From a humble balcony in Verona to the luxury of Puli Shanghai. What’s behind a decorative pattern.

To travel is to learn.

We travel a lot – luckily our work leads us to realize bespoke interior a bit everywhere – and sometimes the mind makes unexpected and surprising connections. An example?

Motivo grafico su balcone di VeronaTrue story: imagine finding the same decorative pattern on a balcony in Verona and – an intercontinental journey later – at the Puli Hotel and Spa in Shanghai, as a partition of an extremely luxurious environment.Puli Hotel and Spa Shanghai

Maybe you’ll think that we take too many planes, and that jetlags have strange effects on us!

But, no: just look at the pictures and see for yourself these unusual coincidences… 

Venetian bricklayers share the same visual language with Asian luxury resorts?

Well, why not? :-)

Puli Shanghai

The story continues or not? Thank you Mr. Chipperfield.

Flipping through the slick pages of one of the most famous Italian design magazines (Interni 650)  I felt lost. The issue is about the last Salone del Mobile 2015 and its size seems bigger than ever, boasting over 400 pages about all the new collections, products and trends launched by Italian and international big brands.
It is the “Design by” apotheosis,  of course. The polar opposite of our Ermesponti approach to the project of a bespoke interior; for us it’s “designed for”, unique, like the best portrait of each client. It doesn’t matter if it is going to be a retail interior,  a home or even a yacht.
But finally, 30 pages before the end,   I found something very special that enhances the whole magazine.
Here I found some very interesting interviews with the leading
figures  of this  design season: from the omnipresent Michele De Lucchi Rome's Valentino Showroom by Chipperfield Architects - From ermesponti's blogwith his new studies “La passeggiata” for the workplace,  to the undisputed design star, Antonio Citterio, or the brilliant Gabriele Centazzo… just to mention a few of them. Every interview was really readable and fascinating, I must admit that one in particular was super special for me as I feel a strong affinity with each quote of the interviewed person, the British architect David Chipperfield, of whom you can see, above – the Valentino Flagship Store in Rome, just to name one of his extraordinary projects.
He and David Chipperfield Architects in Milan also  designed the new Driade Showroom Milan by Chipperfield Architects - From ermesponti's blogshowroom of Driade in via Borgogna (shown)  as a neutral, pure, simple container conceived as an art gallery space.
Let’s go through a few of his remarks.
” All of us – as human beings first and then as architects, designers or art directors – face a universal challenge to grant meaning of life”.
It may seem too philosophical, but I really liked this quote as one of the most significant aims of everyday life for each of us. I am not joking.  If we reminded  ourselves of this each day, the world could really change into a better place.
When he was asked to take part in the new Driade adventure he commented:
“I did immediately respond. I am an architect, I don’t know how to be an art director. In the end it’s all a matter of having ideas”.
I love such kind of humility, but also the precise sense of the final answer which  concerns the essence of  invention both in architecture and in industrial design – having ideas. Once, during the initial period of Italian design after the war, all the designers were architects by training and profession (Gio Ponti, Carlo Scarpa,  Achille Castiglioni and so on…). They combined the cultural heritage of the theory of architectural composition with the culture of making of small Italian companies in the Brianza district of furnishing. They did a revolution, using their simple problem-solving approach and the legacy of Italian architecture and applied art.
And also when he was asked about the “Common Ground” (the theme of the 13th Venice Architecture Biennale curated by David Chipperfield three years ago) between design and architecture, he continued:
“Architecture is design. Everything is a project.”
Of course, he explained better, saying that
“the information involved in the design of a museum is much more complex than what goes into the design of a table”
…and not only the info, we should also say the skills and the sense of space. He also recognized he doesn’t have “the particular ability furniture design needs to have” – he also mentioned Mari, Morrison, Grcic – but in the end he admitted again, as an excuse: “I am an architect”.
I appreciated and admired the crystal-clear answers of this giant of contemporary architecture. Behind his British aplomb and savoir-faire, I recognize his subtle opinions not only about how it is super difficult making architecture in Italy (“especially if the public administration is involved”). This is – unfortunately – undeniable. Talking about the future of the “healthy fashion and design industries” he warns…
“that  they should not be squandered, though it could happen very quickly”…
Pay attention, guys: everyone has been warned by David Chipperfield ‘s brilliant considerations.
Chipperfield seems to suggest that the wind is changing for the world of design. He goes to say:
“it’s a new question because we have to start asking ourselves David Chipperfield architecthow many new products we really need, to be more aware, to formulate a different idea of growth. We have gone from needing to wanting and design has shifted from supplying necessary goods to stimulating the desire for things that aren’t needed. This is why we have to be more aware of the role of design and products. It is a big commitment for a furniture brand that has to carefully evaluate the quality and durability of things. The project has to have integrity and that happens when it has a reason to exist. “
The first quote was not so theoretical, we agree with you and take note, thank you, Mr. Chipperfield.
(Daniela Podda)

After visiting Salone del Mobile 2015, what we liked the most was: Porro.

Porro al Salone del Mobile: il post di ermesponti
Nobody in our industry can afford to miss Milan’s Salone del Mobile…

In fact, we too made sure to have the space, between the various appointments, for a focused visit.

A lot could be sad about “special effects” and visual marketing.

But our architects’ eye has settled on the quality of design and manufacturing.

The company whose manufacturing impresseb us above everything else has been Porro – and it’s no surprise, for whoever knows them, always consistent in their qualitative approach.

Not necessarily in priority order, this is what we liked:

1 – Creative solutions
See how to “hang” a pillow to the headboard with a simple and elegant anchor… this is the relationship between form and function: impressive…

2 – Accuracy of construction details and assemblyPorro al Salone del Mobile 2015: note di ermesponti
Beautiful hinges, purposely designed and made with a rare attention to detail – very familiar to us in the bespoke world, but not so in orderly production

3 – Beautiful laquers
We feel a certain affinity with the contrast effect of lacquered wood and shiny-matte of some parts of the living area; the detail of the junction between these two finishes on the edge is not simple at all, but it’s performed flawlessly

4 – General usage of valuable and natural materials
Where industrial production of high-end furniture series tends too much to fold to an indiscriminate use of wood imitative surface, Porro offers a lot of wood, finally, and well painted; beautiful veneer selected with attentive eye and even pieces of solid wood

The company of Montesolaro (Como) wins therefore an award entirely unknown and of no importance: best presence at the Salone del Mobile 2015 according to ermesponti!

We thank and congratulate – in addition to Porro – all the Italian companies who keep investing in the real quality of true Made in Italy.

Quality – for which Italians enjoy a worldwide reputation, founded on the twin pillar of high project level and amazing design, coming from the cultural heritage of the great Italian masters of the last century – is what we all stand for, in many ways: 

  • choice and use of materials
  • bespoke, handmade manufacturing
  • excellence in final delivery, with no delays or cost surprises

Let’s all keep up the good work!

Porro al Salone del Mobile: il post di ermesponti