Ilaria Marelli, on the fluid design of exteriors, interiors, and lighting

16 August 2022

The designer has just presented a new concept outdoor collection for Ethimo

Hybrid, fluid, quick-change, in one word: current. It is the design of Ilaria Marelli who has been able to center the debate on contemporary design, a debate that revolves around the theme of a house that can adapt to changing needs and an outdoor space to be lived in different ways. For some time now Marelli has adopted this approach applying, over the years, to her projects for some of the most prestigious brands: Nemo, Foscarini, Fiam and now Ethimo. The new collection introduced for this brand at the latest edition of the Salone del Mobile is made up of modular elements of new conception: not the classic sofa or the classic armchair but a platform, as simple as it is innovative, which lends itself to interpreting different moments of life outside.

@Diego Alto

How was the newly introduced Calipso collection for Ethimo born?

The idea arose from the fact that outside we usually find “fenced” sofas just as if we were inside. But in reality, the outdoors is a much freer space in the way of relating and sitting, and from this came the idea of ​​creating a platform to be used freely. Calipso is in fact a flexible system composed of a metal base module with teak slats and a mattress, integrated by a cushion that can function both as a backrest and as an armrest. In addition, there are a round and a rectangular coffee table. Overall, a limited number of pieces which however allows almost unlimited combinations. And the idea is to be able to use it freely: you can lie down, you can sit, you can use it in a more “institutional” or more relaxed way. It is suitable for both a private garden and a contract context also because it is all easily disassembled and can be stored without problems during the winter season.

Calipso collection for Ethimo

How has the concept of furnishing outdoor spaces changed?

There is now a sort of hybridization between indoor and outdoor space: there are many furnishings designed for the outdoors that work perfectly even inside the home. In addition, these furnishings are increasingly easy to disassemble and therefore are sustainable from the beginning.

Calipso collection for Ethimo

One of the most significant projects in your design history is the Ara lamp for Nemo, how did the idea come about?

The idea of ​​flexibility returns to this project as well: Ara was conceived as a sculptural element which, thanks to the dimming and adjustability functions, becomes extremely versatile. It is a minimal light and therefore can be easily introduced in different spaces and can be used both as a functional light and as an atmosphere light.

Ara lamp for Nemo

Going more specifically to the lighting design of an interior, what are the characteristics it must have to work well?

There is a need for both functional and emotional light. Often the light is decided when the project is completed, and this is a mistake because it should be among the very first aspects to be evaluated in the design phase. Especially today that the recessed LED allows interesting solutions.

@Diego Alto

How has the design of a home interior changed?

The central theme is that our life has “fluidized”. Before work and private life were two separate boxes and now the two areas are mixed, and this is reflected in the design of the spaces. You can work from home but also from a vacation spot and this means, for example, that the chairs must be ergonomic but not too technical, because they must always make us feel at home.

Milo for Fiam

This transformation is also reflected in the design of contract spaces: hotels, for example, have organized themselves with coworking spaces and then you see that people perhaps prefer to work in hybrid spaces. And certainly not at the classic desk in the hotel bedroom: so even in projects intended for hospitality we are seeing many changes related to the theme of remote working.

On the cover picture by Andrea Butti.

Ethimo Calipso
Ethimo Calipso
Fiam Milo
Fiam Milo
Fiam Milo
Nemo Ara Floor Lamp
Nemo Ara Floor Lamp

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