Italian architect, art director and designer, Piero Lissoni, has studios in Milan and New York and since the mid-1980s has worked on establishing a practice that weaves between the design of buildings, furniture, exhibitions, and graphics. It is a studio that is grounded in the traditions of Italian design fluidity, with an interdisciplinary team that this year launched some of the most interesting installations and furniture collections during Milan Design Week.
At Milan Design Week, Piero Lissoni opened up his Brera studio to reveal collections for B&B Italia, Flos, Glas Italia, Kartell, Knoll, Living Divani, and Porro, amongst others. It was the first time they had held an 'open house' and received more than 1,400 visitors. It was so popular the studio repeated the exercise during ICFF in New York this month, showing off their brand new space in the heart of Soho along with the firm’s philosophy and design approach behind the scenes.
In both cities, the studio shared insights on how "projects morph from an idea, an inspirational element or a challenge into a fully articulated design concept". Important in connecting with the public and developing a deeper understanding of what designers do, the team presented process sketches and virtual reality experiences to demonstrate the breadth of the creative process, with studio members there to guide visitors and field questions.
It is this interest in how design permeates all parts of the city that underpins Lissoni’s approach to design. How design is ever present was celebrated at exhibitions for Living Design, showcasing 50 years of Living Divani and their 30 year collaboration with the “50+30 Exhibition” and with “The Uncollected Collection”, a selection of 10 design pieces that are "both possible and impossible and which speak with a dual voice: one heavy and one light”. While also participating in one of the most talked about shows this year, “Ro-Plastic Masters” curated by Rossana Orlandi that highlighted the leading role designers must play to address one of the world’s biggest threats – waste.
New products from the studio include Glas Italia’s Aladin and wall partition; limited edition pieces for the The Uncollected Collection with Living Divani; and five pieces for Porro – the Brina stool, Byron bed, Frank Club armchair, Offshore storage unit, and Pascal table, and the Dock sofa, stool, and coffee table for B&B Italia.
“When you start to discuss with B&B Italia’s factory,” remarks Lissoni. “in a romantic way it’s like being inside a novel. For me, it’s a long, long, long discussion and a long debate. Without the B&B team, the technician, engineer, tasteful people, nothing happens. We always start together.”