The Idea of Living Architecture for Ermesponti Bespoke Interiors

We’ve recently come across the initiative “Living Architecture – Holidays in Modern Architecture“, renting an archistar-designed home to enjoy the experience of staying in a place designed by a famous architect. We’d like to consider this starting from a different point of view. Alain De Botton published a new book  a few years ago “The Architecture of Happiness” (please note that the famous philosopher is one of the founders of Living Architecture). De Botton’s views express the idea that the quality of the architecture we live in every day  influences the quality of our lives. This is the essence of the book.

living architecture for ermesponti bespoke interiors

This notion applies to living  from a global perspective, which of course goes beyond the “vacation” you can take for a limited period of time in a place that doesn’t belong to you, and to which you don’t belong.  From here we can move straight to the opposite approach  of “design-by vs designed-for”. There  is a way of conceiving theDe-Botton-Architecture-Happiness-ermesponti quality of interiors not as something guaranteed by a famous signature, but rather as a true expression of the personality of the person who lives there.

Historically speaking, architecture is something anonymous, which derives its sense and function from everyday use by someone it is designed for.

At Ermesponti bespoke interiors, we strongly believe in design-specific projects like those of Living Architecture, but most of all we are focused on the brief of the client. Our projects are always tailored to the client ‘s exact needs. Our aim is always a custom-designed project.

Every project must reflect  100% the personality of the customer, and does so through the architect’s design  and the making by the craftsman.  Our team work together- from first scratch to turnkey delivery – throughout the whole process so that we can guarantee the excellence of the results. In this way, the architect “brings out” of the customer his own dream-house, and makes it become true. Leon Battista Alberti – author of what is considered the Bible of Architecture – used to say: “The architect is the mother of the building, but the customer is its father”.

We very much appreciate the idea of “Living Architecture” as a one-shot experience of an archistar’s architecture.  Possibly  you should consider taking the next step and having more than a short vacation in someone else’s home. You could definitely  try the Ermesponti experience and live it in a more permanent way. For example, you can have your own home redesigned with a 100% custom-destined project by Ermesponti bespoke interiors and enjoy a lifelong architectural experience. You can’t imagine how your quality of life could be changed for the better!

Ermesponti’s reaction to the London design week 2015.

A few weeks ago we had the chance to visit some of the most important venues of the London Design Week, such as Designjunction, Tent,  Superbrands and – of course- 100% Design.

The city was full of people. It was so nice to enjoy the exciting atmosphere in the world of design and the related business.
It was a completely new experience for us. London is one of the best known capitals for design,  but it has its own identity and it is so different from Milan!
ermes ponti london bespoke interiors
It’s difficult to explain. In brief we can say that Milan is the fair of the Italian big brands which was set up to  express the values of Italian design and Italian lifestyle.
Each pavilion is like a fashion show and showcases the new collection and  the usual features of each brand. There is precise attention to every single detail on each stand. The effect is like a show in a theatre. The pieces of the new collection are like the main actors. The setting is everything.

In London, we found a completely different approach. There is not a specific fair but many different venues scattered around all the city.

London seems more a land of single designers or creative people. Although there are some exceptions, they  seem to be artists rather than artisans.
Of course the American  movement  of  Makers is well represented here as well but this fact underlines what I am saying. Creative confidence is very high and there are lots and lots of new companies, new names and start-up firms of design here.
The London way seems to be about new ideas and experimentation of thousands and thousands  of small new firms of Design and not only British artists. We found there many firms from Northern Europe. Scandinavian design is appreciated here more than in Italy.
We also found a strong emphasis on engaging the customer in the design process, for example a smart Norwegian brand named Tylco.
ermes ponti london bespoke interiors

They are completely focused on  “made to measure” production and  “just in time” for each client. They have specific software for their online shop where you can decide to customize a piece of furniture by changing the measurements, materials or colour to your exact needs and tastes.

The design of the collection  is fixed, but before ordering your own piece you can ask for some adjustments as also happens in fashion for a made-to-measure suit.
Learning about approaches like this helped us again to focus on the really crucial point of our identity as Ermesponti. The world of bespoke furniture is completely different! We haven’t got any shop online or any collections of pieces.

