Visionnaire unveils Beauty Collection during Milano Design City 2020
Italian design company Visionnaire lifts the curtain on its Milanese flagship with an ode to nature and the latest addition to its meta-luxury manifesto.
Whilst Visionnaire as we know it was founded in 2004, its history as a pioneer of contemporary Italian furniture dates back longer than you might think. A brand of Bologna-based IPE, of which Visionnaire was formerly named, the company was founded by the Cavalli brothers back in 1959, breaking ground with unprecedented use of polyurethane. Today, however, the brand has become better known as a reference point for Made in Italy ‘meta-luxury’, combining concept and craftsmanship to create pieces that enter the realm of collectible design.
It is an all-round vision of luxury not only based on values of quality and aesthetics but knowledge, research, and sustainability too. Nature has been and is an element of great inspiration for Visionnaire, which has recently implemented a rigorous commitment to respecting the environment. In the last three years, the company has offered a variety of products made with alternative procedures including more eco-friendly materials like jute instead of petroleum-based elastic belting and hemp instead of down filler. The R&D division has also come up with unique processes for treating marble that neither generate emissions or waste.
In order to fully understand the brand ethos and the much-anticipated Beauty Collection, DesignWanted took the chance to interview Eleonore Cavalli, Art Director of Visionnaire.
All the designs of Visionnaire have a strong presence: what is the message behind your furniture pieces? What is the world of Visionnaire all about?
Eleonre Cavalli: “The brand, founded in 2004 by the historic company IPE, leader in the furniture sector and in its innovation since 1959 in Bologna, today has become a reference point in the meta-luxury furniture sector and has 30 single-brand stores in 55 countries and a large network of department and multi-brand stores around the world.
Since the beginning, Visionnaire has formulated a distinctive style, based on lively experimentation on materials, volumes of unexpected poise, and inimitable motifs that reveal the totally Italian background of the company. The brand bases its activity on the value of knowledge and continuing research on the concept of contemporary beauty, confirming its exceptional ability to create design projects and products of outstanding sartorial workmanship, fostering and restoring value to the skills of local artisans located across the Italian territory.
Visionnaire is synonymous with manufacturing and high Italian tailoring, the mark of the best “Made in Italy”. Products are hand – made and/or hand-sewn, according to a long engineering process that takes place inside the Maison’s style and design department.
Architecture and interior design set the framework of a space but furniture sets its essence: how are you keeping with the latest trends in furniture design?
Eleonre Cavalli: “Our objects develop intangible imaginaries and tangible uses. They are presences in tune with each other and with the spaces that host them: never conceived as isolated pieces, they are seen instead as parts of a whole, because every single article stands out for a remarkable ability to fit into its environment, to be inserted in the context, without failing to express its own precise, forceful personality.
Our “manufacturing” verifies and affirms the idea of a repeatable uniqueness, of a singularity that multiplies by keeping intact in each copy the same charge of quality and value; each of our products is singular, unrepeatable, unmistakable, exceptional, despite being made in identical samples of repeated types; there are no copies of an ideal original, but copies made with the same, obsessive attention to the detail reserved for the masterpiece.”
Visionnaire has a tangible connection with natural elements, how does nature play as an inspiration for the brand?
Eleonre Cavalli: “The desire to safeguard our natural heritage takes the form of vital awareness that informs and orients our cultural vision, focusing on aspects of design behavior that take on the value of theoretical gestures and practices useful to express a precise, perceptible civil commitment, from the selection of materials all the way to the finishing touches of the manufacturing cycle.
The convergence between the well-being of the individual and the entire ecosystem that hosts it arises at the center of Visionnaire’s reflection at the dawn of a new decade of necessary environmental and social awareness.
Wellness and sustainability also translate into the choice of innovative performing fabrics and leathers through recycling logics and a low impact production process, they represent a new technological and sustainable milestone.
This year the big news on the use of marble concerns some new processing techniques which, by exploiting the natural veins of the stone, guarantee unprecedented and extremely natural results, such as the one called “Vital Lymph”, which through the micro-relief of the thinner veins makes the stone like a living organism.
These techniques can be applied on marbles that have certain metamorphic properties and which, depending on their appearance, define the very name of the processing: Sea Waves, vein enhancement technique for Confusion Dark marble; Snakeskin, technique a micro-relief and wave surface for Fior di Bosco marble, as well as Crocodile skin for Port Laurent marble; and Galuchat, double engraving technique and micro-relief for Black and Gold marble.”
