Her work is an emphasis on research, exploration, and collaboration with artisans

For Alice Mandelli, founder of ultrasemplice, success in the design industry is not measured by wealth or fame but by the meaningful impact her creations have on individuals and society.

Alice Mandelli is not just a designer; she’s a dynamo of energy and passion with a deeply introspective and problem-solving mindset. In 2022, she embarked on a creative journey by founding ultrasemplice, a design studio with a clear vision: to create home accessories that encourage introspection, mindfulness, and respect.

Drawing from the simplicity and minimalist ethos she embraced while living in Copenhagen, Mandelli aims to counteract the complexities and excesses of modern life with designs that are not only aesthetically pleasing but also carry profound messages within their simple forms and materials.

1. Alice Mandelli _ ultrasemplice - ultrapics

Her approach to design is deeply rooted in environmental respect, emphasizing the importance of mindful resource use and advocating for a shift away from the culture of instant gratification that pervades consumerism. Her choice of materials reflects a balance between aesthetic appeal and functional integrity, often experimenting with color and form to invite deeper reflection and curiosity.

Who is Alice Mandelli? How did the journey for ultrasemplice design studio begin?

Alice Mandelli:

“Alice, other than being a designer, is a multi-passionate, energetic deep thinker, who likes to think that there is a solution to almost everything. Alice is me 🙂 and I founded ultrasemplice in 2022, intending to design home accessories that would help us be more introspective, mindful, and respectful. However, it presents a challenge as it continually teaches us patience.

It’s more than just aesthetics: it carries a profound message within its simple shapes, deep black color, and simple materials. Psychologically, we need simplicity; our world is too complex, and when I was living in Copenhagen, the city itself, by its peculiar way of being, helped me realize this. We are surrounded by excesses, and I just can’t live with the idea of so many people burning out for this reason.”

Fo-kuhs by Alice Mandelli _ ultrasemplice - ultrapics
Fo-kuhs by Alice Mandelli, ultrasemplice

What led you to specialize in upcycle design? What message are you aiming to convey to the market?

Alice Mandelli:

“Not all of my products are upcycled, but the process and materials I use are always environmentally respectful. The message I aim to convey is the importance of respecting our resources and our planet. Today, we face a critical issue where we deplete our resources far too quickly each year. Therefore, we must adopt a mindful approach, embracing slower production methods and rejecting the culture of instant gratification in consumerism. Our society often pushes us towards incessant haste and relentless productivity, but it’s time for a paradigm shift towards greater mindfulness and sustainable practices, without sacrificing aesthetics.”

Ken-dull by Alice Mandelli _ ultrasemplice - ultrapics
Ken-dull by Alice Mandelli, ultrasemplice

When choosing materials, how do you balance their aesthetic and functional qualities?

Alice Mandelli:

“I am deeply interested in studying materials and identifying their distinguishing characteristics, which I am determined to preserve. (i.e. if I am working with concrete, I will preserve its sturdiness without questioning it) I then experiment with altering their aesthetics by coloring them black, almost as if to obscure their appearance intentionally, igniting curiosity and prompting us to delve inward, beyond the surface.”

One of your projects, the Jen/tuhl armchair, is designed for meditation. What does it entail, and why did you choose to focus on this practice?

Alice Mandelli:

“Jen/tuhl is a combination of two armchairs: a dual entity representing the inner self and the world. And it’s a result of more than a year of pure studies and personal meditation practices. I wanted to help people get closer to relaxation. We as humans often overlook the profound impact of such intentional practices on overall well-being. ultrasemplice has embarked on a journey to explore the concept of well-being in our fast-paced society. Jen/tuhl is almost a mental space that encourages to stop and self-reflect, by carrying meaning and possessing a soul.”

Jen-tuhl by Alice Mandelli, ultrasemplice
Jen-tuhl by Alice Mandelli, ultrasemplice

How did the journey from research to realization shape the creative process of Jen/ tuhl? And how was the product validated to ensure it met its intended purpose?

Alice Mandelli:

“It started by studying our senses since those are the elements that help us connect with our inner selves. Two of them particularly are the main stimulators of emotions and sensations: touch and smell. In fact, touch is represented by the softness of the fabric, and the sense of smell is stimulated by essential oils which can be used in special grooves dug into the seat and the sight is soothed through the use of the (non-)color black, which takes us directly to a mysterious yet cozy place.

Its aesthetic is simple, it is airy, it allows you to sit however you like, (crosslegged is the most comfortable one) and the upper pillow supports your shoulder blades. The sum of all of this and probably more, resulted in jen/tuhl, which was also exhibited at Maison&Objet in Paris, this January and people could sit down, try it and slow down a little bit.”

Lavuh by Alice Mandelli, ultrasemplice
Lavuh by Alice Mandelli, ultrasemplice

In general, Which are your vital tools, resources, and methods when designing?

Alice Mandelli:

“When it comes to designing, my essential tool is research, both formal and social: proportions, simplifying shapes, attention to non-colors, and a deep study and understanding of the needs and desires when it comes to introspection. I think it’s extremely important to travel and be open to exploring how other people approach this complex field. Additionally, just like every designer, I rely on various design software to bring my ideas to life. I prefer to craft the objects on my own but many times I rely on local artisans for the final product.”

Alice Mandelli, ultrasemplice
Alice Mandelli, ultrasemplice

Finally, how do you define success within the design industry?

Alice Mandelli:

“I’ve long found the term ‘success’ intimidating, as it’s often associated with wealth and fame in today’s society, which I don’t see as true measures of achievement. Instead, In the design field, success is better defined by the profound impact products have on both users and society, and their respective issues, alongside the personal fulfillment of the designer in creating meaningful experiences by respecting their own values.”


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