tokyo, but when he was “still very young” Boffi, the Italian kitchen manufacturer, picked him to be the firm’s “art director.” This role meant he was a “working intellectual” inside the office working across divisions to help design-direct all communications, advertising, catalogues, and trade show booths. This position at Boffi gave him a great education into the business of design and in 1986, together with Nicoletta Canesi, he founded the interdisciplinary studio Lissoni Associati in Milan. The firm opened a New York office in 2015, and Lissoni, looking for an inspirational break, will spend next fall in New York. From his SoHo office he will direct the architecture, product design, and graphic identities that the firm is working on in nearly every continent. It is one of the most successful design firms in the world, and it will be great to have the maestro in New York.
Posts tagged with "Piero Lissoni":
With the opening of OMA’s Torre for Fondazione Prada, tours of midcentury Villa Borsani, and (a few days late to the Design Week party and thus not included here) the completion of Zaha Hadid Architects’ Generali Tower, Milan Design Week 2018 was exceptionally steeped in architecture. There was the usual abundance of collaborations with architects, such as Alejandro Aravena for Artemide, John Pawson for Swarovski, and David Rockwell’s The Diner with Cosentino and Design Within Reach, but it was the host of architectural installations and interventions that took it over the top. Here are ten memorable architectural moments of Milan Design Week 2018. Garage Traversi The rationalist 1938 Garage Traversi in Milan’s Montenapoleone District received a facade makeover by Studio Job for Milan Design Week. The Pop Art mural comes in advance of the building’s renovation into a “luxury hub” by British private equity fund Hayrish. The reinforced concrete building, originally designed by architect Giacomo de Min, sits on an odd lot, leading to it being built like a fan and resulting in its popularity. The iconic building has been unused for 15 years, but has retained its reputation as a cultural and architectural landmark. U-JOINT PlusDesign Gallery hosted an immensely satisfying architectural exhibition on joints. The group show offered joints of all sizes, materials, and shapes to demonstrate its importance in objects and buildings alike. Over 50 designers, studios, and research institutes, including Alvar Aalto, Aldo Bakker, Edward Barber & Jay Osgerby, Konstantin Grcic, Jonathan Nesci, Cecilie Manz, Self-Assembly Lab MIT, and Jonathan Olivares, displayed prototypes and products. My Dream Home by Piero Lissoni “My Dream Home,” an installation by Piero Lissoni, stacks twelve shipping containers vertically to host an exhibition by photographers Elisabetta Illy and Stefano Guindani of photos taken in Haiti alongside drawings by Haitian children of their dream homes. Lissoni chose to build with containers as an inexpensive, sustainable option that could potentially be used for multi- and single-family homes in Haiti. Altered States Snarkitecture is no stranger to Milan Design Week installations. For its most recent, the firm partnered with Caesarstone to create “Altered States” inside the 19th-century Palazzo dell'Ufficio Elettorale di Porta Romana. The installation examined water in its three forms (ice, liquid, steam/vapor) and the way it appears in nature (glacier, river, geyser) through a collection of kitchen islands made from Caesarstone’s quartz surface material. Villa Borsani In advance of an exhibition curated by Norman Foster and Osvaldo Borsani’s grandson, the Villa Borsani opened to visitors after being newly decorated by curator Ambra Medda, who collaborated with various artists to bring in floral arrangements, scents, and a playlist that enliven the midcentury villa. James Wines X Foscarini James Wines/SITE collaborated with Foscarini to make the “Reverse Room,” a slanting black box that houses a limited edition set of lights called "The Lightbulb Series." Wines relied on his research on subconscious spatial expectations to keep visitors constantly surprised. “This series comes from the idea of disrupting the classic design of incandescent light bulbs,” Wines said in a statement. “An idea that suggests a critical reflection on the absolutely non-iconic forms of modern LED lamps. The concept, implemented by Foscarini, stems from research on the spontaneous way people identify with forms and functions of everyday objects. In this case, the light bulbs merge crack, shatter, and burn out, overturning any expectations.” Fondazione Prada On April 18, the Fondazione Prada completed the latest, and last, building in its 200,000-square-foot Milan complex. Torre, designed by Rem Koolhaas, Chris van Duijn, and Federico Pompignoli of OMA, is wrapped in white concrete and nearly 197 feet tall. This form offers a two-fold experience: From the exterior, the spare, modern block contrasts with the more ornate buildings of the campus (the Italianate-style entry building, gold-painted tower, and the mirror-clad theater, among others) and from the interior, sweeping views of the surrounding industrial neighborhood. At the back of the building, an exterior elevator core is intersected by a diagonal form that connects the Torre to the adjacent Deposito gallery. The elevator's interior is painted an electrifying hot pink, framing the panorama of the campus in madcap fashion. The gallery's floors, currently occupied by the exhibition Atlas, are similarly eclectic. Floor plans alternate between trapezoidal and rectangular and the ceiling heights increase from about 9 feet on the first floor to 26 feet on the top floor, with glowing pink staircases in between. Even so, the space complements rather than competes with massive, immersive installations from heavy-hitting artists such as Damien Hirst and