Secondome interviews Gio Tirotto

Project before everything. Design to touch feelings. Art as a lighthouse. A short interview to Gio Tirotto.

Who is Gio Tirotto?
“A craftsman of the idea.”

What does it mean to be a designer today?
“It means to really believe in a project, in the deep meaning of the actual designing part occupies in the whole making process. I think this is the only possible way to create a piece destined to last long in time.”

Coexist Mod Ground & Mod Sky

What does it mean to be a 37 years old designer? Does the so called Millennial design, intended as a different approach of your generation to creativity, exist? If so, do you feel as one of its spokepersons?
“I’m not sure if it does exist. It’s a really hard question. I constantly try to bring my research to production, both for companies or for private interior design project, but I can’t tell if mine is Millennial design… The approach to design I express today, I’ve learnt from the masters, in books and in the firms I’ve worked with; at first I respected it, than, with time, I assimilated it, trying as much as possible to make it my creative method, rapresented, as of today, by the last ten years of my production.”

Someone wrote about you that you aim to recreate complicity between human and object. Is emotion the new fuction?
“Yes. To me, moving people is what matters the most. An object moves when encloses the best possible balance between function, message and shape. These are the characteristics that create complicity between human and object, which is the main and essential focus of my artistic language.”


This is Achille Castiglioni’s year. How important is his figure in your work?
“Very. Since the day I’ve met him (unfortunately not in person) he’s become the pillar of my desire of being a designer. Lately I’ve designed Ammuraggio (name that indeed emphasize this connection, inspired by Allunaggio by Castiglioni for Zanotta), a piece of furniture designed for the garden inspired to his teachings, realizing behavioural patterns and underlining through the object.”

You speak about rites, something completely changed in today’s society: there aren’t rites of passage anymore and less and less shared practices. Where do you find your circles to exchange ideas and find sparks and suggestions?
“There are endless circles, I always happen to research during the day, I can’t help it, it probably is a matter of personal attitude more than passion (it’s become my excuse to finally open an Instagram profile!). Maybe also Ryto the liquor I’ve been producing for a few year now, is the starting point for the more creative and stimulating circles I experience. Travel to present it and to tell its story makes me meet new interesting people every week who, even if from a non purely design perspective, stimulates me for new projects. Let me repeat myself: everything creates suggestions, the more art, the better.”


Two projects by someone else you loved recently?
“Talking about projects, not stricly products/objects, “Una stanza tutta per sé” by Cantiere Galli comes to my mind, a temporary well done and interesting interior design project , which also goes deeper into the idea of interior catching its meaning even only through one photography. The other project I loved is the P.O.P. collection by Zaven for Luisa delle Piane, small possible objects born from a research that perfectly matches graphic and function, a project that oozes art from every pore.”

What is it you are working on for the immediate future?
“I’m creating a new collection of ceramic upholstery. For a few years I’ve been researching and experimenting in this area and now I think I’ve brought my idea to a good level of production and craft. The project deals with the classic theme of natural materials, reinterpreting them, actually entirely reinventing them through the consistency of the superficial decorations I’ve decided to use.”




Secondome interviews Vito Nesta

During the last Fuorisalone, he surprised everyone by bringing into Palazzo Litta a collection of wallpapers designed drawning hints by Limonta’s archive. In Jenuary he launched Grand Tour, his brand born with a storytelling inspired to the past, when Italy was the destination of the cultural trips for the young European talents. This time it’s Vito Nesta the one to travel abroad and to bring back in Italy the international suggestions in shape of design: “I spend a lot of my time travelling. Sometimes far from home, smelling the scents of the central market in Kyoto, getting enchanted by the unique shade of red in the sanctuary on the top of Mount Fushimi Inari, getting lost in the Istanbul’s Grand Bazar….”.

Fenicotteri | Wallpaper |PH Mattia Meneghini

Who is Vito Nesta?

“I’m an extremely curious guy, I like to discover what I ignore, always looking for my personal way of expressing myself, travelling, meeting people, discovering places, getting contaminated by everything that surrounds me. I live in a simple way, fighting for my dream of becoming a good interior decorator”.

What does it mean today to be a designer?

A designer today has a very complex role as his work it’s not limited to designing but includes being your own entrepreneur. A designer creates, together with the firm, a guide and a plan to introduce the product to the market, creates an effective communication for the launch, follows all the phases of a project from the first sketch to the sale”.

Memory is your creative world: how do you manage not to fall into nostalgia?

“I’ve always loved listening to stories, in my work I try and tell them, in my own way. My pieces are not nostalgic. On the contrary, they speak about far away worlds, tales from the past and hidden places, respecting their essence, looking forward to the future. I think it’s necessary to look to the past just like this, while looking to the future”.

Décor today, in the design world: it’s an opportunity for creative, or a field already on the verge of saturation?

“I think that the feel for décor cannot be considered a technique to be taught or learnt. Either you have it in yourself and feel it as a way of expression, or you can’t make an exercise out of it. I think I couldn’t have done anything else, as since a very young age I’ve always felt attraction towards décor, which has definitely been helpful in a moment like this, when décor is becoming more and more an added value to any project”.

