Having had the opportunity to cover the design world for nearly two decades, we at adroyt have racked up quite a queue of quality content we feel is well worth sharing. We’ve been combing the archives to find those we’ve already covered who are back in the news. Today we’re catching up with Guilio Cappellini, whom we had the pleasure of meeting when the Miami Poltrona Frau group brought the Cappellini brand to the tropical town. The savvy group opened a Cappellini flagship showroom within their Miami Design District space in 2009, bringing Cappellini himself to the event. We had the opportunity to interview the design visionary and he graciously granted us the above photo op, a picture we treasure to this day. When the Poltrona Frau group built an artful 27,000-square-foot showroom around the corner from the prior location last year, they asked the Italian maestro to design it, and, lucky for the Miami design scene, he said yes.
In the earlier interview, we asked Mr. Cappellini how he manages to stay on the leading edge of contemporary Italian design. His answers follow what he had to say about his designs for the new showroom, which adroyt visited during Art Basel Miami Beach/Design Miami week last December:
ADROYT: Tell me about your inspiration for the design of the new showroom.
GC: It was the light and warm colors of the city, especially the fuchsia walls, which echo some of the colors seen at the airport—the first color I noticed when I came to Miami. Also, the exteriors of the Art Deco buildings in town inspired me. Cappellini uses different colors for its flagship showrooms in each city by binding to the history, culture and local traditions of the city. This was my focus in Miami with the Poltrona Frau showroom.
ADROYT: What do you like most about the new showroom?
GC: I like the big, open spaces—a warm space that invites you to rest, like a luxury lounge in which to spend time not just a store to visit and then quickly leave.
ADROYT: Your very name is synonymous with avant-garde Italian design: what is it about you that you believe has set you apart in the design world?
GC: The continuous desire to innovate, risk and search for new and interesting creative people in the world. I have always had this coherent approach whilst thinking that there are always more new things to do in the design sector.
ADROYT: As you scout and nourish new design talent, what do you look for in the beginning that proves there’s a kernel of genius in the person’s designs?
GC: It is important to understand if there are signs of research, of great personal and original innovation in a young designer, and if they are ready to question themselves, as making a product is something serious.
ADROYT: You have said that one of your responsibilities is to make designers dream. How do you foster this level of synergy with the designers with whom you collaborate?
GC: It is important to find a perfect feeling between myself and the designer. You can discuss, try and work for a long period of time on a project with the aim of creating a good product only if you have the right harmony.
ADROYT: Why do you think Miami has become a U.S. epicenter for Italian design?
GC: I think that Miami is a contemporary city, open to different cultures and therefore completely open to new stimulus in art and design.
ADROYT: How have you seen Italian design change over the course of your career?
GC: From the 1950s to the 1980s, Italian design has been characterized by strong stylistic and functional innovation. It seems that in the last few years many companies have concentrated more on presenting lifestyle than extraordinary products, something that I think should be the true vocation of a brand.
ADROYT: You have said that you work to nurture long-sellers rather than bestsellers when you work with designers. Can you give me a few examples of your long sellers?
GC: Most definitely the Mr. Bugatti chairs by François Azambourg and the Lotus seating collection by Jasper Morrison because they are complex, innovative and honest products.
ADROYT: What do you love most about what you do?
GC: What I most like is to think that there is always so much yet to do in design. It is not true that everything has already been done.
ADROYT: If you could change anything about your profession, what would it be?
GC: I would try and make products that are closer to the public’s requirements, and that can also make them dream.
ADROYT: What is the most exciting thing you’ve done in your work during the past several years?
GC: Definitely having had the possibility to meet and collaborate with fantastic people such as Achille Castiglioni, Shiro Kuramata, Jasper Morrison and many others. Exchanging ideas with these people has given me the possibility to really grow from a cultural point of view.
ADROYT: When you were a child, were there signs that you would be involved in some type of design? How did your creativity show itself at an early age?
GC: I have always been curious and I have always liked playing with forms and colors, being attracted most of all by simplicity, in a sophisticated and not banal way. My dream has always been to create fascinating and innovative objects.
Next up, we’ll bring you some behind-the-scenes reporting on MAD’s Home Front series, curated and moderated by Surface Magazine’s Dan Rubinsten. The Museum of Arts and Design in NYC hosts the series, which will bring Alex Munstonen, Christopher K. Ho, Chaire Warner, Parrish/Rash, Sam Vinz, Snarkitecture, Temperature 2012 and Volume Gallery to the fore. Is your blood pumping like ours is?