We custom design and produce each interior as a unique interior. Each piece of furniture is unique for its owner.

In our opinion the  most impressive stand of the whole design week was the Korean Pavilion. The amazing collection of unique pieces by  young artisans from this country is impossible to forget for their contemporary nature and lasting beauty of each pieces, such as fabrics, vases, porcelain or baskets.

Each artisan or artist has developed  a personal way of making his own products by learning from old techniques and know-how. This is exactly what we do.  The product is completely different but the approach is the same.

Starting form the legacy of our artisan tradition and architectural culture we can find new paths for the present and the  future  of interiors.
“We are like dwarfs on the shoulders of Giants”
( Bernard Chartres)

Milano, October 15th 2015: presentation of the Open Book “Autori di Crescita”. Paolo Ponti’s contribution.

Contributo di Paolo Ponti al festival della crescitaIn Milano, on Oct. 15th 2015, something important for all the people who care about Italy’s economic and cultural growth…

Egea publishing company is going to unveil the Open Book “Autori di Crescita, during professor Morace’s Festival della Crescita to be held  in Milano on October 15-18 .

We have always been convinced about  the “happy growth” theory of professor Francesco Morace – who has already stated how ermesponti is a company able to show a growing attitude – but this time there’s one more reason to save the date…

We are among the book authors, thanks to Paolo Ponti’s contribution, which we like to quote in the following paragraph.

Growth is never simple, but a HAPPY GROWTH is an even more ambitious  goal.

To be truly “happy” the growth must bu such for everyone involved… for instance, speaking of a company, all stakeholders need to be happy about growth: the clients, the working force, the entrepreneur, the government.

As an anrchitect and an entrepreneur, I always work to achieve this simple goal: everyone’s happy growth through the excellence of our end-to-end process, from the very first sketch to complete realization.

The first one that has to be happy about it is the client: every project of ours is a very personal portrait.

See you in Milano on October 15th – 6:45 pm @ Happy Book – Cult Library – Palazzo delle Stelline in Corso Magenta 61 for the presentation of “Autori di Crescita”.
Admittance is open, but don’t forget to sign up on the Festival website.
Useful links:
As we wait to meet you at the “Stelline” on the 15th, please enjoy professor Morace video introduction of the Festival!

London here we come!

London home refurbishment by ermesponti of Italy

It is not the first job we handle in London (as a matter of fact, we have the pleasure of having, in our reference list, some New Bond Street important names), but we are always happy to bring our enthousiasm and know-how in this important European Capital.

So we’d like to wish “buon lavoro” to the ermesponti team actually at work in a Victorian terraced home in London!

We’ll  let you know how this drawing, hanging somehow in the working site, will turn out in an ermesponti “end-to-end” realization soon!


London Design Festival: Design takes London. And ermesponti is here!

London Design Festival 2015

London, september 2015: The London Design Festival just opened, with the amazing Openhouse London (a weekend  in which many homes are open for visits, from Prime Minister’s in Downing Street to the Gherkin skyscraper, not to speak of the ordinary homes, no less interesting to see).

The event calendar covers a 10-day period, from September 19th to 27th, and the things to see are spread  in 7 Design Districts, all over London.

Ermesponti is not to miss this unbelievable gathering of talent, inspiration and – why not – fun: we’re here in London to follow the Design Festival in all its events… well almost!

Please follow us on our Twitter profile @ermesponti to catch the latest impression about what we see, and follow the #LDF15 hashtag as well to keep in touch with the online conversation.

More online references regarding the London Design Festival:

Stay tuned: we’ll be reporting soon ermesponti’s point of view on all events and activities!

ermesponti interior design: the story in pictures of a small but significant piece of contemporary architecture in a Milan historic building.

Cornelian cylindrical tailor-room by ermesponti interiors


Directly from the architect’s notebook, the first idea of a circular  volume around a structural column. From a limit to an opportunity. From a structural column a pivot space around which revolves the design section of the entire store. Seeing is believing. ermes-ponti-interior-sketch


After talking to the architects, here’s the carpenter sketch (crumpled copy of the original) Mr. Alberto has done in order to build a small piece of contemporary architecture in a Milan historic building.