Risvolti | PH Serena Eller Vainicher

How did you came up with the concept of the Grand Tour?

“The idea of the Grand Tour comes from the will to experiment through decoration all the worlds, symbols, histories and images I look for during my journeys, both the actual and the imaginary ones”.

Esotica for F.lli Majello | PH Andrea Pedretti

Next stops?

“Egypt, Kenya and Lebanon”.



Secondome intervews Millim Studio

Together with Hillsideout’s Atlas, the other soul of Match, Secondome’s project for Milan Design Week in the spaces of FuturDome, is Fusion. This time too, a designers couple works on the meeting-clash between different materials, marble and plexiglass. We chatted about it with the designers, Millim Studio, alias Chiara Pellicano and Edoardo Giammarioli, both class 1989, with a millennial perspective about their approach to the creative work.

How did you chose the materials for this mix? Why marble and plexiglass?
We were fascinated by the idea of mixing fusion and discovery. We wanted to mix to reveal, so we needed a solid material that could be explored on the inside and a lens to amplify what we usually look at in a regular size.
The marble with its infinite details was the perfect tale to tell, the plexiglass, with its transparency and properties of distortion was the perfect narrating voice.

Fusion Detail

Where does the value of working in pair lay? You have different ways to feel, do you complement or contrast each other?
Even if we have the same goal, we’d never follow the same path to reach it, so we believe the real value is the constant discovery of the other. Our approaches and feelings are different so even though we are usually complementary, sometimes you have to learn to overlap, not to impose but to understand and sometimes you have to follow.

Two years after “Design the future”, a first balance of how the future has been?
We're happy. They’ve been two intense and exciting years. New paths opened, we are learning a lot and we have been given the chance to explore completely different fields of action. Working first on something for a gallery, than on a project for a huge corporation or on small self-productions, we believe this is the biggest gift that this future could have in store for us.

What does it mean to be millennial designers? What’s the impact of being your age has on designing and planning?
Being a millennial designer means to forget the world “target” and replace it with feelings, moods, desires. This is our approach, we try to move who’s on the other side. People want to understand and “feel”, that’s why we stress the importance of all the mental process behind a project and we to care about all the aspects that surpass the product strictly, trying to give to the final user a complete experience.


Collage The Row

Someone else’s work that you think manages to picture what’s design today.
One of the operations we mostly appreciated recently is Maurizio Cattelan’s “Museum League”. It’s what we call a Project. Everything’s in its place, conceptually and commercially; and yet manages to mainly focus on the idea of belonging, as we said, it speaks to the listeners but with a potentially popular and replicable infinite times, a rare project.

An artist or designer you learnt something from and one you’d steal a secret to?
We were deeply impacted by the vision of Christoph Niemann, German writer, illustrator and graphic designer. In some of his illustrations and many of his interviews, he depicts the backstages of his work: a praise to mental labour and the processes that bring to the definition of a new project.
We thought we were weird while exerting a huge effort to come up with a complete project, this was an eye-opener for us, made us feel much more “normal”. Hard work is part of the game.
A secret to steal? Definitely from Studio Job. We are fascinated with their coherence and the strenght they manage to infuse in all of their projects.




Secondome interviews Hillsideout

Opposites connect. And in the design world, they give life to realities never covered or imagined before. Like Match, Secondome’s project for Milan Design Week in via Paisiello FuturDome. A project that from its very name calls to mind a meeting-clash between completely different materials and shapes. Match consists of two collections by two couples of designers, each with a different approach to the concept.

First, we’ll focus on Atlas, the bronze and Murano glass coffee table designed by Hillsideout, the Italian-Deutsche duo made by Andrea Zambelli and Nat Wilms who, since 2009 has made a signature of the match between artisanal woodworking and contamination with contemporary materials.


The past has a key role in your inspiration, with this project you revived the myth of Atlantis. Why?
Introducing two new materials, bronze and Murano glass, we associated them to this mythological island of fire and ice, famous for its metals. Playing with this idea, we made this first piece, a table called Atlas that marks the beginning of this utopistic furnitures that might have belonged to the Titan Atlas from the greek mythology, first king of the heavenly and hyper civilized island of Atlantis. And since it comes from Atlantis, Atlas is destroyed and somehow different. It has a heart of water, which it could not exist without, “frozen” to become ice, both fragile and solid. It’s usable.



Atlas work in progress

Which is the logic behind your choice of the contemporary materials to mix with wood?
In this project we only used wood for the model to create the mold. And even so its presence can be felt clearly. This to say we are the contemporary element, it’s our mind, not the materials. That doesn’t mean that wood isn’t the material that mostly fits our needs, that’s why it’s always part of our works. We want to express a dynamism that can be recalled both by materials and ideas.

How did you choose the materials for this project?
We like to work with liquid materials, able to change to a solid state. That’s why we thought of a project where two materials similar and very different at the same time, could match and strengthen each other.

How can a creative who keeps alive the past, make good design without falling into the trap of the cult of nostalgia that’s become a trend?
You always have to look into yourself.

