Furnishings and material culture: Enio Catalano.

This interview is with a young Italian designer acting among Madrid and Milan. He creates contemporary design combining modern production techniques with quality craftsmanship in order to achieve aesthetic and functional items inspired by industrial process and material culture.

What makes you willing to design products? What is the ultimate goal of your creation process?

As is often the case, I think a designer’s process can emerge from a personal interest or quite simply something we like: it might be a material, an object, a process or a behavior. We try to make a synthesis which gives added value to whom may interact with the product and differs on the market. My goal is basically to generate objects with identity, functional elements which compete in the market and are sensitive to human needs.

We were impressed by Golf mirror, tell us more about this furnishing, why a freestanding mirror?

I wanted to get a reading of the evolution of this common home accessory. I went about creating a synthesis which was current, contemporary. So I thought of the fluid and open spaces we are used to seeing nowadays, the bathrooms which become wellness areas that complete the living room making part of it. I also thought of a more dynamic way of life. And so I concluded which a mirror had to be totally free, it should have been put both on the side of a sink and in any other corner of the house. And that’s how Golf mirror was born.

What do you think about relationship between industry and creativeness?

The relationship between brand and designer may not be easy and I wouldn’t certainly take it for granted. It is frequently the case that a designer decides to become a brand or a brand decides to develop internally concepts and ideas as if he were a designer himself. But the plain and simple fact is a designer needs a brand to translate into products the added value he offers and a brand needs the designer to connect its production capacity with the needs of the public.

It’s a relationship perhaps difficult but with a huge potential to my mind. I take the view that design is a resource, both for people and for companies.

Why did you choose to work with Krion©?

Designing from material stimulates me a lot. I always thought that when the material fit into a design-oriented culture, that’s when it is transformed into an inspiring element rather than being just a technical requirement to be met, innovation shall be ensured. I was interested in reinterpreting the material culture of solid surfaces, especially by introducing them in the field of outdoor furniture. And Krion© between the category is probably the most suitable for outdoor applications. In addition, with Krion© I could reach that meeting point between industrial process and artisanal one I always look for when I designing a product. After all, Krion© is a material that comes from an industrial and chemical process – is a composite material – but manipulated in an almost crafted way.

How important is ergonomics in Adata armchair? So much in this product as in Golf mirror, how did you choose the materials?

In Adata armchair ergonomics was a natural consequence of the material I wanted to work with. Krion© is a material I would describe as ‘sensual’: it offers warmth to the touch, brightness to the eye and possibility to generate complex organic forms. Therefore designing an armchair around the user’s ergonomic and anthropometrical features was not so difficult, it has been quite an opportunity. A surface that fit (or adapt) in a very – once again – natural way to the body of the person by favoring firstly his comfort. Hence the idea to call it Adata.

Concerning the choice of materials, as I said before, in Adata was a premise. I was interested in reinterpreting the material culture of solid surfaces introducing them in the field of furnishings for outdoor, thanks to distinctive qualities of Krion©. So the next thing to do was to create a contrast varying finishes and shapes. I knew I was proposing some kind of new material for a garden furniture end-user accustomed to natural and traditional materials, so I decided to use the most classic wood essence suitable for outdoor usage which is teak.

On the contrary, in Golf the process happened the opposite. I focused a lot on the differentiation of the product form the point of view of its type and use – a mirror which was totally free to install. And I haven’t known the material I would use to the very end. I chose a material that was warm and common, light, durable, versatile form an aesthetic point of view, which does go well with different interior designs and various parts of the house. I therefore chose the ash wood, whose facility of manufacture help me to give to the furniture certain organic shapes.

What could be a new design for the future? A material?

I’m especially interested in light, I’ve always wanted to design it. A future project could relate to a luminaire. Maybe through the use of glass, has always been one of the basic components for the manufacture of lamps. A stimulating material and material culture where industrial approach and craft solutions coexist in perfect balance.


Enio Catalano




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