Before moving to Milan, I was living in Bordeaux. Until 2004, I was working with web design and graphic art. Then, I decided to move to Italy and to become a designer. It’s a job that I created practically by myself; I’m self-taught.
Ten years before coming to Italy, I was already dreaming of becoming a furniture designer. It has always been a dream of mine. Then I met Cassandre, my future wife and she knew people in Paris who were working with designers. They actually had a showroom, where they were selling high-grade design products. In Paris, my wife introduced me to this whole design world that I didn’t even know about. I immediately realized that there were people having problems using computers for their work. They were nearly computer illiterate, but nonetheless able to create very high quality and interesting things.
So when I went back to Bordeaux, I told to myself that I should try design-ing too. I kept working on my plans and eventually designed a set of 3D objects that I brought back to Paris. I wanted to show them to the people my wife had introduced to me. There I got very lucky—I met a guy, who was working for Driade. He was one of most important sales manager of the company. He was actually the person who launched Phillippe Starck on the market. I was very fortunate to meet a person like him since he gave me the chance I was looking for.
After we met, he told me: “You design quality things, you really must continue. If you want to be a designer, you have two options: go to Paris or move to Italy. Since you’re Italian, you can do that”.
At that point I decided to come to Milan, and I’m still here, living between the Brianza area and Milan. What that person told me was very important: from that point on, I knew that I could DO design, I was encouraged and even empowered from his words. He is one of the best at his work and he told me: “You can do it, you are able to do design”. So I moved to Milan. When I told to my father that I was going to Italy, he thought I was crazy. He left Rome almost forty years before and here I was doing the exact opposite of what he did. Now, when he looks at what I’ve done, he is still a bit baffled.
Inspiration comes from everything. It can come from you or even from the chair where you’re sitting on. You can be inspired by a piece of wood or by the common objects around you. In the end, imagination is the ability to mix together completely different things.
You take things very different from each other, merge them, and create a new object: that’s the only thing that I really know how to do. That’s the ability to transform objects into something else. Even if I try, I wouldn’t be able to tell you where my inspiration comes from or from which things exactly influence my work.
Yes, in a certain sense the essence of design is something stolen. I mean: a chair will always have four legs, a back, and a seat. When you design a new chair, you transform it, but the actual chair already exists and your inspiration comes from something else. You stole the idea from other things, other objects.
Today we have a number of truly talented designers. These people, usually 35 and above, are really excellent at what they do. I’m working hard to be part of this mold and to be one of those who will set the standard for tomorrow’s design. I don’t want to be a star—I like my job. Yet, I’m passionate about it and I want to create objects that are true pieces of art. That’s why I’m trying to partner with companies, like Porada, a very high-grade design firm.
I prefer quality over quantity and prefer to work less, but to produce objects of high quality with companies that care about and support the “made in Italy” standard. Other designers can make a different choice; this doesn’t bother me. I know what I want. I don’t want to be a mercenary, concerned only with making money. I prefer to wait until I find the right people to work with.
The world of design looks huge, but actually design products cover just the 10% of the market. In reality, it isn’t really that big.
I don’t work with companies that use high tech or special materials. On the contrary, I use standard materials, like wood or steel that I try to push to the limit with my design. Additionally, I don’t want to be labeled as a “futuristic” designer. It’s the shape of the object that needs to be the real cutting edge, not the material. What needs to be futuristic are the lines of the product, not the material of which it’s composed. The product of design needs to be comfortable and it must be made with recyclable materials. These are the principles I try to follow when I do design. Tomorrow is the future, so we need to be Eco-sustainable.
I design chairs and tables, more than sofas. This is because I haven’t yet found the right people and the right firms with whom to make an original sofa. I will design them in the future, for sure, but not today.
I feel both Italian and French so I can take the best from both of them.
Italian design definitely does have an appeal. What do we have more than the others? I don’t really know. It’s just something that you feel, something that you know. The Italian style is a mix of several different cultures, It has a bit of Spanish wilderness, coupled with the French refinement. What I know for sure is that Italians make you feel comfortable and at ease.
There is design, and then there is Italian design. They are different. Italian design is special and appreciated all over the world.
When an Italian designer goes abroad, even if he is young, people expect great things from him. That’s because Italian designers represent the immense history and the culture that lies behind them. Italian designers bring with them centuries of art and people around the world recognize this.
The same happens to me. When I travel and work, I bring with me my being Italian. My father is from Rome and, even when I used to live in Bordeaux, I’ve always spent my vacations in Italy. Today, Italian culture is part of me and you can see this in many aspects in my life. The Italian style is about food, love, and the way you live. Your Italian taste of life comes with you everywhere.