Jeff Koons. (Although the maze-like entrance to Carsten Höller's Upside Down Mushroom is so dark, this writer ran into a wall.) 3D Housing 05 Massimiliano Locatelli | CLS Architetti collaborated with Arup, Italcementi, and Cybe to 3-D print a 1,076-square-foot house on-site. The house, located in front of the Piazza Cesare Beccaria, demonstrated that 3-D printing could be used as a sustainable and feasible construction method. The house was 3-D printed from a recycled concrete that, in the event the house is destroyed, could be reused to make a new structure. Lexus Design Award This year marked two firsts for the 2018 Lexus Design Award (LDA) Grand Prix Winner: It was the first time an American design team took home the prize, and the first time a workshop, rather than a product, won. New York design research studio, Extrapolation Factory, “studies the future” and helps communities create and experience their cities’ futures through workshops and activities. “We all have a vested interest in the future. But how many people have taken a class in futures?” asked Extrapolation Factory cofounder Elliott P. Montgomery. “We’ve had classes in history, math, science, but we are never taught how to think about the future. And this seems like a glaring omission in our country’s education.” Montgomery and his cofounder Christopher Woebken conducted a workshop at the Queens Museum and presented a video alongside a few props as their LDA presentation. The unusual urban planning project garnered praise for its focus on community and its exploration of society, technology, and environment. “It’s completely different than the other participants because it isn’t product-based. It is about education and using design as a way to engage with people, and given the context of the theme, CO-, we felt that was incredibly important,” said Simone Farresin of Formafantasma, who mentored the Extrapolation Factory for the LDA. MINI Living House London-based architecture firm Studiomama created four modular co-living spaces for MINI. Each module had its own color and built-in furniture “totems” that distinguish the space’s personality. The four units share communal spaces, including a kitchen (shown above), a dining area, a gym, and home theater space.
AN editors swept and tweeted through the exhibit halls of the venerable Salone del Mobile last week, as well as the myriad satellite design events, exhibits, and installations that popped up around Milan. Footsore but aesthetically satiated, the AN team has reassembled stateside to share some of the best finds from the fair. Casamania Color Fall A lacquered, digital print enlivens the interior of the shelves, which are constructed of humble MDF. Designed by Garth Roberts. Cassina 9 Tables Marble base in black or white, with tops of aluminum, marble, or painted mirror glass. Designed by Piero Lissoni. Cappellini Lotus De Luxe Available with or without castors and/or arms, this chair is suitable for residential and office use. Wooden frame with molded polyurethane cushions covered in fabric or leather. Designed by Jasper Morrison. Viccarbe Trestle Solid oak legs are topped by padded or smooth upholstery. Seating modules are 60 inches in length; up to three benches can be seamlessly joined together. Designed by John Pawson. Cristalplant Slide Towel Shelf A polished aluminum loop slides up or down to both hold and hang bath towels. Designed by Cory Grosser. Poliform Web Bookcase Fabricated of Dupont Corian, this shelving unit is as much sculpture as it is storage. Designed by Daniel Libeskind. Kartell Uncle Jim Demonstrating the current limits of injected polycarbonate fabrication, this single-piece chair comes in four transparent colors. Designed by Philippe Starck.
If design is all about the details, Alessi has developed a successful formula for making thoughtful, fresh, and functional objects that delight design lovers worldwide. A new roster of architects and industrial designers have contributed sleek new accessories and decorative wares for the Autumn/Winter 2013 collection across the Alessi, Officina Alessi, and A di Alessi collections. AN got a first look at Toyo Ito's newest tablewares, Mario Trimarchi's jewelry, and much more. Alice by Odile Decq This year marks the French architect and designer's first collaboration with Alessi Officina. Her angular serving tray plays on tradition with a planar twist from corner to corner that appears to originate at varying perspectives. It's available in black (shown) or mirror-polished stainless steel. Birillo by Piero Lissoni Alessi's first collection for the bathroom has been enhanced with a gray color offering and five new items: a tissue holder, toilet roll holder, liquid soap dispenser, bathroom container with a lid, and a soap holder for the shower and bath. The elliptical form features a concealed bottom for a weightless appearance. KU by Toyo Ito Pritzker Prize-winning architect Toyo Ito first designed his KU tableware collection in 2006 to suit the Japanese portion palette, and has recently modified the series for the Western market. The 2013 update features a larger soup dish and oval serving tray that maintains accord with the the full set, from serving dishes to coffee cups. Vieni via con me and Maestrale by Mario Trimarchi Trimarchi has broadened his La Stanza dello Scirocco collection of stainless steel decorative objects and accessories with two new pieces of jewelry. The ring and cuff bracelet's design emulates cards fluttering in the wind and can be adjusted for custom sizing. MamiXL by Stefano Giovannono Originally released in 2003, Giovannono's collection of glassware and stemware has been updated to today's serving size standards, inspired by the dimensions of current wine tasting glasses. Vessels for several varietals of wine, water glasses, decanters, and tumblers are all made from crystalline glass.