INTERVIEW WITH THE DESIGNER SONIA PEDRAZZINI:
I am a designer, I also deal with graphics, art direction and training and I created Le Morandine, a collection of objects inspired by Morandi’s still lifes.
Le Morandine, I would like to say, are not a simple reference to Giorgio Morandi’s art, but a real relational design project. Through these “inspirational artifacts”, I would like people to create interactions, with each other, with things, between them and Morandi, between them and me. With the slogan: “compose your still life” I encourage them to become everyday artists themselves and to experiment with the art of still life and composition. This is a project between art and design, free, wide-ranging, which evolves and transforms over time and which is also implemented thanks to the action of those who choose these vases and who propose new visions and relationships, even casual and spontaneous. It is a kind of metaproject that starts from Morandi but goes beyond Morandi.
Sonia, when did you get interested in design?
From the age of 18, that is when I attended ISIA in Rome, a historical school, the first public university of Design in Italy. It was the 1980s and the word “design” was only for insiders, it was not so widespread and with the multiple meaning it has today. My interest in design then increased gradually over time and evolved with study and in-depth study. By now being a designer is so deeply rooted in me that even in everyday life, at home and in the family, I behave with the same attitude of someone who has to answer something, solve, create a vision, change perspective … and, for example, it is very easy for me to fix things that break, reuse or reinvent functions, optimize home organization processes, renovate what seems obsolete.
Is there, or has there been, someone or something that has influenced your work?
Surely ISIA itself strongly influenced me, instilling in me those design values that can be traced in the wake of the great traditions of the Bauhaus and the Hochschule für Gestaltung in Ulm. But I owe a lot to my teacher and point of reference Paolo Deganello, a true master who made the history of Design, both as one of the founders of Archizoom and as a recognized professional. He had defined me as a “design animal”, capturing well, in that twenty-year-old student, an enthusiastic, instinctive and rational spirit at the same time.
When you work on a project, where do you start from?
If the project is for a company, I start with the company itself, I ask questions, I push for it to be told, I listen to everything carefully and only then can I begin.
If it’s for a personal or artistic project, I listen to myself and start with an inner need.
What is the most important thing for you in your work?
The most important thing is to be able to keep my thinking and my ethics intact. I am not interested in formal consistency, I do not design by pursuing a style. As I said, everything comes from listening and it is not possible to answer the design question using the same words over and over again.
What is your favorite project to date and why?
There are two works that I prefer, because both are characterized by pioneering and innovative aspects, because they have occupied a long period of time and have been carried out with great passion and intellectual autonomy, generating collaborations and exchanges of ideas; I’m talking about the publishing project Impackt, Contenitori e Contenuti (with Marco Senaldi for Edizioni Dativo) and of course Le Morandine.
What is the element that determines the success of a project?
Success is when a project enters people’s hearts, recognizes it, lives it, remembers it even after years. I would say that even when it is copied it is a success, it means that it has hit the mark.
What do you think of the world of design today?
Impossible to answer in a few lines, it is a complex topic as is the reality of today’s design. We are witnessing drastic and rapid changes in the market and in the design system. We can no longer rely on old axioms and it seems to me that everyone is wondering what his future will be….
In your opinion, what is the future of design?
Here, in fact, the future at this moment is as changeable as this virus that unexpectedly stopped what seemed to never stop. The Salone del Mobile, for example. The pandemic destabilized a system which, although burdened and the bearer of a crisis, continued to reiterate. Now no one knows exactly what will happen. But certainly design will not die, it is right now, in fact, that design can best express its meaning, answer questions and “act” to become an instrument of renewal. To those who understand it and know how to make good use of it, design will offer great possibilities, as in a new renaissance.
What advice would you give to a student eager to pursue your career?
In Italy, I would tell him to give up, if not to immerse himself in our artistic and cultural capital, but since the world is large, fortunately, I would suggest him to study languages, to update himself on everything, to feed his curiosity, to confront himself and talk to as many people as possible, both about design and about different areas. Then I would suggest that he do an honest and sincere examination of conscience and see if he is able to accept all the no’s that he is likely to receive. If he insists, well, he means that he is convinced… it’s a beautiful job.
What’s in your future? Do you have a specific plan that you are determined to follow?
I don’t know if in life the benefit of the doubt or the determination comes first. Apparently I don’t have a precise plan, I give a margin to fate to clear the cards of my destiny. However, if I am still here, it means that I am determined to follow the inscrutable paths of the project. Seriously, the plan I would like to follow is to use design less and less to create new products and more and more as a research and knowledge tool.
At the top: Portrait of Sonia Pedrazzini by Fabrizio Bellafante