How is Italian design going to change because of the recent crisis?
I am happy to having discussed about this and other topics together with Luca Nichetto last week, in my first interview on Zoom. Luca Nichetto is one of the most interesting Italian designers at present, born and graduated in Venice, now based in Stockholm. There, he spent his quarantine and he run his multidisciplinary design studio, besides the one in Venice. Art director for many international design brands, his past and present collaborations include brands like the Murano-based glass maker Salviati and Italian lighting company Foscarini.
Among his latest collaborations, the design curation of Venetian lighting brand Studio Italia Design – now rebranded into Lodes. I discussed with him about this last collaboration, as well as about other topics related to design.
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Interview with Luca Nichetto
1 / How does a rebranding project develop and where did the inspiration for Lodes come from?
The idea of a rebranding was born more or less 2 years ago from Massimiliano Tosetto (Lodes General Manager). Rebranding is not simply a matter of giving a new name, it is a question of product strategy and 360-degree redesign. We contacted the communication agency Studio Blanco and, in the meantime, we brainstormed for the naming. The idea of the name “Lodes” was born from the need to find a word that would fit a series of characteristics of the brand and of the Venetian area as well, also in terms of sound and pronunciation. Once the name was defined, we began to work on the graphic design, starting with a new logo: here, the aim was to find a logo which could work well today but feel current also in twenty years.
After many discussions, we came to the definition of everything, in order to present the complete rebranding at this year’s Salone del Mobile. As we all know, the Salone was canceled but the brand, with a lot of courage, decided to present it anyway.
” Evolution / Contemporaneity /Know-How ” : according to Massimiliano Tosetto (Lodes General Manager), these are the three words to describe the Lodes rebranding project
2 / How did you spent your lockdown time?
My daily life has changed a lot in the last months, despite the fact that there hasn’t been a real lockdown here in Stockholm, but with my family we chose to quarantine ourselves. Also, by not being able to travel anymore, I found myself with a lot of new free time. I had the opportunity to spend a lot of time with my family, with my children (2 and 5 years old), and at the same time to work in the studio – which is only 5 minutes from home – , even if all my collaborators are still in smart working.
I can say that for us the work actually never stopped. This period has certainly been an opportunity to truly understand which are the valuable partnerships and which are the most superficial ones. In other words, which brands consider design as a really important element for the company and, instead, which ones tend to consider design as something superfluous, to be cut in the budget at the first difficulty. I think this period has helped everyone in understand many things, especially in where to invest their time and what really valuable collaborations are.
3 / Where are you drawing the inspiration from, in these times when we can’t travel?
The inspiration for projects comes from everything. Not just from travel, but from places, movies, people, anything. I also have to say that, lately, for me, traveling had become synonymous with fast travels for work, with really stressful rhythms, which left no time for inspiration. The thing I miss the most now is people, I mean, human contact: videoconferencing and zooming are alienating and impersonal, and to me human connections are crucial in the creative process.
4 / Which direction is taking Italian design, in your opinion, because of the Covid crisis?
I think that the Italian attitude, in general, has been so far very conservative. That is, unwilling to see this crisis as a moment of opportunity to completely rethink a business model. It must also be said, however, that Italy’s strength is in finding solutions and reinventing itself , as a country that is perpetually in crisis. The difference is that in this case it is a true systemic crisis, not just a financial one, a crisis that has forced the world stop and that brought to the surface everything which didn’t worked.
I think Covid was a big accelerator which showed us what is not working in three months, bringing out in a very short time issues that maybe we would have noticed only over many years.
“The Covid crisis has accelerated priorities that had been in the air for some time. Surely the ability to adapt to unstable scenarios is an opportunity but also a necessity for survival. For some time we have been talking about a liquid society, of changing needs, but this crisis has truly confirmed that the certainties of today may not reach tomorrow. For companies, it means defining clear strategies and being able to adapt their implementation to changing contexts. In our case, we had been working for some time on the evolution strategy of our company and brand and we were able to change our plans to the contingent situation without questioning our vision.” Massimiliano Tosetto (Lodes General Manager)
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5 / Which is the link with Venice and how this reflects in your projects?
Even though now I live in Stockholm, Venice still continues to be my city, as well as the city where my studio is based (together with Stockholm). For me , Venice also continues to be a source of inspiration in many levels, as many of my projects were born from Venice both from the point of view of the Concept and in the use of materials. I really like the idea of staying tied to my origins, probably also as a form of gratitude towards the city itself.
6 / Tell me about the product that you think represents Lodes in the best way.
The products that are coming out soon, of course!
7 / Can you give us some previews?
I can tell you that, in addition to my new designs, there will be also one from a very famous French designer and other international contributions, so there will not be only products designed by me.
8 / The last question I always did in IB interviews: could you please give an advice to young designers? Especially in this difficult moment?
Unfortunately , my fear is that design, and creative business in general, is one of the categories that will suffer the most from this crisis. This is because brands will probably invest fewer resources in design in the near future. But we can take this as an opportunity as well and creativity here plays a key role. They advice I would like give to a young student who approaches the world of design is really to think “outofthebox“: that is, to not follow stereotypes and the “standard” typology of successful designers, but to invent a new way to carry out the profession.
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