Small Talk with Italian masters

Let's talk with Rossana Orlandi and Giulio Cappellini.

This past weekend, in Paris, we toured through Maison & Object. It is one the most important design events in the world featuring more than 85,000 visitors and 3,000 brands all displaying the latest trends. During this years edition Italy was spectacularly involved.

Every year, a country is invited as guest of honour. This year Italy was the chosen for its worldwide known design heritage and therefore 6 Italian rising talents were nominated to present their collections. The art direction was curated by 6 Italian masters, among them Rossana Orlandi and Giulio Cappellini with whom we had a chance to talk to in the cosmopolitan French capital. This is what we found out from them.

What is different this year compared to the other editions?
: It´s more interesting, I haven´t attended Maison & Object for the last 5 years, and this year it´s been a fabulous surprise because I witnessed a total change, much more interesting, beautiful presentations, it’s amazing. I´m really excited.

What can you say about the nominees for the Rising Talents?
: Great! They´ve done an excellent job, they are all so different, but also very capable. It´s a pleasure and I feel honoured to be here today. I chose Guglielmo, I meet him last year in Eindhoven and I believe that now was the right occasion to promote him, he´s super young and talented.

What is your secret, for being here today and to such amazing careers through the years? 
 Maybe we just like to be young designers (he laughs).  Rossana and I we have many thinks in common; we are always ready to take risks and that´s the most important thing because not so many people in the world are ready to take risks; passion is also one thing we have in common. 
Before being successful you have to be open to take risks, I believe this is very important for young designers, and also it´s fundamental for them to be curious, to look at what surrounds them, and to always get in touch with other young people.

What you think is the new responsibility for designers?
: They have to do a better job compared to what the designers of 30 years ago did, now all designers have to try to do their best with beautiful and useful products, take care of real needs, for example nomadic design in terms of living. In the past you just cooked in your kitchen, now you work, cook, and invite friends. On the other side, the new generations of designers have to take care of new production systems and materials. Nowadays there are more than a million different ways to innovate.

Nowadays, what should designer focus their attention on to envision their creativity?
: It´s very important for them to know themselves, and to decide in which field of design they want to work. 

Which are the main trends you see for design in the coming years?
: Freedom. Freedom for consumers to mix different products, freedom of designers to work with different companies at different times, in different parts of the world, in short the real trend is freedom. Also designers have to be very coherent, and follow their own line. I hate it when companies work for a style that looks nice and not for a strong product.

What do you think about aestheticism vs. functionality?
: It’s a game. It seemed as if in the past there was design and decoration, now we know what the limit between design and decoration is. Previously design was black and white, rather now it involves more materials, colours therefore the right thing now is to find the correct balance between function and beauty. Not minimal or decorative, just the right balance and it will make the difference.

What do you think about a multi-field designer?
: Do few things, but do them well. Cherish your project as a baby, from the beginning to the end. Sometimes it takes years to develop a product, but you have to stay focused and work hard. And also you have to defend your own style.
R: Never lose your focus, do one thing at a time.

What countries are the strongest in terms of design, trends and talented generation?
: Nowadays, in China we have excellent designers, photographers, artists and writers. But honestly there are talents all over the world. 
R: But in terms of production you can find them just in Italy (she laughs).

Rossana Orlandi 
After graduating from the Istituto Marangoni, Rossana Orlandi spent many years involved in the field of yarns, working with the best-known Italian fashion designers and creating her own knitwear brand.
A collector of design objects and open to all fields of creativity, she turned her passion into work by opening the Spazio Rossana Orlandi gallery in 2002 and becoming a reference point for international designers and design schools.

Giulio Cappellini
A Milanese architect, who has been working since 1979 with an energetic spirit and constantly refreshing his goals. Through the years his work transformed into that of a designer’s, offering a personal approach to contemporary design. He has successfully established both his brand and his name and has worked as the art director for other key design brands. His most important project, the “company”, transformed Cappellini into one of the biggest trendsetters worldwide. His lectures at the Milan Architecture University always generate great interest from Montreal to Valencia

by Ana Estrella Matute Gonzalez

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