We are well under way; worksite is ready. The structural work is finished, including the cutting of a supporting beam and the seismic upgrading of the entire building. The time is right: our master carpenter Alberto goes to Milan for the last check on measurements. ermes-ponti-interior-3


With the sheet hand-drawn by the architects we’ve seen earlier, plus a 3D simulation that gives the idea of the the construction’s complexity, Alberto gets to work and in the ermesponti laboratory. Here we can see the pre-assembly stage. Building time: about 20 days. ermes-ponti-interior-2


Alberto is now putting his work in place. With just one assistant. With care, intelligence, passion and taste for a well done job. This job is his job; he cares for it because he’s been taking care of it since the very first conception.ermes-ponti-interior-4


After a few days, the store is completed. A VIP circular lounge serves as a hub between the 4 levels of the store. Do you realize how complex was this circular volume around a pillar to create? The absolute consistency between the first sketch and the fina realisation, throughout the whole process is a result of our method, the ermesponti, lean,  end-to-end process :-)Dettaglio interiors Corneliani Montenapoleone store by ermesponti


But the ideas don’t stop here… you can find them in the details as well. Do appreciate the rediscovery of an old hand-crafted leather with a drawstring, usually sewn in the corners. Here is renewed, making it a three-dimensional pattern of contemporary taste. This way of working it gives a “border” to the skin surface; the little cords draw strips of different thickness on the curved panels, according to the product niches positions, made in shiny Macassar ebony with polished stainless steel profiles.

What’s a carpenter, for us at ermesponti

It’s easy to say “carpenter”.

In ermesponti we grow this ancient craft with care and respect.

Falegname presso ermespontiMany of our “falegnami” (the Italian wording our international customers don’t know) are actually master carpenters, who learned to work with wood, over the years, project after project, within our company.

In ermesponti, from the owner – who, despite fifty years of entrepreneurial history has always wanted the word “carpenter” on his ID – to be a carpenter means to be at the heart of the company, Signor ermes ponti,titolare dell'azienda omonima, al lavoro con un falegname where “thought” becomes “act” through the work of hands, and then returns then to thinking phase in a constant and smooth process, with no separation between “those who think” and “those who make”.

In ermesponti “thinking” and “making” are two perspectives of the same glance, two phases of the same project, two moments of the same day. There is no separation between the work of the mind and the work of the hand, regardless of the business roles.

Un falegname di ermesponti (Mantova, Italy) al lavoroThis constant “dialogue” between thought and action is a continuum that leads, in our opinion, to excellence in the production of a piece of interiors, whether residential, retail or yacht.

On a practical plan, here’s how the work is organized.

Every carpenter is responsible for its own work and its own micro-project (the part of the job covered in the specific work phase).
After talking with the architect on drawings, an ermesponti carpenter draws by himself the computer tabs needed for production, then cuts the panels with the CNC machine, so to achieve pinpoint accuracy even in the most challenging process; finally he completes the most important parts manually and assembles the furniture in the lab before the painting step, to verify its perfection.

This approach, simple yet not trivial, allows us to increase widespread creativity, while the natural problem solving of the artisan works together with the architect.

That is how we create value for our customers.
“If you want to be an architect, learn to be a carpenter”

We definitely agree, Mr. Shu!

Falegname al lavoro presso ermesponti Mantova

A trip to San Vitale’s Basilica in Ravenna, with Paul Valéry and Leon Battista Alberti

Paul Valéry wrote in Eupalinos or The architect from the mouth of the Phaedrus:
And do tell me (since you are so sensitive to the effects of architecture), didn’t you notice, going around the city, that some buildings are mute while other buildings speak and some others – very rare –  sing?
Well, a few weeks ago, we visited one of the capital – almost forgotten – of our country’s history and culture: Ravenna.
Le volte della Basilica di San Vitale a Ravenna
Here you can find many buildings that – as Valéry would say – speak, and even some which sing (we thing that master Riccardo Muti would like them as well, since he said that the deepest music lies in between sounds and not in sounds themselves, just like architecture it’s the space defined between the columns, not in the columns themselves).
And what a song rises from the Basilica of San Vitale in Ravenna!
A song – after 1500 years – still very much alive, strong, clear. Unforgettable.
A song that can be defined as “spatial”.
In San Vitale the chant of architecture feels so complete, with all senses involved in space perception.
Veduta interna della Basilica di San Vitale a Ravenna

Roman architectural space here reaches its highest degree of “dematerialization” to the point that…. no place can be  more spiritual.

