You’ve served as creative director at MisuraEmme for 15 years. What keeps you going?
I find great pleasure in devising aesthetics for the simplest products. MisuraEmme gives me carte blanche to use colour, patterns, weaves and other visual ideas to amplify the palette of minimalist design. This language of minimalism delivers a new era of maturity when designing products for our well-being.
How has the brand adapted or changed over the years?
One of the biggest fundamental changes was becoming an international brand while retaining our Italian roots of quality products, innovation and creative evolution. But our pride remains in manufacturing products that convey a contemporary idea to deliver practical solutions. These products will be timeless and elegantly expressed in a discreet design language.
What are some of the challenges you face these days?
I think maintaining the brand’s philosophy of discreet luxury is the hardest. The onus to catch up with social media is also something every forward-thinking company must implement. You can have a great product but if you don’t create the social media chatter, you’re going to lose out. If you successfully establish the brand’s mission, you will also help customers appreciate and understand the products. Case in point: Apple’s products are well-proselytised because they have a strong social-media following, and are supported by great advertising.
You trained as an architect rather than as a product designer. Does that play to your advantage at all?
Today’s product designers aren’t just limited to their discipline. I’m fortunate that my foundation is in architecture; I can understand the spatial elements of the room before designing a product to suit the room, so that’s an advantage. There are certainly outstanding product designers without architectural training and vice versa. Today’s trend in product design is a fusion of three disciplines: Interior design, architecture and product design. In fact, almost all architects are rightfully industrial designers as it is part of our Italian academics in the design field.
With regards to foundation, what is your impression of younger designers?
They have a different view from older ones and they bring a fresh perspective to traditional furniture typologies. It is definite that the world needs fresh ideas with contemporary or whimsical aesthetics. While a veteran designer knows the market better, the younger designer might appeal to a younger audience. It is good that there’s new blood in this line!
Do you also teach?
I taught at the University of Florence for a decade. Teaching students to become designers is very rewarding because they maintain our Italian design legacy for decades to come.
This might be dicey, but does gender play a role in one’s ability as a designer?
I don’t wish to sound biased but I feel it’s more of an affinity for men to be intrigued by architectural and product design. However, the famous women designers are hard to ignore because they project strength, tenacity and resilience. They show the world that they can also do a better job than their male counterparts. I believe this industry is about the pursuit of passion more than the monetary rewards or fame.
What, in your opinion, is the most difficult to design?
The structure of a chair. It is the simplest structure but requires technical know-how. A chair is basically a micro-architecture. Just like in Japanese cuisine — the food appears so simple but there’s a lot of preparation work behind it.
Click on the gallery for some of Mauro Lipparini’s latest designs for MisuraEmme 2017 collection.