A duo born to restore respect to architecture, against the disease of haste and speculation: a chat with Nori Studio, in Milan

Behind the Parco delle Basiliche in Milan is Nori Studio, where the founder Jacopo Nori and his wife Francesca Marengo with their equally young collaborators take a look at design and architecture that revitalizes the neighborhood (once more culturally active and activist) .

Between fashion installations, interiors, a return to the product in the era of forced speculation, in Nori Studio you can breathe the desire and courage to succeed as young architects against the hegemony of the old schools and against all their problems of regulating the work of junior designers.

Why did you decide to open your headquarters?

Nori Studio: “We come from a career path resulting from various passages in various more or less large studios. Feeling the urgency to express our potential, we have joined forces to launch ourselves into something that is certainly bigger than us but that would rekindle the love and enthusiasm of doing architecture our way.

We had to reacquire the passion, take back the value of our shapes and reclaim their maternity and paternity.

Now we want to try to make what is 'architecture' for us and we consider it a moral commitment against the disease of haste and speculation.

Having the need to have a physical space that would welcome and inspire us, luck brought us to Via Banfi, an area that has always been home to us".

Where do you come from, professionally and culturally?

Nori Studio: “We are both architects sons of two different polytechnic schools but above all with experience behind us that has led us to be counterparts to each other.

I, Jacopo, love the research of form, of art, of materials and of the mingling of the various disciplines, they define me as the "creative component of the couple".

I, Francesca, on the other hand am a practical professional, an orchestra director who wants to emancipate herself with a role that often, as a woman, is not understood and above all respected. Although I stopped being afraid of it.

So for us 'together' means not distorting our attitudes but functioning as a single system in total harmony: which grants us the privilege of doing what belongs to us most.

We both know our limits and strengths and leave room for the other to occupy their shortcomings, generating projects of which we feel our testimony as totalizing creators of something that is born on paper and progresses in actual realisation.

A return to the product emerges from your projects, an echo of Gio Ponti, a different placement with respect to the forced speculation of contemporary design...

Nori Studio: “Gio Ponti shouted “love architecture” and who wants to be the spokesperson for this movement more than us right now? Sometimes we stop in the throes of a nervous breakdown because a project fails, the budget doesn't add up or the client doesn't understand the result and we wonder if it's just us who want to continue this profession with passion, to love architecture with respect, wanting to get to know her and look at her with enchantment?

Looking at the modern means taking a breath of fresh air and regaining confidence in architecture, thinking that there was a time when you could take the time to observe materials such as marble, wood, stone and understand them the meaning, using them to shape works and art.

We certainly have two masters who geographically represent us but who unite us conceptually, Jacopo Gio Ponti and Francesca Carlo Mollino.

Both, due to their personalities, were the inspiration to found Nori Studio.

They were not only architects understood as the profession is conceived today but they were also designers, artists, craftsmen, photographers, set designers.

In contrast to the Milanese and Turinese tradition, another great source of inspiration is the hardcore movement that we find in Henry Rollins (Black Flag frontman), the Wu -Tang Clan and the artist Raymond Pettibon, each of them was an example of breaking point and activism towards society like Ponti and Mollino that we we define Punk Architects”.

You have had experience in the fashion world: what does it mean for you to intertwine fashion and design?

Nori Studio: "The work of the architect is a work that for us is a mixture and multidisciplinarity, methods of the past transmuted for the needs of the future.

For us, working for fashion means experiencing different worlds to the fullest.

Having a hardcore approach to design understood as a breaking point, detaching ourselves from the choice of upholstery, fabrics and textures of materials in a canonical way and from that slightly liked architecture of pinterest.

We are in a moment in which everything is accessible thanks to the images of social media and this leads to a detachment from the search for form and an approach to approval.

Being able to design and create displays and shops is a huge expressive opportunity for us and we are very lucky to have had this opportunity.

The Biffi family allowed the studio to 'renovate' the historic shop designed by the architect Cordero.

He trusted us and through the study of the present and the need to offer a new face to the store we redesigned the entire image of the space with completely new materials and shapes while maintaining a dialogue with the work of master Cordero that we have decided to keep and enhance.

A complete job has been done from the design of the hanger to the study of the product display.

Another interesting collaboration linked to fashion and design is the one that our studio carries out together with Burro Studio, thanks to them we had the pleasure of experimenting with setups for activations and pop-up store.

What projects are you most attached to and fond of, and what are you working on?

Nori Studio: “being a very young studio and in full working tornado we haven't yet had the time to stop and observe what we have done up to now.

We love and hate all the projects we've done up to now.

All are our children but as we are constantly growing professionally we would always like to go back and change something. For the (near) future we are working on some exhibition projects with the friends of Burro Studio and thanks to the Biffi family we will have another clash with a sacred monster of architecture with an intervention on the shop windows by Gae Aulenti.

We will also have the opportunity to approach the European panorama in the design of some shops for various fashion brands and of course the loyal group of customers who rely on the studio for the construction of their private homes".

Aim high: what would you like to do “when you grow up”?

Nori Studio: "Building places where happy episodes happen, designing and building products that are evidence of our existence, of our 'love for architecture' in fashion, design, in the privacy of intimate residential spaces ”.