01 Giugno 2017

DESIGN ICONS: Paola Navone interview


What does it mean to you being a design star?

The job of the designer is to give shape to objects of everyday life. From the spoon to the washing machine. There are endless ways to imagine the shape of things, my way has to do with the simplicity and imperfection of things. When I happen to find the same object in different houses, mixed with things like it was always there, I say, “Look, this is a beautiful piece of design.”

What are the masters to which you referred to in the course of your career?

I studied architecture in Turin but I was attracted to all that creative happening around the world. They were years of great energy and everywhere there were young architects who cultivated the desire to revolutionize the world of design. Unexpectedly at the end of the seventies Alessandro Mendini, who had read my thesis,  called me to the Milan office of “Domus”. With him I met Alessandro Guerriero, the most uninhibited man in the world, a talent catalyst. They were founding the Alchimia studio and inside there were all of them. From Ettore Sottsass to Andrea Branzi. They represented the opposite anti-academic and provocative design in Italy and I was kidnapped from their exciting idea hunting and their utopian and visionary projects. They were great creative talents and for me important masters of life too. They taught to have the courage to experiment, to break the mold. Many instances of that world are still part of my way of being.

Interior design, architecture, ideas, functionality, art, East and West: what is the unifying feature of this multifaceted activity?

I have always been a tireless traveler and I have taken root in many places of the world. From all these places I absorbed like a sponge lots of things that naturally and spontaneously come to the surface in my projects. Each time in a different way and a little magic. For this all my work is unique.
Then there are elements that are always present in my projects, such as simplicity and a touch of irony.

What is the object that has not yet designed, that you would like to design and what is the part of the world you  look at with more interest?

Today I would like to continue to design the interiors of hotels around the world. It gives me a way to tell my idea of temporary hospitality design linked to the simplicity and respect for the tradition of the place. I would love to come back for a while to my Asian roots - perhaps a bit longer than the other ones - and develop new projects related to the incredible savoir faire that is everywhere in that part of the world.

The Rubelli Group represents the high quality of the fabric in Italy and in the world: how do you relate to the two-dimensional graphic of the yarn in the creation of the collections of Dominique Kieffer by Rubelli?

When Niccolò Rubelli asked me to imagine a collection for Kieffer, it was a wonderful surprise.
It was to bring together two worlds: the magic of Rubelli built on a know-how that has roots far back in time and my eclectic and unconventional way of thinking about things. From this strange complicity a first imaginative and multi-colored family of fabrics was born, and it was inspired by the borderless world, able to tell in a somewhat different and informal way the craftsmanship of Rubelli. It was the first chapter of a wonderful adventure that continues to impress us.

What is the fabric for you: canvas, object or emotion?

The fabric is one of "my" materials. I have a passion for natural fabrics regardless of their place of origin, from Indian gauze to blue fabrics of the Tuareg, to the Venetian brocades. I have a fondness for fabrics that tell traditions and savoir faire and it is great to be able to bring into the present the charm that those fabrics tell.

What is the product or collection that your prefer, among those you designed for Gervasoni?

I must say that I am fond of all my projects regardless of the success they have. If I were to speak of a single product, surely the GHOST chair, which today is part of a large and varied family of armchairs, sofas and beds and for me it is a very special item. It is simple and poetic. It has an informal, crumple air making it immediately likeable and familiar. It tells my idea of a bit imperfect beauty. Then it is a transforming object that can have many lives simply by changing dress. So it is fine wherever it is.

About you collaboration with the company Gervasoni, what are you currently working at and what would be the future projects needed to emphasize your collaboration with the Friulian brand?

We have just introduced a new collection of INOUT seats in teak and weaves, with an exotic and natural charm and we are working on a new family of furniture and objects that will be a surprise for the Milan Design Week.

Can you tell us about your business and creative relationship with the company Lando, for which you designed the Gingerbread collection and coordinated the Nuova Falegnameria collection?

I like to say that each one of my project comes from the magic of an encounter. In this case the meeting from which were born the collections was with the wonderful quality of solid wood processing that belongs to the tradition of Lando. Objects with a domestic yet unexpected and magic charm took life. They were Poetically inspired by forms of the past but "contaminated" by details and contemporary works.


Published on WWTS LIFE 14