A couple is a very strange thing. It’s made up of two people, yet it’s not plural. It doesn’t come from merging two people together, but rather from their coexistence.
A couple is a unit: firm, functional, operational. When it’s well centred and irresistibly magnetic, everything else revolves around it – including several fantastic design projects.
She’s one of the first women in Italy to hold a degree in Architecture and he’s a chemical engineer, who became an entrepreneur with a thing for plastics: this is how Kartell was born.
A blueprint for love, without a doubt: Giulio and Anna Castelli Ferrieri are husband and wife, as well as being business partners. In 1949, Giulio graduated from chemical engineering and Anna had been working for an architecture practice in Milan for the previous three years, Kartell was founded too, a firm entirely devoted to manufacturing plastic objects.
This partnership was to make its debut a few years later, in 1967, at the Salone del Mobile in Milan, no less. It’s here that the Componibili by Kartell, designed by Anna, were presented to the design industry. They were to revolutionise the idea of what a chest of drawers should look like and end up in homes and museums all over the world.
Anna and Giulio’s story is about two Italian creative professionals, deeply rooted in the second half of the twentieth century with its cultural momentum. He helped establish the association for industrial design (ADI), as well as acting as Kartell’s president until his death in 2006, only a few months before Anna’s own death. She had been an architect, professor at the Polytechnic of Milan and for a short period of time, ADI president too.
These two features are enough to make you fall in love with Studio Job: the fact that Job Smeets and Nynke Tynagel describe each other as soulmates and both share an incredible Sixties style. Luckily, this passion is reinforced by their bold and extremely colourful design projects.
Founded in 2000, Studio Job brings together two wildly creative people, who both graduated from the Design Academy in Eindhoven. The two have found a secret formula in order to reach the right balance, taking the design industry by storm but in perfect harmony, designing pieces for Bulgari, Qeeboo, Seletti, Rizzoli and L’Oreal.
Their style is actually as loud and eclectic as it is astonishingly coherent. And extremely well received, to the tune of two or three awards per year: their projects are on display in over ten different museum all around the world. The couple’s success reached its climax in 2016 with a solo show at the MoMA in New York, entitled Studio Job MAD HOUSE.
And even if recently Job and Nynke aren’t a couple any more, the creative and professional balance they reached and maintained throughout their time with Studio Job was a striking example of how
Two design studios, one in Rome and the other in Milan. A partnership that started at the end of the eighties and went on to last, enriched by awards, exhibitions, products and publications.
Marta Laudani and Marco Romanelli: per un moderno continuo (2014) (lit. for an ongoing modernity is the fortunate title of the last book about them – but it isn’t just that. It’s actually the method this couple applies tenaciously and at the same time, it represents the vocation – personal and professional – which inspires their work.
The couple’s process relies on thinking, reflecting, interrogating themselves and as a result having to make constant adjustments. Their journey goes from interior design projects to product design, from exhibiting at the Venice Biennale and at the Triennale in Milan, to designing exhibitions for international museums. At the same time – and in a complementary fashion – Marta Laudani was previously a professor at the Architecture faculty of the Sapienza University in Rome, while Marco Romanelli was the editor of the design magazines Domus and Abitare.
To have another person to compare yourself with is a useful experience, because two people can avoid acting as a mirror, and indeed offer two for the price of one, when another person comes into play. And when the other person understands where you are heading and does everything in his power to get to the same place, then that is passion. It is the biggest project of them all and gives meaning to all the other projects.
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