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Cristina Celestino for Billiani
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Estimated reading time
6 Minutes

Cristina Celestino for Billiani

One of the things that really interest us is the identity of the brands we love and that we convey on LovetheSign.

We wonder who is there behind the brand, how it was born, who laid the foundations for it.

We like to discover something hidden and we continue to be amazed by the fact that, almost always, what makes a brand interesting, solid and recognizable is its adherence to a way of seeing the world, and therefore also things. A philosophy that has its roots in people's characters and history.

Men and women who pulse and vibrate behind objects, as designers or editors.

It is almost always a matter of dance, a couple dance between designer and client.

Cristina Celestino

Since more than a century, Billiani has produced wooden chairs together with the brightest names of Italian and international design. A good design and the ability to work with wood have always been the hallmark of their products, entirely made within an excellent supply chain, the "chair triangle", a territory of small specialized laboratories where wood culture has deep roots. In 2019 the artistic direction was entrusted to Cristina Celestino, a Milanese architect and designer who designed for Billiani the brand new Corolla seats collection.

Cristina CelestinoCristina Celestino

1. Is there a specific experience, linked to your personal story, that triggered your passion for design?

I wouldn't say there is a precise experience that triggered my passion for design, but a natural bent and a series of chances, opportunities and coincidences that helped me find my way, starting from my professor of Art history during high school, an Architect, until my arrival in the city of Milan in 2010.

2. What is design for you?

Design is continuous research, curiosity, attention and listening. Nothing new is invented, but themes, ideas and concepts are developed that have often been approached in the past and that relentlessly enter the present. As Nanda Vigo wrote "The future exists in the past and both are part of everything".

3. What processes are you interested in when planning?

 Definitely in the identity of the client, in the stylistic codes of the Company, in the manufacture. I am interested in materials and the processes that transform them.

5. In terms of furniture, what does maximum luxury mean to you in a broad sense?

Space, especially the outdoor, and time. The time to enjoy the spaces and the time needed to think and make the items. It is a very important value, not enjoyable at a first reading, but which affects the value that is held within the products.

6. What do you think the world of design can do for this global pandemic?

Like for everybody, also in our sector the issue of priorities - what is really needed - becomes important. Now the priorities are linked to the themes of sustainability, mobility and are always global issues.

Creativity must increasingly be transversal and the thinking of creatives (and Companies) must be increasingly open and less sector-based, more experimental and less tied to results that are immediately tangible, but more long-term.

7. What is your relationship with uncertainty, chance, an unexpected event?

Often uncertainty generates discomfort but other times it creates creative freedom and changes things. A breath of fresh air in this sense will help a sector that has been immobile far too long in some respects important for the community.

8.Which aspect of Billiani is most exciting in stimulating your vision of art direction?

Certainly the history of the Company and its know-how with respect to the wood, the products that from contract spaces enter the home.

The theme of the "border" intended both from a geographical and conceptual point of view, as an enrichment, has always been present in the story of Billiani, straddling tradition and experimentation

My artistic direction starts precisely from a reflection on the sense of belonging, which transforms the theme of the border from a limit to an opportunity.

9. Corolla is a collection of seats that expresses the poetics of the flower, the soft padding evoke the roundness of the petals and the legs recall their pistils. The development of an idea often takes place through hidden paths, the result of dialogue and comparison, or through personal and intimate processes. What is the path that led to Corolla? What are the most important features of this collection?

My new collections for Billiani - Frisèe and Corolla - start from an accurate analysis of the production and the specific nature of the Company.

Both play on the boundary between a contract product that has a domestic bent, industrial and series production, in which artisan processes are fundamental and necessary, and, at a concept level, they are well aware of the tradition while still being contemporary products.

The collection Corolla speaks of all this through a reassuring and familiar small armchair, which formally starts from a reflection on the soft lines of an eminent Italian production from the 30s-40s, to lead then these signs into a contemporary seat.

I wanted to emphasize the Company's ability to work with wood since ever, very present in the base and the rounded legs, and also the softness and roundness of a comfortable and cosy padded product.

The volume emphasizes an aesthetic more related to femininity and formal lightness (in the past, the Billiani collections had emphasized more masculine aspects, related to solidity).

The outer covering is a sort of haute couture dress with a light egg-shaped curve, elegant reverse seams in the back, which encloses the seat and back cushions.

The materic and bouclé fabrics of the new selection, as well as the possibility of playing in contrast with the upholstery fabrics of the internal pillows, underline the sartorial aptitude of this collection.

The collection consists of armchair, lounge, bergère and small sofa.

10. What couldn’t your home do without?

My daughter: spaces and products come to life only thanks to the presences and experiences of those who live there.

11. How much do trends affect your projects?

What do you mean by trends? If by trends we mean the plannings that are in the air, the contemporary issues provoked by events, the reflections on different sectors that convey current affairs into planning, yes, trends do affect my projects.

12. What thought for the planet is there in your planning?

 Planning must be designed, it must give life to well-made products and interiors, that give beauty, that celebrate craftsmanship, districts and materials. Sustainability is a broad argument involving designers and companies, the production chain and materials, starting from projects that will have to deal more and more with a global market which is rightly selective.

Estimated reading time
6 Minutes
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