The Beauty Collection was presented at Milano Design Days 2020: how was the collection born and what excites you the most about it?
Eleonre Cavalli: “The new collection is a hymn to Art Design that celebrates Visionnaire metaluxury. It is a contemporary allegory, a persuasive message of hope, that deep and pure beauty will save the world. Beauty is a word with an intense, multifaceted meaning.
Besides indicating an outlook of positive energy and hope, the contemporary beauty narrated by Visionnaire sums up an attitude, that of creating extraordinary, unique projects and objects. Constant technological research, experimentation with materials, the juxtaposition and mixing of elements, the hands of our craftsmen that test, perfect and define a new material solution: these are the factors that go into every single product, making it unique, inimitable, yet reproducible.”
The Beauty Collection
The regard for nature is embodied in Visionnaire’s recently unveiled ‘Beauty’ collection, a culmination of its experimentation with materials set over 9 elegant compositions inside the brand’s Milan showroom. Enchanting surroundings in what used to be a cinema offer a glamorous background to pieces that celebrate a convergence between art and design.
Beautifully anchoring the installation is designer Marc Ange’s ‘Throne Pavone’, a peacock-style chair inspired by the plumage of the bird, which made its debut in December during Miami Art Basel. Presented alongside the whole Il Pavone collection, exclusive fabrics in six color variants expand on Ange’s interpretation of Visionnaire’s world together with a luminous floral installation by Gupica that brings to life the maison’s Garden of Beauty theme. Called Aracea, after a family of monocotyledonous flowering plants, this series of lamps is an innovative and romantic project that combines ultraslim LEDs, with subtle botanical forms. The lamps are available in the floor-to-ceiling and suspension models.
This year, Visionnaire expands its Art Design offerings, approaching the great challenge of contextualizing them in a retail scenario and involving designers of exceptional artistic talent, with a vivid focus on experimentation with materials: almost “Renaissance” personalities, in terms of method and individual effort invested in the genesis and realization of their creations in the workshop.
An example is the new collaboration with design duo Draga&Aurel. Amos is a true jewel of a table: two sand molded armrests create a lunar effect, embracing the concrete base, poured into a reinforced form, and subjected to an exclusive erosion technique. Mirroring this contrast in materials, the lower ‘Lego’ table and console combine a metallic gold surface with the matte black of concrete. Completing the collection are Draga&Aurel’s Sputnik lamps, made of multiple rhomboidal parts that together create an origami effect.
Continuing Visionnaire’s theme is Alessandro La Spada’s new table, Arkady, crafted by hand from a slab of Crema Marfil marble. Unique bas-relief workmanship features irregular borders and residual elements of resin and Himalayan salt. This sculptural lower top sits on metal legs, molded in sand to create a three-dimensional pattern with a ‘’hammered’’ effect.
The designer also unveils Douglas, a leather sofa featuring borders of curved metal covered in Nabuk leather. The Douglas collection also includes an armchair, a love seat, an ottoman, and a low table. Elsewhere, La Spada’s name can be found on the Petra armchair, a semi-circular padded shell, upholstered in Bansky velvet with Visionaire’s new “plush” effect.
At the center of the exhibition is architect Mauro Lipparini’s take on paneling and storage. Shunning standardizations, boiserie in Eucalyptus Frisè are ready to take on bespoke configurations with paneling that alternates volumes of double depths surrounded by concave and convex components. Meanwhile, the Desmond unit, a jewel in the center of the room, enhances the perception of roundness without edges, increasing the preciousness of its glass volumes.
Other upholstered pieces include a modular seating program by La Conca available in both angular and rounded designs. Both feature clever storage solutions in the shape of small bookcase modules clad in leather with shelves in metal and glass and courtesy trays in marble with leather frames.
The architect Marco Piva presents the Admeto coffee table, a combination of various contrasting but perfectly juxtaposed materials, for a composition that is almost an architectural archetype, but modern and functional at the same time: the legs in marble with “striped” workmanship contribute to conveying an impression of monumental character, contradicted by the transparency and lightness of the top in smoked glass.
Finally, architect Marco Piva echoes the beauty of contrasting materials seen throughout the collection. The Admeto coffee table presents a modern and functional composition supported by ‘stripes’ marble legs contradicted by the transparency and lightness of the smoked glass top.
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