San Vitale puts the first stone of the development of all religious architecture of medieval Europe.
The circular architectural style, typical of Roman temples, becomes in San Vitale an organic system that breaks up the space in the direction of the centrifugal static forces.
The outer wall is almost denied, it is like a skin, moving and breathing.
The alabaster windows filter light like marble.
The thrust of the dome to the top is almost backwashing and the depth of the apse – crumbled by the immaterial light of the mosaic surfaces – steer straight for the “elsewhere”: the sky?
Mosaico alla Basilica di San Vitale a Ravenna
Even the original mosaics of the floor give an unusual depth… the feeling you get is like floating in a very sophisticated spatial dimension, almost immaterial.
A building is like a body
…wrote Leon Battista Alberti a few years ago (in 1450) in his De Re Aedificatoria and its harmony is the “concinnitas” of all parties.
This is exactly what fascinates in San Vitale.

The architectural body itself and the relationship between all its parts (from the walls to the opening, to the single architectural detail) elevates us to another dimension.

There is no direction; the floor and the dome will suck you in and everything seems to spin around.

How could a human creation, an architectural building, reach such levels of mysterious beauty?
More than men’s work, it looks like a creature of God: pure light and spirituality.

Yet, man has designed and built this architectural masterpiece.

It’s amazing how the mind and hand of man can reach such high levels of expression.

The architectural chant of San Vitale is moving – then as now – with a harmony that touches the deepest chords of the human soul.

L'interno della Basilica di San Vitale (Ravenna)


Ikea vs. Made in Italy?

“Ikea is the brand Italians appreciate the most.”

This is a recent headline seen on the media.

An authoritative study certifies it, with a lot of figures (300 thousand people interviewed by Havas in 34 countries, on a sample of 1,000 brands).

Trademarks are considered within different areas including health, happiness, wealth, relationship, community.

Here’s what Havas says:

These brands can increase up to seven times their competitive strength and earn about 46% more than the brand perceived as less significant (…) Top Meaningful Brands get marketing performances twice as good as those achieved by less significant brands”

Ikea’s placement, according to the research, is all about…

“The ability to ‘meet the growing demand for simplification of everyday life while ensuring good quality at a fair price'”

Allow me a few observations from the point of view of who’s been judged by the Corriere della Sera “a winning and living example of how to compete with globalization” (here the article in Italian, by Dario De Vico).

A few elements come to my mind:

– The globablization of taste proposed by Ikea is quite the opposite , in my opinion, of well-being, relationship and community

– As to aesthetics and values, what Ikea suggests is a flattening of life, homogenization of taste, environmental unsustainability

– Speaking about value, if we take into count the economies of scale that Ikea enjoys, it… is astronomical (to be clear: if a company like ours were to do a small production of, say, 10 or 20 pieces, it could very well put them on the market at “Ikea price”; if you multiply by millions of pieces, it’s easy to understand how the value for money is high… mainly for shareholders!)

All this makes me think about our country and the luck we have being protagonists – internationally recognized – of quality of life, taste, lifestyle, beauty.

This is something higher than any market research, and has roots in the history of our country, not surprisingly home of the most part of works of art in the world.

No brand can compete with “Italy brand” as to good life, relationship and community… the most “meaningful brand” of all, throughout the world, is called Italy.

Now, about the industry of interior design and furnishing, Italy has a strong heritage in the cultural tradition of its artisans.

