by Saxon Henry DesignCommotion wanted to know how Giulio Cappellini, who is in charge of the artistic direction for Cappellini, manages to stay on the leading edge of contemporary Italian design. Here’s what he had to say:
DC: 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.
DC: 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.
DC: 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.
DC: 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.
DC: 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.
DC: You have said that you work to nurture long-sellers rather than bestsellers when you work with designers. Who do you think is your newest long seller?
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.
DC: 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.
DC: 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.
DC: 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.
DC: 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.
Saxon Henry is now Miami’s Interior Decorating Examiner