Talking Minds: tales and visions of design

Salone del Mobile, Milan
12-17 April 2016

#talkingminds #kartellMDW16

For the 2016 Salone del Mobile, Kartell will be using its stand to interpret the company’s philosophy – representing different ways of thinking and planning – with stories told by the voices of the stars of this Salone del Mobile themselves. The display will revolve around 11 micro-environments, each one dedicated to a specific designer (Antonio Citterio, Ferruccio Laviani, Piero Lissoni, Alberto Meda, Alessandro Mendini, Fabio Novembre, Eugeni Quitllet, Philippe Starck, Patricia Urquiola, Tokujin Yoshioka), as well as the new Kartell Kids line. Within each “room” the very latest products will be on show accompanied by the voices of those who designed them, Kartell’s “talking minds”.

An immersion in the creative minds that together bring Kartell’s innovative designs to life is the experience that Kartell wishes to offer visitors to this year’s Salone del Mobile. Kartell is a tribute to diversity and the exchange of ideas, with a catalogue that encompasses everything from furniture to lighting, tables, fragrances, soft furnishings, bathware and even fashion accessories, as well as a new kids’ line. Thanks to its collaborations with leading designers from all over the world, each Kartell product exudes the brand’s DNA while at the same time clearly reflecting the designer’s creativity.

The stand at this year’s Salone aims to present the latest products as a journey through the “talking minds” of the creators who helped make Kartell’s modern vision of living tangible and concrete through their products.

Getting back to basics, to deep thought, to brewing up design projects.
The homes of the “talking minds”

Antonio Citterio. I’ve been working with Kartell since 1990. When you collaborate with a company like Kartell, in reality you never stop planning because some projects have a very long development period, such as the Organic Chair (a new step towards sustainable and high-quality industrial design) and the Multiplo tables system (a completely multipurpose product) that I began working on more than two years ago. The product’s design is the same as its strategy: for both projects we wanted to achieve a “timeless” result without limiting its horizons.

Ferruccio Laviani. After years of collaboration with Kartell I’m always amazed to see how exciting it is to work with plastic, capable of a versatility and expressiveness we designers have to discover and interpret. If I think this is the same material with which Anna Castelli Ferrieri has designed her Componibili and the same material we are using today to produce my Kabuki lamp, I realize how many technological and formal opportunities this material still has to reveal in the form of inspiring new objects for people to fall in love with.

Piero Lissoni. Kartell is highly specialised when it comes to changing scale. The concept of changing scale is not simply about moving from big to small or vice versa. It is about the versatility of offering a vast range of objects, from the everyday essentials (seats, stools, sofas, furniture) to collections of tableware, shoes, bags, and even toys. This year I found myself working on projects that were completely different to one another, from a system of sofas (Largo), to a hyper-technological, industrial and incredibly lightweight chair (Piuma), a line of jugs and glasses (Tynn), and a new idea for Kartell Kids. It ranged from macro to micro, from the serious to the amusing… But remained within the same philosophy of quality industrial design.

Alberto and Francesco Meda. When Kartell suggested the idea of a technical lamp and desk, we immediately understood that it could prove an incredibly demanding project for both the company and ourselves, in the sense that it was very stimulating. A challenge. Having to deal with plastics, and the issue of having a structure that needs to be balanced in order to work well, required in-depth research that led to an innovative design for the Kartell collection whose concept was functional yet decorative at the same time.

Alessandro Mendini. Kartell’s attitude towards interpreting and using plastics is unconventional and almost miraculous: it manages to make objects “self-luminous”. It is a kind of sense of luxury made available to the masses. This is incredibly valuable. I made this Chinese-style stool, the traditional ceramic Chinese stool, featuring a pattern in homage to Roy Lichtenstein with the dots from his paintings.

Fabio Novembre. Ever since I was a student I have been taught to design for others but this time I failed: this lamp is for me. Towards the middle of my life I too became lost and felt the need for an object that would light the way. A lantern, just like the old-fashioned ones: simple, long-lasting and sturdy. An object that would accompany me on my wanderings, a light to follow in the dark. Every personal story reflects a shared feeling. It would be wonderful if this little lamp could serve to scatter the shadows and find a way out. Let’s get back on track, because there is a long road ahead.

Eugeni Quitllet. This is the fruit of the most sophisticated technology and the most poetic and refined aesthetics. We worked with Kartell to design a chair that defied the laws of gravity, was a marvel of beauty, and incorporated the most cutting-edge industrial processes. The results is the Dream’Air. This graceful yet technological chair is a new way of looking at design, that is both ultra-modern and timeless. An enduring classic. Thanks to Kartell’s continual research and technological innovation in the fields of materials and processes, we were able to beautifully float dreams on the air.

Philippe Starck. “Generics” are things that we no longer see because they have become hidden or so integrated into our lives, our culture, that we have almost forgotten they exist. We need things that no longer speak, in other words, things that exist, nothing more. Being, being, and no longer speaking. But also a bit of comfort and a bit of tenderness.

Patricia Urquiola. The lengthy relationship I have established with Kartell for the Jellies Family tableware project has brought to life another new collection. It is the result of continuing research into materials and applications within the tableware universe. It led to us conceiving the idea of a new line in which tables could be dressed differently by applying forms, effects and aesthetics from other worlds and materials to plastics. Its name is Trama, meaning a story, something tactile – which is also important in this collection – and something more geometric, sharper and stricter.

Tokujin Yoshioka. Kartell has the capacity to create a special melody with plastic and my role is to harmonise transparency with light by creatively playing with surfaces. This is how things have worked for every project I have done with Kartell. It is out of my harmony with the material that the new Planet lamp was born. This sparkling object whose many-sided surface randomly diffuses light was achieved by playing with the thickness of the transparent plastic.

Kartell Kids, Claudio Luti. Kartell has always been linked to childhood experiences, with concepts that revolve around the themes of exploration, research, and innovation. In fact, our products are by nature fun, playful and exciting. For this reason I wanted to launch a new chapter in Kartell’s story and create a new line dedicated to a market segment that we hadn’t explored yet.