How will Italian design change due to the recent crisis?
I am happy to have spoken to and about this and other topics Luca Nichetto last week in my first interview on Zoom. Luca Nichetto is one of the most interesting Italian designers at the moment. He was born in Venice and graduated there. Today he lives in Stockholm. He spent his quarantine there and ran his multidisciplinary design studio alongside the one in Venice. His past and current collaborations include brands such as Murano-based glass maker Salviati and Italian lighting company Foscarini.
One of his most recent collaborations is the design curation of the Venetian lighting brand Studio Italia Design – now renamed to Lodes. I spoke to him about this last collaboration as well as other design-related topics.
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Interview with Luca Nichetto
1 / How does a rebranding project develop and where did the inspiration come from? Lodes I’m from?
The idea of one Rebranding was born more or less 2 years ago from Massimiliano Tosetto (Lodes General Manager). Rebranding It’s not just about giving a new name, but about the product strategy and the 360-degree redesign. We contacted the communication agency Studio Blanco and in the meantime we thought about the naming. The idea of the name “Lodes ” arose out of the need to find a word that would fit a number of characteristics of the brand and the Venetian space, including in terms of sound and pronunciation. After the name was defined, we started working on the graphic design, starting with a new logo: the goal was to find a logo that would work well today, but will feel up-to-date twenty years from now.
After much discussion we came to the definition of everything in order to present the whole Rebranding at this year’s Salone del Mobile. As we all know, the salone was canceled, but the brand took a bold decision to present it anyway.
“Evolution / Contemporary / Know-how”: after Massimiliano Tosetto (Lodes General Manager), these are the three words to describe it Lodes Rebranding project
2 / How did you spend your blocking period?
My daily life has changed a lot in the last few months, although there has been no real lockdown here in Stockholm, but with my family we decided to put ourselves in quarantine. Since I could no longer travel, I found myself with lots of new free time. I have had the opportunity to spend a lot of time with my family, my children (2 and 5 years old) and at the same time work in the studio – which is only 5 minutes away from home – even though all of my staff are still working smart.
I can say that the work actually never stopped for us. That time was certainly an opportunity to really understand which they are the valuable partnerships and which are the most superficial. In other words, which brands consider design a really important element for the business and which ones consider design redundant to cut the budget at the first difficulty. I think that time has helped everyone understand a lot of things, especially where they put their time and what really valuable collaborations are.
3 / Where do you get your inspiration from in these times when we cannot travel?
The inspiration for projects is coming of all. Not just about travel, but about places, films, people, everything. I must also say that recently, for me, travel has become synonymous with fast travel to work, with really stressful rhythms that left no time for inspiration. What I miss most now is people, I mean human contact: Video conferencing and zooming are alienating and impersonal, and for me human connections are vital in the creative process.
4 / In which direction do you think Italian design is going due to the Covid crisis?
I think that has been the general Italian attitude so far very conservative. That means not seeing this crisis as a moment of opportunity to completely rethink a business model. However, it must also be said that Italy’s strength lies in finding solutions and reinventing itself as a country constantly in crisis. The difference is that in this case it is a real systemic crisis, not just financial, but one that has stalled the world and brought to the surface everything that didn’t work.
I think Covid was a great accelerator That showed us what wasn’t working in three months and, in a very short time, raised problems that we might not have noticed for many years.
“The Covid crisis has accelerated priorities that had been in the air for a while. The ability to adapt to unstable scenarios is certainly an opportunity, but also a necessity for survival. We have been talking about a liquid society with changing needs for some time, but this crisis has really confirmed that today’s certainties may not last until tomorrow. For companies, this means defining clear strategies and being able to adapt their implementation to changing contexts. In our case, we worked on the evolution strategy of our company and our brand for some time and were able to adapt our plans to the conditioned situation without questioning our vision. ” Massimiliano Tosetto (Lodes General Manager)
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5 / What is your connection to Venice and how is this reflected in your projects?
Even though I live in Stockholm now, Venice is still my cityas well as the city where my studio is located (together with Stockholm). Venice continues to be a source of inspiration for me on many levels, as many of my projects have emerged from Venice, both from a conceptual perspective and using materials. I really like the idea of staying tied to my origins, probably also as gratitude to the city itself.
6 / Tell me about the product that you think will best represent Lodes.
The products that are coming out soon, of course!
7 / Can you give us a preview?
I can tell you that in addition to my new designs, there will also be one by a very famous French designer and other international contributions so there won’t just be products designed by me.
8 / The last question I always asked in IB interviews: could you please give some advice to young designers? Especially at this difficult moment?
Unfortunately, I fear that design and creative business in general will be one of the categories that will suffer the most from this crisis. This is because brands are likely to invest fewer resources in design in the near future. But we can also use this as an opportunity and creativity plays a key role here. The advice I want to give to a young student approaching the world of design is to really think: “out of the box“: That means not following stereotypes and the“ standard ”typology of successful designers, but rather find a new way to do the job.
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