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cerruti baleri x Maison Martin Margiela & Maurizio Galante

From MMM’s ‘géométries variables’ to Maurizio Galante’s hyper-real prints, cerruti baleri brings fun, humour and surrealism to interior design

For the 2011 edition of the Fuorisalone, the showroom of Italian design company cerruti baleri was transformed into a multi-spatial showcase that perfectly symbolised the plurality of inspirations represented by the company. The showroom was indeed divided in five sections to present visitors the new pieces from the Edizioni and Collezioni lines. This year the Edizioni line features new products designed by Maurizio Galante and by Maison Martin Margiela, the latter also created a series of 13 objects including black and white trompe l’oeil panels, egg-shaped doorstoppers and magnifying glasses in the shape of thick-framed eyeglasses.

The Collezioni line includes instead Alberto Colzani’s hide leather armchair “Medea”, Jeff Miller’s “Fratino” table, a new version of Leonardo Perugi’s seat “Drop” and a reinterpretation of the historical “Capri Venus” from the cerruti baleri archives transformed for the occasion into a deconstructed piece inspired by the Venus of Willendorf. The different environments of the showroom complemented each other, states cerruti baleri Art Director Federico Carandini, exemplifying the company’s spirit of innovation.  

Dazed Digital: Apart from presenting new versions of the iconic “Groupe” sofa and “Emmanuelle” armchair, Maison Martin Margiela launched new pieces, can you tell us more about them?
Federico Carandini:
The maison is introducing two new pieces of furniture this year: “Sbilenco”, an ‘unstable’ table, and “Undersized”, an undersized sofa. The former comes in three versions – a coffee table, a side-table or a console – in black ash wood or silver grey tanganika. Though this is a very functional object it still retains a surprise element and the trademark humour and irony that characterise the maison. In all the “Sbilenco” tables two legs are shorter than the others, so the structure looks shaky and offset, though it’s actually balanced by a drawer and a thick clear glass top. “Undersized” is also an extremely practical piece since it’s a two or three-seat sofa characterised by an ultra-compact yet comfortable and ergonomic shape that occupies the same space of an armchair and a chair, so it’s perfect for people who don’t have huge houses.
DD: This year’s collection seems to play a lot on volumes and proportions, does it take its inspiration from fashion?
Federico Carandini:
Some of our collaborations are directly connected with the world of fashion. In a way that’s perfectly understandable since the origins of our company are steeped in the fashion industry. Yet we always tend to choose to collaborate with fashion houses and designers who share our vision, so we do not try to give a fashionable edge to interior design pieces, but we conceive our projects as ways to reflect modern passions and trends. “Sbilenco” and “Undersized” actually try to bring back into the world of interior design some historical elements of Margiela’s maison. While working on these pieces the Margiela team remembered that when Martin was still active the maison did a catwalk show that featured models sashaying down the runway in undersized or oversized shoes. The “Sbilenco” tables reference that specific collection and catwalk show. This project is therefore not directly inspired by current fashion trends, but by the maison’s history.  

DD: The new prints for Maurizio Galante’s pieces look extremely real, what’s the technique behind them?
Federico Carandini:
In the showroom window we introduced the new prints created by Galante for the “Tattoo”, a flexible seating or footrest in the shape of an egg (“tato”, based on Denis Santachiara’s design) or a sphere (“tatino”, based on Enrico Baleri and Denis Santachiara’s design) with internal anatomical rigid structure and plastic base. Complex digital images created by Galante are printed on the bi-elastic technical-fabric cover that, once stretched over the seating or footrest, shows three-dimensional images. The prints look absolutely extraordinary and I would say they ‘transcend’ the design, turning the pieces into objects characterised by a tremendous energy.

DD: How many prints are you launching this year for Galante’s pieces?
Federico Carandini:
This year we have five new prints: three imitate marble and look absolutely spectacular since we played with issues of weight and each piece features a surface that seems to create optical illusions via three-dimensional perceptions. The other two prints represent Eve’s apple and Snow White’s apple, so the shape has been changed to make it look as much as possible like an apple. We also showcased in our showroom a piece Galante created for the Ecole de la Chambre Syndicale de la Couture Parisienne, the “Canapé Cactus”, a fun sofa that looks like an agglomerate of circular cacti and that has been praised a lot by the international press.

DD: Why did you decide for the second year to showcase the new pieces during the Fuorisalone?
Federico Carandini:
We have decided to leave the main fair spaces because, at times, when you’re showcasing inside a pavilion, you tend to forget where you are. You may be showing in Paris, Milan or Cologne, it could be January or April and you wouldn’t even realise it. The Fuorisalone takes instead place in the streets of Milan and this allows us to get out of standardised schemes and become a part of the fabric of the city, meeting in this way local people and visitors.  

DD: Milan Design Week has become in the last few years an increasingly important event: in your opinion what kind of new developments will we see in future?
Federico Carandini:
I think we will see further contaminations and collaborations between different disciplines and industries. Choosing to present the pieces in our showroom in the city centre was a way to start looking at the future and merge together inspirations and ideas taken from other industries and fields.  

Images of cerruti baleri showroom by Fabio Paleari; photos of Maison Martin Margiela and Maurizio Galante pieces by Ezio Manciucca; Maurizio Galante’s apple “Tattoos” by Andrea Martiradonna.