Nat Wilms and Andrea Zambelli | PH Ruy Teixeira

You were born as a duo also to revive manufacture. From 2009 up to today, how did you see this world of high craftsmanship grow?
It’s hard to generalize but, as far as furnitures are concerned, we saw very little research connected to skilled craftsmanship, as if this particular time in history doesn’t need it. The interest goes more into the fleeting, that's why space, as well as materials, are perceived differently. That said, we think it’s very important to balance it and go back to the material.

An artist or designer you learnt something from and one you’d steal a secret to?
We have two very different different training backgrounds and so are our mentors. However we agree on the Italian directors of the late 40s’ as Michelangelo Antonioni, for his aestethic and human vision that doesn’t get lost in emotions.



Secondome interviews Lanzavecchia+Wai

One in Pavia, the other in Singapore. More than a collaboration, an alchemy that defies the distances and finds inspiration in the encounter of different cultures and approaches. Francesca Lanzavecchia and Hunn Wai met in 2006 in Eindhoven Design Academy. Three years later they founded the Lanzavecchia+Wai studio that has been challenging the conventions of design ever since, with furnitures, collections and objects that mix mind and heart, craftsmanship and technology, refinement and playfulness.


Who are Francesca Lanzavecchia and Hunn Wai?
"We are dreamers, travellers and romantic rationalists who live while trying to build a “Brave New World” without boundaries and borders."

A studio divided between two Countries, far, very far from each other. How do you manage your designing with four hands?
“We have to thank technology for making us feel like we are sitting at the same desk: cloud, videoconferences are our daily routine… And when we have to check something with our own eyes we have models in both offices for testing and evaluating. That, of course, until we’ll be able to teleport.”.




Which material are you most confortable with?
“Each and every time, each and every project, we fall in love with the material we are using and we empathize with it. Even metal, which I perceived as very far from me, if worked on by the right hands can become flexible and hot. However, if I have to instinctively mention one, for me (Francesca) it’s fabric: the most flexible, similar to our most extended sensitive organ, the skin. It’s also the material we can establish the most intimate relation with and can be printed with the symbols of our culture. For me (Hunn) it’s wood: a material stratified along time.”

In your works there is a careful research, but also the craftsmanship tradition from every part of the world. How do you approach a project?
“We always start with the deep knowledge of the context: social, productive, of the usage. To reach it we use a process called “lateral thinking”: gathering all the information coming from the most different fields from observation to human science to technologies. Through the design research we develop a very detailed point of view about the theme or the project we are working on. The final product of every research is the actual objectification of all these information and our feelings.”

Which is the object you’d like to have designed?
“We are designing the windows for Hermes shops in Singapore. We’ve been wanting to work on project where to liberate our creativity without limits of functions and usage for a while now. It’s a dream coming true.”

Which is the object you’d like to design?
“We’d love to approach more whole spaces designing installations, interiors, homes that can bring poetry, lightness and playfulness in our everyday life and can really adapt to the needs of our society and our ever-evolving lives.”



Secondome interviews Matteo Cibic

Vasonaso 2017 

If design is (also) the art of conciliating the opposites, then Matteo Cibic it’s one of its most representative personalities. On one side, the hiperactivity of a man who, at 34, has its creations exhibited in the most influent collections, from the Centre Pompidou in Paris to the Shanghai Museum of Glass. On the other side, the perseverance, dedication and method that led him to look for inspiration in Giorgio Morandi’s work. This is how VasoNaso was born, form the idea of replicating an inspiration like Morandi did, elaborating on one aspect’s possible variations. The result was, indeed, VasoNaso first collection of 365 pieces, one for each 2016’s day, perfect synthesis of hiperactivity and dedication. A project that is not over.

Who is Matteo Cibic?
“A tall, blonde guy, who loves to draw and produce unexpected objects and spaces."

You realized one of the most interesting and researched self-produced projects of the last years: is VasoNaso a closed chapter or are you thinking of a sequel?
“VasoNaso is a project born with the need of understanding how some people manage to dedicate decades, if not their entire life, to the same artistic research.

As a hyperactive boy, I’m fascinated by methodic people and experimented for one year the obsession of still-life painters. I’ve discovered a zen practice that I enjoy and allows me to discover new relations between shapes and colors, I’ve made vases (often antiques’ replicas) composing them in photography sets. I’ve developed a slight addiction, that’s why I keep making unique VasoNaso for Galleries, to keep up with my sociological study on objects.”



Matteo Cibic in the glass-blowing laborathory


During an interview you said that Giorgio Morandi painted the same thing for his entire life and you wanted to try and do the same. Are you looking for the perfect VasoNaso?
“The perfect VasoNaso doesn’t exist. Their beauty is in putting them together and find their relationship and similarities, always different and sometimes funny."

The first adjectve that comes to mind looking at your works is ironic. What is your approach to new projects?
"I like to imagine objects with hybrid functions and not easily classifiable.”

Which is the material you are the most confortable with?
“Definitely ceramic and glass.”

What would you like to design you haven’t designed yet?
“A boutique hotel anywhere in the world.”

Uzito collection for Secondome