We spoke with the great Belgian architect to have him explain the nature of I.R.O. - Italian Rational Objects, a series of limited edition furnishings homage to rationalist architecture designed for the Giustini / Stagetti Gallery in Rome

For this new collection Vincent Van Duysen plays the role of pivot between past, present and future, and succeeds in the feat of creating something timeless, absolute.

And he thus ideally adds a chapter to the History of the capital in a tribute to the rigor of the Rationalist architecture of our country.

A study of solids and voids that Van Duysen carried out, as usual, bringing about a drastic reduction of archetypes of shapes and materials. Specifically, the result is a body of work that includes six limited edition pieces – three tables in different sizes, a console, a small bookcase and the wall lamp – sharing the same essential stylistic language and from the material, aluminium chosen in a luminous satin pearly finish.

The setup for the presentation is without frills, the collection is simply placed on the ground in the exhibition space to reiterate the concept of real functional objects and therefore not treated with museum detachment; the pieces thus at the same time take on a solemn levity which dialogues on an equal basis with the clean geometries of the gallery, one of the last projects created by the Milanese architect Umberto Riva before his death .

Another significant reference for this collection were the aerial geometries of the metal works of the Brazilian Constructivist artist Lygia Clark, yet another foray into art by Van Duysen who talks about this new work in an interview with Interni.

What meaning does this new collection have for you?

His starting point was Rome, where the Galleria Giustini / Stagetti is located. A city with a history and key elements that I wanted to connect with to deeply understand the definition of its character.

Its rationalist architecture is particularly imposing and solemn; this collection of furniture of mine aims to evoke the sense of monumentality and timelessness that is closely linked to it.

It was also the opportunity to collaborate with such an important gallery in Italy, which won me over immediately. I am a very instinctive person: when I met the owners - Roberto Giustini and Stefano Stagetti - I immediately understood that this collection would see the light.

I.R.O. it is a tribute to Italy, with which it now has a consolidated bond. When did it start?

Since 1985, when I worked in Milan (for Aldo Cibic and Cinzia Ruggieri during the period in which the two were respectively busy with Sottsass Associates and Studio Alchimia, nda). Since then I have never lost contact with the country, so I actually feel a bit Italian.

What emotions does Italy arouse in you when you visit it?

I feel a connection with the people, the food, a connection with the history, the culture and its architecture. This is demonstrated by this collection which, as mentioned, is inspired by the rationalist current of Rome and its surroundings, in particular by the buildings of Giuseppe Terragni and the fascist architecture ranging from the late 1920s to the 1940s.

You are often counted among the ranks of minimalists, even if your style differs from them for many reasons. What ideas define it?

That's right, I don't like minimalist and plain interiors. I believe that my work goes strongly against those ideals and clichés that characterize that style. I want the soul.

From the beginning of my career - more than 30 years ago - the most important thing has always been to consider architecture as a profession dedicated to humanity. And this means starting from the places where the inhabitants need to feel safe and relaxed, also considering the furniture and objects that surround them as necessary to live a comfortable life. is happy.

The result of my work embodies passion, research and understanding of human needs, which also involves channeling the concepts of timelessness, organicity, consistency and light. The ultimate goal is therefore to create an atmosphere in spaces that radiate serenity, calm and a sense of protection, where it is possible to disconnect.

Evidently he thinks like an architect even when he tries his hand at design. What is the genesis of his projects?

First of all, architecture has a much broader perspective than simple space. They are like a sponge that absorbs the most diverse disciplines. I'm always observing, drawing in my mind, thinking. Everything has the potential to inspire me, everything is filtered through my empathy and imagination, and that's how I create. Which only happens optimally when I find myself surrounded by people, in particular by my team.

She ranges from limited edition furniture collections to more democratic ones for large-scale distribution. Can you explain the differences in concept behind it?

It's not about being democratic. There are two different approaches with which I share my way of operating with the world: some of my works are accessible to a wider audience, others for niches and smaller segments of users are often limited editions, pieces unique or tailor-made, with refined materials, to be considered as a gem or jewel; exist between the realms of art and design, and which I consider different from the more commercial and industrially produced collections. However, there is no rule.

Cover photo: Omar Golli, courtesy Galleria Giustini / Stagetti

Vincent Van Duysen - I.R.O Collection, useful information