MOHD interviews: Gabriele Buratti, the transversal designer born in carpentry

13 September 2021

GABRIELE E OSCAR BURATTI

With his brother Oscar he founded a successful design studio, taking with him the teachings of the family carpentry

The childhood spent in the family carpentry was the beginning of a successful career and life. University training at the Milan Polytechnic expanded and articulated the design vision and brought together the many ideas that Oscar and Gabriele Buratti had drawn, observing the architects who attended the workshop at work. It is precisely this in-depth and dense training that made it possible to develop the ability to dominate a project from small to large, from product detail to architecture. With an enviable knowledge of materials and their potential.

What brought you to the profession of architect: the background, a common passion?

Oscar and I are two brothers and our parents had a carpentry shop and everything started from there: we grew up in the midst of woods, vines, nails. But also seeing drawings made in 1: 1 scale on a sheet of plywood and having the opportunity to observe the architects who came to the carpentry. So I believe that, unconsciously, everything starts from there. Then, of course, he took shape at the faculty of architecture of the Milan Polytechnic, where he passed from an artisan training to an architect’s training.

In your collaborations, there is a desire to select the companies you work with, all united by great elegance, research on materials and generally high standards. So what determines the elegance of an interior?

We, like other Italians, have a transversal culture. Choosing to deal with design at 360 ° implies the ability to govern the scale. Going from an architectural scale, to a product one to an interior one is not easy. Elegance means taking care of things a lot, choosing well, right from the smallest detail. The thing that characterizes us is to think of elegance also in terms of space, not just in terms of objects. Let’s think about the domestic landscape and the landscape in general. A landscape made of lights, materials, colors and above all inhabited by people. And we like to work for elegant people, with elegant materials and elegant companies.

And then we return to the transversal vision at the various scales of the project.

In general, we can also talk about beauty: living within beauty is a need of people. A fundamental thing for the quality of life of people. And I believe that in this period we have realized that living in bad houses has a negative impact on life. The problem is not just the functionality, the functionality is the starting point for creating an object that you can like.

How was the Meridiano lamp born?

It is one of the three lamps in the trilogy for Fontana Arte which started with the Equatore lamp and continued with Meridiano and Tropico. In all three the starting point is the light source which, with the advent of the LED, is no longer able to generate a shape – as opposed to incandescent bulbs which had a shape to which one had to adapt. The light therefore has to be encapsulated in a shape that has to be drawn. To do this, for Meridiano, we went back to the typical materials of Fontana Arte which are glass and metal, to reposition the company within its tradition through these two materials.

What is the genesis of the Akiko armchair for Gallotti & Radice?

The relationship with the company is very structured, we have often made tables and other “hard” furniture, but we have always had the desire to do something soft. This chair is our interpretation of the small armchair that we wanted to redesign starting from the shape of the circle. A sign that makes this iconic armchair, recognizable. Another aspect that we like about this project is the weight ratio between the abundant seat and the slender structure, which recalls the aesthetics of the flamingo.

The theme of the balance between hard and soft materials returns to the Abacus sofa designed for Porada, can you tell us about this project?

A relationship of mutual respect and trust has also been created with Porada. Abacus is a very comfortable, welcoming sofa that is easy to recognize and appreciate. We have introduced the theme of geometries to give the domestic landscape a particular characterization and the theme of the recovery of wood for one of the two armrests that becomes a sort of coffee table.

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