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Maison Martin Margiela x Cerruti Baleri Furniture

Italian furniture experts Cerruti Baleri presents two interior design products with Maison Martin Margiela launched at Milan’s Fuorisalone

Founded in 1984, the Baleri Italia company is well-known for manufacturing high quality pieces of interior design. Baleri’s heritage and its collaborations with different talented designers acquired new strength after Nino Cerruti acquired the company, bringing a textile and fabric know-how into the company. Yesterday, cerruti baleri launched four new products during Milan’s Fuorisalone; Alberto Colzani’s hide leather armchair “Medea”, Jeff Miller’s black marble column container “Plato Alto”, Leonardo Perugi’s transformable seat “Drop” and Benedetto Quaquaro’s modular bookcase “Tok” – and a surprising collaboration with Maison Martin Margiela.

The Italian company edited two products designed by Maison Martin Margiela; 'Groupe', a surrealist sofa that incorporates three armchairs, and 'Emmanuelle', an armchair wrapped in white cotton canvas. Ironic and iconic, the two products represent for Federico Carandini, cerruti baleri Art Director, the perfect synthesis between MMM's creativity and style, cerruti baleri’s savoir-faire and Nino Cerruti’s quality fabrics. Dazed Digital sat down with Mr Carandini...

Dazed Digital: What sparked the collaboration between cerruti baleri and Maison Martin Margiela?
Federico Carandini: The Maison has a team that works on the Margiela showrooms, shops and display spaces. The team was pursuing in depth the possibilities offered by interior design, focusing on creating a piece of furniture. They came to see our collections and they liked our products and modus operandi. So basically everything started from there. What I found fascinating about this Maison is that it has a strong affinity with the world of interior design: Maison Martin Margiela was always about a team, its creations and products and not just about one “celebrity” designer. The same thing happens for what regards the design industry where there is usually an entire team working behind a product. The Maison is mainly based on three main aspects; recuperation, transformation and reinterpretation. These three keywords make it unique compared to other fashion houses and I must admit that for us it was a challenge to turn their ideas into saleable products with a proper market, but it was an absolutely intriguing challenge.

DD: In your opinion which was the most exciting aspect of this collaboration?
Federico Carandini: cerruti baleri previously worked with different designers such as Jeff Miller, Arik Levy, Alberto Colzani and Xavier Lust and the 'Edizioni' line will also include the projects 'The Other' by Ilse Crawford and 'Galanterie' by Maurizio Galante. All these designers are single entities, if I may call them so, while Maison Martin Margiela is embodied by an entire team of people, so we had to take care of this aspect and of its image, identity and philosophy. The most extraordinary thing about this collaboration was finding a sort of affinity in the way we work, in the environments we develop our projects and even in our moods. There was a special chemistry behind this collaboration that allowed us to work very well together.   

DD: Compared to last year, in which ways has the presentation of the Maison’s products changed?
Federico Carandini: Maison Martin Margiela didn’t present specific products at the previous furniture fair in Milan, but they recreated in the district of Tortona the atmosphere of the Maison’s Interior Design workshop in Paris, integrating in it pieces they were studying and developing for the showroom spaces. This year the main aim was creating a space where they could present not only the Maison’s image, but also proper products. Visitors will be able to admire the products in a space of our showroom entirely curated by the Maison’s team. The Maison’s previously worked with white environments and products, but things have slightly changed thanks to a few innovations introduced in the chromatic scale that allowed us to highlight the lines and silhouettes of the two products presented. We are also showcasing more than one armchair and sofa to remind our visitors that these products are for sale and they are not prototypes.

DD: This collaboration has a strong fashion element: in your opinion, are there any similarities between fashion and interior design?
Federico Carandini: Fashion and interior design have some strong similarities for our company, especially when it comes to the materials employed in both these industries. We use for example a lot of fabrics from the Cerruti wool factory, so we incorporate in our pieces a lot of materials that were originally created with the fashion industry in mind. Materials are very important in our work, they represent the added value of our products as it is also proved by the research that goes behind our pieces in marble, wood or incorporating hide leather and fabric. 
DD: Milan Fashion Week has been losing out to overseas visitors, yet more and more people seem interested in attending the International Furniture Fair: in your opinion, why are the Salone and Fuorisalone visitors soaring? 
Federico Carandini: The Salone del Mobile is, from a historical point of view, one of the most important events in Milan. I do personally know a lot of people who work in the fashion industry who come to visit Milan’s Salone del Mobile and Fuorisalone, though they’re usually more interested in the latter. Yet, often, people who are into interior design do not go to fashion catwalks. This happens because fashion is perceived as something that belongs only to one part of the society, while what regards the spaces that surround us or our houses is relevant to all of us. I don’t share such a vision, because I do feel both fashion and interior design are on a par.

DD: Many contemporary fashion designers or brands have started creating interior design pieces, what do you think about such contaminations between these two fields?
Federico Carandini: There have been a lot of contaminations between the world of fashion and the world of design, but we must remember that most fashion houses that started working in the interior design field have created modern and contemporary pieces that can’t be filed under the “design” category. I’m not criticising such companies, but I think we must be careful and try to differentiate proper cutting edge design – characterised by a true contamination between fashion and design and by an in depth research – from what may be considered as just contemporary pieces of interior design.

DD: Which are your favourite products for the current cerruti baleri collections?
Federico Carandini: I do like all the designers we have worked with, but I have a soft spot for Jeff Miller’s pieces, since I love their sculptural beauty. My favourite piece created for Maison Martin Margiela is the Groupe sofa.

The Maison Martin Margiela and cerruti baleri collaboration is at the cerruti baleri showroom, via Felice Cavallotti, 8, Milan, until 19th April.