Still a bright idea

One of my favorite Kartell products, the Bourgie lamp, kicked off its tenth birthday at last weekend’s Maison&Objet in Paris (alas, no, I wasn’t there). Designed by Ferruccio Laviani for the fantastic plastic company ten years ago, the Bourgie has since become an iconic piece.

For the Bourgie’s 10th anniversary, Kartell commissioned 14 reinterpretations by its current stable of designers. Here are some that I am looking forward to seeing:

Top, from left: Front’s cheeky blown-away/melting Bourgie is called Liquid, Tokujin Yoshioka’s star-like version sparks;
Bottom, from left: Alberto Meda’s futuristic, minimalist version; Piero Lissoni’s oversized paper version.

Top, from left: Philippe Starck’s bracelet-wrapped lamp; Christophe Pillet’s matte black “coal” version is the antithesis of the sparkly, transparent original;
Bottom, from left: Patrick Jouin’s version has gold lettering around it that says The future is a present from the past; Nendo inverted and rotated the silhouette of the original to create the mould of their reinterpretation, called Eigruob.

Eugeni Quitlet replaced the single bulb with 10 candles.

Ludovica+Roberto Palomba made a wire version.

From left: Mario Bellini put two and a half Bourgie’s together to make a lamp-coat stand; and Patricia Urquiola deconstructed the Bourgie to make a chandelier.

I interviewed Kartell’s president Claudio Luti in 2011 for a business story for The Peak, and I was really impressed by what he had done with Kartell, particularly the Kartell Museum. I’m excited that he is heading the Salone del Mobile this year — which is one more reason (in addition to seeing the Bourgie anniversary installation) for going back to Milan.

Photos courtesy of Kartell.


Roundtable discussion with Lissoni

There’s a reason I don’t like press conferences and roundtable discussions: I was at a press conference for Queer Eye (yes, that was a long, long time ago), and it was with general media, and I asked Thom Filicia a design question for the architecture magazine I was then writing for. And two days later, this newspaper lifestyle writer published all our questions in her column. All. Not having a journalism background then, I didn’t understand that such open Q&As could be free-for-all, no such thing as etiquette for journalists.

So when we were invited for a roundtable discussion with one of contemporary Italian design’s masters, Piero Lissoni, we nearly declined. What, no exclusive? We’ve quite convinced ourselves that we only publish exclusives (I mean the collective authority “we”).

But I’m glad I went. It was an interesting discussion. Piero Lissoni is a very funny, self-deprecating design icon who reminds me of my mentor, UP College of Architecture former Dean Dan Silvestre (aka Boss D), but with much less angst. He – Lissoni – thinks there are too many design schools, and too many kids who want to be architects and designers, who shouldn’t be because they want it for all the wrong reasons. He thinks certain cultures don’t deserve to breed designers because they haven’t created a design-centric environment that will foster curiosity and creativity. He says: “Unfortunately, in our world architects, like Genghis Khan, are responsible for many many horrible things” – and this, just after he admits to making many mistakes in his career. And yes, Piero Lissoni is an architect. And he says all this with a quiet, melodious voice, and eyes twinkling as if with an inside joke.

I sat across from Lissoni, offered him a band-aid because he cut his finger on the edge of the table (fortunately he didn’t design it), and snapped a picture while he spoke and then signed our monographs. And I’m not scooping us (the collective authority “us”) because some of the other titles at the roundtable have their stories out already. Besides, there’s something altogether different in my story. And an exclusive picture. At least that, we got.