Milan 2023 | In Conversation with Architect Piero Lissoni

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    est editor Sophie Lewis speaks with architect Piero Lissoni during Milan Design Week and Salone del Mobile 2023.

    In this interview, Piero Lissoni shares his architectural approach to space, the importance of revisiting classic designs and his perspective on product design for the future.

    Produced in partnership with Boffi Melbourne and Sydney studio

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    Designer Piero Lissoni

    SL: Your name was across multiple standout exhibits, showrooms and products at Milan Design Week and Salone del Mobile in 2023. What excited you most this year, especially when thinking about the future?

    PL: Good question. For me, it was a beautiful week; it was good at Salone del Mobile and in Milan, full of different exhibitions, attitudes and pieces. I think Milan has become the worldwide capital of design again. Importantly, this is due to a combination of Milan Design Week and Salone del Mobile. Together, they become something unique. Milan Design Week or Salone del Mobile can’t exist in isolation. For the future, this week is the most important and topical in the world.

    SL: You opened your studio to the public with an exhibition of your recent work across architecture, interiors, product design and graphics, with a special installation and cafe lounge. As a design studio, why do you invite people into your space?

    PL: Normally, our studio is open year-round. If you ring the bell, we will welcome you. During Salone del Mobile and Milan Design Week, I like to show our open-mindedness and share our experiences. In the end, they are just experiences, nothing more. More than two or three thousand people visited us this year. Milan was full of queues everywhere, so we offered a good Illy coffee and opened our studio in a very familial way.

    SL: This year, Boffi presented revisions to their existing offering, such as new finishing for the Case 5.0 kitchen and Case 5.0 bathroom – designs you envisaged 20 years ago. Why is it important to revise enduring designs?

    PL: If you think about the constant modification in everyday things such as our computers, we are always revitalising the everyday. In cars, you see the same sense of remodelling every six or seven months. We don’t follow the same timelines or modernise to the same rhythm, but we do more or less the same when we touch these old products.

    In a way, we need to be gentle with them because otherwise, they become old in a few years, you need to retouch them, so they can be new. We are not in a fashion business, and thinking from another point of view, we don’t need to redesign collection and collection and collection. We just need to evolve the everyday.

    “I like to see currency, creativity, some aesthetic rules, culture, curiosity and connectivity. You can say you area designer, but that is not enough.”


    – Piero Lissoni

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    SL: How did your 2023 offering for Milan Design Week reflect an evolution of the Boffi brand?

    PL: If you fix the rules inside the furniture language, in the end, you are fixing the rules. I like to jump out and use some other rules. For that reason, I think it’s really special, the new language of Boffi, it’s not only furniture, it’s not only kitchens, it’s not only wardrobes or bookshelves –everything is connected with this new capacity to design houses, spaces or opportunities. With that new attitude, you change the rules of spaces and furniture, furniture that is all completely interrelated.

    SL: De Padova launched the Honore set by Elisa Ossino at Milan Design Week, featuring organic shapes and minimalist design. How does collaborating with different designers enhance a brand?

    PL: There is a richness of the language that I credit for the success of Boffi and De Padova, which comes through collaborating with different designers with different design languages and styles. They are all brought together by an understanding of the capacity of designing for our perspective on the new house – or a new world. There is a level of consciousness to be different.

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    Boffi CASE 5.0 kitchen with island, BECOMING collection, designed by Piero Lissoni.

    SL: You are creative director across multiple Italian legacy brands – how do you ensure the work remains true to is each brand’s DNA?

    PL: I am only one piece of the team – it’s a strong and functional collaboration, and I need to be a piece of a team to ensure success.

    SL: As a creative director, what qualities do you for look for in a product designer?

    PL: I try to find many different qualities. I like to see currency, creativity, some aesthetic rules, culture, curiosity and connectivity. You can say you are a designer, but that is not enough. You need many ingredients and many different components.

    SL: What advice would you give an emerging designer in 2023?

    PL: You need only to survive [laughs]. And at the same time, you need to continue to work. If you want to be a designer, you need to study, be curious, and you need to be well-prepared for 2024 – the next Salone del Mobile.

    This article was featured in the latest issue of est magazine, the Milan 2023 Special Issue

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    Showering by ADL, designed by Massimo Luca and available at Boffi.

  • explore piero lissoni's designs for boffi

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