Interview with Rossana Orlandi

In 2002 Rossana Orlandi transforms a former tie factory in Milan into the hippest destination in International design. A space dedicated to giving visibility to unique pieces and limited editions by emerging and established designers and artists. Among these, Piet Hein Eek, Tom Dixon, Maarten Baas, Nacho Carbonell, Italians Formafantasma, Massimiliano Adami, Manuela Crotti, Riccardo Dalisi and many, many more, all selected by Rossana.
The space includes a shop, a design gallery and restaurant Pane e acqua. A wide courtyard welcomes you with its warm atmosphere, a living room in constant evolution in which to meet, confront, design and embark on an emotional adventure in contemporary design. To guide us on this trip is the lady of this house in via Bandello 14/16, in Milan.

LTVs, Lancia TrendVisions, Rossana Orlandi

How did you find this place?
I discovered it by chance, and immediately fell in love with it.

How did it become the Rossana Orlando Gallery?
It was not a conscious decision. The gallery was born almost naturally. I have always been a design collector and in the past I often collaborated with designers when I was working with yarn. It was natural to start to display some pieces of my collection together with the work of friends.
Many journalists started getting interested in this space and with time it grew together with my interest in research, that brought me to travel and visit design fairs and schools such as the Design Academy in Endhoven, which at the time was being directed by my friend Li Edelkoort.

LTVs, Lancia TrendVisions, Rossana Orlandi

How would you define this place given a context such as Milan: what differentiates it from other galleries and who is its target?
I think it’s not just a gallery. It rather resembles more of a design hub, in which to find different personalities and skills, where it’s possible to confront yourself and design together in an informal atmosphere, free of preconceived notions.

LTVs, Lancia TrendVisions, Rossana Orlandi

Your gallery offers a wide range of pieces in terms of price, designer and provenance: do you follow certain criteria or your instinct?
I would say the criteria is my instinct. A kind of sixth sense both for the project and the designer.

LTVs, Lancia TrendVisions, Rossana Orlandi

What characteristics does a design piece have to have today to be able to sell in an art design gallery such as yours?
It has to arouse an emotion.

LTVs, Lancia TrendVisions, Rossana Orlandi

Paola Navone designed the restaurant of the gallery. What was the brief?
The brief of my collaboration with Paola Navone was to recreate the same feel of the gallery, but in a restaurant in which to see the pieces I was selling in the gallery "at work". I have always attributed much importance to the concept of eating and sitting at the table. In the end, the table is the real living space of today, anything can happen around it.

LTVs, Lancia TrendVisions, Rossana Orlandi

In your opinion why is Italian design suffering at the moment? What do the young foreign designers knocking on your door have over the Italian ones?
Young foreign designers are more used to "getting their hands dirty" than Italians, they’re more concrete. I think it depends on the weight of our strong tradition in design that has somewhat suffocated young talents. It must however be said that in recent years I am seeing an increasing number of interesting young Italians that are emerging.

LTVs, Lancia TrendVisions, Rossana Orlandi

What are the places in which you prefer to conduct your research on design?
The places I am interested in constantly change. What’s important is to always keep your eyes peeled and be receptive.

LTVs, Lancia TrendVisions, Rossana Orlandi

How important is patronage in design today?
I think patronage no longer exists as it is commonly intended. Especially in design, where the market represents an element that must be taken into account when considering a project. I believe it’s important to help young designers by teaching them that a project, apart from being beautiful and interesting, also has to be sellable.

LTVs, Lancia TrendVisions, Rossana Orlandi

A lesser-known place or school that might be the next big revelation?
School of Form in Poland. Where Li Edelkoort is currently director.

LTVs, Lancia TrendVisions, Rossana Orlandi

You’ve worked in the fashion world, why did you leave it?
No Comment.

LTVs, Lancia TrendVisions, Rossana Orlandi

LTVs, Lancia TrendVisions, Rossana Orlandi

rossanaorlandi.com

09 June 2012