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12 July 2021
The Dainelli studio tells its story through some of its latest projects, including his own home.
Leonardo and Marzia Dainelli founded the studio that bears their name in 2007, in Pisa, in an area surrounded by marble quarries and artisanal production companies of the highest level. The two designers absorb this know-how and keep it when they move to Milan, with the awareness of having with them a precious baggage of design and production culture. The companies they work with are also aware of this, including Arketipo, Fiam, Frag, Fratelli Boffi, Gallotti & Radice, Gebrüder Thonet Vienna, Giorgetti, Lema, Londonart, Mogg and Porada. All brands united by an aesthetic elegance and a refined and cultured approach to materials that the Dainelli have been able to indulge and at the same time enrich with their style. Picture on the cover by Alberto Strada.
How did the project for the Lilas armchair by Gallotti & Radice and the idea for its so characteristic shape come about?
The Lilas armchair was born first of all from an evocation of the 70s, which we are retracing a bit with Gallotti & Radice. We liked to contextualize it in a contemporary setting by giving rigorous but at the same time gentle, rounded shapes. It is inscribed in a square but at the same time we have defined it as comfort squared. But we then lightened all the angularities that a square would have generated. This is to make it more graceful and welcoming to the eye and in the end it is also very comfortable despite having small dimensions. In addition, having no feet, it can be combined with any sofa and inserted in any type of environment.
Pictures by Matteo Imbriani.
Another very particular armchair is the Belair for Arketipo: how did this project come about?
Here too the root is an evocation but of the 1930s and 1940s of Scandinavian design, in a historical moment in which curves were experimented with metal. And looking at the designs of Milo Baughman, of Charls Pollack, we were inspired by that world and made everything much more comfortable. If in those days they used flaps of leather or very technical canvases, we have inserted cushions that determine both the appearance and a feeling of welcome when used.
Pictures courtesy Arketipo.
In the Jannis collection, how did you make your style meet the tradition of Gebrüder Thonet Vienna?
When we were contacted to design a sofa for Thonet we were very happy, and we were then immediately told that we had to keep the stylistic recognizability of the company but avoid Vienna straw. An interesting but difficult challenge that we think we have won.
Picture courtesy Gebrüder Thonet Vienna.
Is there a value, in particular, that you carry forward in your work?
Ethics understood both towards us as the identity of our firm, ethics towards companies and also towards private clients. I believe it is an important topic today. Putting ourselves alongside companies and listening to their needs in order to shape ourselves around them, their know-how and the furnishing trend they pursue. Without losing our identity but without imposing our style. After all, there is a stylistic coherence between us and the companies we work with.
Finally, how would you define your home?
Right now it is complete because we took advantage of the lock down to complete it. But it is in continuity, we like change, so even if today it is complete it will change because needs change and because we like to change. It is also a professional matter: we bring many prototypes into the house and in any case, having the opportunity to discover new trends and new objects, we are still more inclined to change. And it is truly our home because it is almost totally made to measure, except for some “references” such as the old Thonet chairs, the Giò Ponti tables, the Sacco armchair by Zanotta. For the rest it is almost entirely made on our design.
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