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28 June 2022
According to the Milanese architect and designer, quality, conviviality and concreteness are the new faces of luxury
“The return of the Salone del mobile was important for many reasons: from the simple desire to return to Milan in person, to the certainty of seeing interesting things because all the companies presented themselves at the top of their possibilities. But also for the need to rediscover a schedule that was fragmented in the absence of the show “. With these words Nicola Gallizia comments on the newly discovered Salone del Mobile which has just ended, reaffirming the centrality of Milan and its primacy as the world capital of design. City where Gallizia was born and where he graduated in architecture at the Polytechnic, and where he has his own studio from which he designs exclusive and beautiful houses all over the world, as well as furniture and lights for some of the most prestigious brands, Molteni & C and Dada first and foremost.
What is required of a furniture today?
In this show I introduced the new 505 system for Molteni which I wanted to be a response to a newfound need for conviviality but also for the organization of the living area. Inside it contains a series of functional elements that can make it the place where different things happen during the day: home office, TV area and closed storage because in a living room we need many things at hand but also to be able to put them in order easily. In recent times we have seen our children transforming the living room into a study, play and meeting space and therefore having bookcases with a large closed part responds precisely to these needs.
Is it a reflection of the need for a more pragmatic design?
It is certainly a design made thinking about what will happen in the houses, in particular the moments of sociality. For me, the manifesto of this new approach to the home is the bar module of the 505 system: an element that enters the mesh of the system but opens up like a kind of home theater and has everything you need for a home bar. It is a theme to which the whole world of cooking is also responding, which returns to be a space to be lived in and in which different things happen: not only do we cook but we study, work, receive. And it must respond to these functions with a logic of beauty of materials and styles functional to all this.
How is the contract world evolving at the same time?
It has taken the path taken before the pandemic in an even more conscious way. These shared spaces such as hotels and serviced apartments are increasingly moving in the direction of creating a domestic and welcoming dimension. Precisely because we have rediscovered the pleasure of spending time with ourselves in spaces that welcome us with lights, materials, colors that make them islands in which to feel protected and very comfortable. The hotel as a great surprise and flashy luxury is outdated and gives way to something simpler, cleaner, more linear. Because after all we want to be the protagonists of this space that must welcome us and not surprise us with special effects as was the trend until a few years ago.
Is this also a new definition of luxury?
Luxury is also undergoing a change. I have clients with spectacular homes who had never set foot in the kitchen and discovered it during the lock down. A very high percentage of this type of customer asked me for changes or renovations for homes where the kitchen and other spaces are now more connected, without giving up the fact that at a certain level the house is a demonstration of status. For example, until a few years ago the eat-in kitchen did not belong to this target.
Another change in luxury is the generational shift, in emerging countries, such as the East, China, Middle east, even South America. The parents wanted houses focused on the ostentation of their status, hyperdecorated, filled with gold and old-fashioned objects. The new generation, who studied in high-level European or American universities, have confronted peers for whom all this is part of the past and now they want cleaner, more linear houses with a very high quality. The know-how of Italian craftsmanship becomes a fundamental element of clean, essential products, and this recognizes the added value that we have as Italians of working with extraordinary craftsmen, who know how to use materials and techniques on a contemporary design that create unique objects.
In your opinion, are this know-how and these unique skills we have in Italy involved and protected enough?
There was a time, which fortunately I see closing, in which these artisans had great difficulties because the demand for these products was waning, and there was no support from the institutions or the system. Some have closed, sometimes accusing the generational shift. For other more solid companies it was a moment of awareness that certain things had to change and for these today there are great opportunities for expansion.
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