This “knowledge” is translated into:

– production of unique and “bespoke” pieces for the person, for the family, for the business

– the cost of these products: absolutely sustainable and competitive, thanks to the expertise of processes and materials (and consider that you can manage and controlthe whole design-production process)

– eternal durabilty, thanks to absolute quality

– production times, quick and manageable

– personal relationship: you deal with faces and people, not with customer services

Moreover, by purchasing a product of Italian craftsmanship, we finance our businesses, we build a piece of future for our children.

If we believe in Made in Italy we Italians  must invest in Italy.

Italian SMEs invest every day in this country. As consumers, we should do the same.

For example, try to buy Made in Italy products only (although they may cost a little more, and we know why) and be proud to be testimonials of our products and way of life.

It is very possibile that the world still needs this small, boot-shaped country… long live Italy!

(Daniela Podda)

What’s luxury? Just unnecessary goods for the rich, or something more? And a quote by Mr. Riccardo Muti.

The media often refer to Luxury as one of the contemporary obsessions.

And off with diagrams (the capitals of luxury and so on), European market figures (17 billion), growth trends (400 million people, consumers 35-40 yrs. old in continuous growth), by top consulting firms… and even customer labels: socialwearer, experiencers, absolute luxerer.

A quote about the latter:

The most coveted prey (notice: prey) among top companies, she’s the rich, refined, elegant absolute luxurer.
She belongs to the European elite and the Happy Few emerging market, spends on clothes and watches but also for travels and wines, with a particular attention to everything unique and customized. She generates a market worth billions of euro per year at a cost of 30,000 euro per person.

They even invented a “Luxury barometer” (measuring the tendency to future spending), according to which the global trend is growing (-5% from 2014 to + 15% in 2015).

Also the growing interest of consumers in respect of social and environmental sustainability is growing (from 8% to 13%), especially in Europe and the US.

All of this comes in addition to other values, increasingly relevant ​​to those in need of a product: quality, craftsmanship, exclusivity.

All positive concepts and values – obviously – especially for our beloved Made in Italy that, despite the painful contraction of the domestic market, still stands as one of the largest exporters of these goods defined luxury.

But then I think…

What’s luxury for real?

Can we accept – as Italians – to reduce the idea of luxury to unnecessary goods for the rich? Can we tolerate a concept of luxury merely linked to exclusivity and price, as suggested by the media?

Mr Riccardo Muti helps us in this with the great interview he gave to  Nicoletta Polla Mattiot. He said:
“Luxury is a whisper” 
Intrigued, I look further, and I found a wonderful articole on his Facebook Official page: “The luxury of being Italian.”
Sounds even better, thank you mr. Muti.
Il lusso di essere italiano (Muti)
Mr. Muti’s Idea of luxury is freed from numbers and market values, to approach intangible values:
Everyone should study music (note: or architecture, which in the Renaissance was the same thing): it refines the soul. It leads us towards a better society
I fully agree.
And, what does Mr. Muti look for, when creating music?
What you do not see. What lies beyond. Mozart used to say that music is deeper in the middle, between the sounds and in the sounds
(Just like architecture: not in columns but in the spaces between the columns…).

And yet, the Mr. Muti expresses pride in being Italian: “Being born in Italy is a privilege. I’m proud of my passport and I’d like no other.”

He continues: “As an orchestra leader, I can follow the musical lines of 120 people playing together. I can follow them altogether, but I also perceive each one of them. They all move forward to a common goal: beauty”
And finally, on luxury:
There’s a wonderful luxury offered by music (notice: offer, for free); intensity in elegance, slow and intensive playing, as Toscanini taught us. by Toscanini. It’s also a way of life. Feel the simple, topical difference between screaming “I love you” or whispering it
Touching, isn’t it?
Says Mr. Muti: “I think music shouldn’t be a privilege for the few, but a right for everyone. And it’s a public issue to teach it. No one can own the music.”

Luxury can be seen, therefore, as intangible, cultural, almost spiritual. Is the invaluable value that has shaped the spirit of our culture, in the forms of our art, music, architecture, literature.

We try to define it, but we can’t; it sure is “a whisper” more than an obsession. We can all hear it, but few people really feel it, because it’s not in things, but between things, beyond things.