We spoke to Marcel Wanders and talked about this new project, his love for Italy and how to find out the real projects at Salone
Safilo, the historical company in the optical frames and homonymous brand of Safilo Group, in occasion of the 2016 Milan Design Week is presenting an exclusive eyewear collection created by the renowned designer Marcel Wanders. Comfortable and lightweight, these metal frames are available in a variation of colours, including royal blue, clover green, merlot red, midnight black and amethyst purple. These tones contrast with the patterned engraved metal (in golden, champagne, gun or chrome) on the inside of the frame.
We spoke to Marcel Wanders and talked about this new project, his love for Italy and how to find out the real projects at Salone.
How did you get in contact with Safilo?
It was their idea to contact me and do a collaboration. To me it was great, since I like to work with companies who I can really respect for their professional qualities, values and story.
Do you prefer to work on large scale objects or small scale objects like this one?
If you do a project you do a project. If we do that, we try to make the project really interesting and so it’s not about scale. I believe the project is only interesting if it arrives at the heads and at the hearts of people.
We try to work with companies who really want to do something. If a company just wants us to change the cap of a pen we just don’t do it. We want to do the whole project. Sometimes it’s a small thing, sometimes it’s super big, but it’s always a real thing. A few years ago in Milan we made an exhibition with a big bell and other big things, but there was also a cabinet with little objects and of course lot of people just had not seen them, but they were there. Size is just one of the elements of design.
What’s your relationship with Italian production and mentality?
If a grandfather has two little boys he could ask “What do you want to become?”. Then one says “I want to become an artist” and the other says “I want to become a lawyer”. All around the world he would be happier about the one wanting to become a lawyer, but in Italy it’s the other way around. In Italy I think the value of art and creation is the highest thing, people think highly of it and so there is a real respect for the detail, because it is essential to the design. People in Italy really understand it, more than other cultures. There is a fantastic respect and understanding that all the details they count, they’re all important. That is something very unique, something Italian, and it is clear that also in this project was absolutely important.
The Safilo collection by Marcel Wanders has an inside and an outside part. How was the concept born?
The beauty of this object is all around, but there is also a kind of finesse and refinement, decor and detail, something exuberant and special that we really wanted to put in this piece. We thought it was better not to put it outside but inside, to put it in a place where it’s more intimate, where you are decorating your life without spoiling the life of other people.
It’s a little bit like wearing lingerie. You wear it because you like it, which doesn't mean you have to show it off all the time. You can maybe show a little bit, a strap, a detail, but you wear it for yourself. There’s a little bit of this surprise in the piece, a surprise you can notice if you look from behind. You don’t push it into someone’s face, but they might see it. It’s not completely hidden but it’s not so in the face. It’s this intimacy which I really like about it and I hope people feel the same.
What do you expect from Milan Design Week 2016?
Many years ago I met this journalist at the fourth day of Salone and she was like: “I saw nothing new, this is a really bad year”. I was annoyed because I was presenting something myself and I said to her: “There is about 7000 creatives in Europe who happen to work their butt off all year. They have made everything, they have given their heart to creating something. They take their truck, they bring their work to Italy, they put a lamp on it, they invite you, they pour champagne in your glass and you think they would sent invites out if they didn’t know they made something interesting?. You might have to look in a place which is different than last year, but it is your job to find good projects”.
This is also how I go to the fair: it is super exciting and there is great work. You have to just find it. You have to understand that it might be in a different place than yesterday, but that’s the most exciting part of it. I’m sure there will be super exciting things in Milano!
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