The Beauty collection with twenty new proposals between art and design. The Caprice capsule designed by m2atelier and the new creations by Alessandro La Spada. Participation in Alcova with Gupica for the De Rerum Natura installation. And a new installation of the Pavone by Marc Ange for the SuperSalone, inspired by the theme of diversity and inclusion. It will be an intense design week for Visionnaire, now in its 59th year of life. Since its inception, the company has not missed an edition of the fair. We talked about it with the creative director, Eleonore Cavalli.
Many talk about “timeless” design: what does it mean for Visionnaire to conceive timeless collections?
In the era of fast-, ready to-, easy to- prefixes, the speed and volatility of purchasing seem to be the key characteristics of many successful cases, and sometimes they are strategies that even the world of luxury has to deal with. Visionnaire has always considered the shopping experience an emotional moment, and therefore in a certain sense fickle, in which something profound happens: the customer identifies an object that ignites a desire and in an instant touches the strings of his soul, bringing him joy. , memory, thrill, satisfaction. An elective affinity is created with the artifacts, a relationship that lasts over time, because if treated with love, they become an irreplaceable part of our life. Visionnaire understood that artifacts are first of all vectors of values and immediately afterwards a beautiful creative manifestation.
This broad concept, summarized in the expression Meta-Luxury, or 'beyond' luxury, invites us to discover everything that exists beyond the artefact itself, leads us to deepen the origin of the raw materials and therefore the traceability, production processes, the technological innovation that they represent, the artisan experience that has defined their uniqueness, the whole virtuous ecosystem that allows the creation of an object that bears value. All this means giving shape to timeless objects, not linked to trends or seasonality, but a positive expression of the spirit of that time and, why not, capable of carrying out a transformative action.
What choices are you making in terms of sustainability, another key word of the present?
Behind the concept of sustainability lies an extremely complex world, ranging from products to production processes, passing through social and territorial responsibility. When, in 2017, we chose to undertake a path towards lower impact, in a strategic and global, and not episodic way, we immediately understood that the biggest challenge would have been to involve our partners. A reality like Visionnaire, which has a production system developed along the entire Italian backbone, took years to raise awareness of the entire artisan network. We have acted as pioneers. We have become ambassadors of this new philosophy, first pushing on research and innovation, to make possible what seemed complex to implement. The first step in raising awareness among our artisans was an analysis, carried out with them, to know the state of affairs from which to start. We have studied the entire work process, from product design, to sale, to the end of life cycle.
This analysis allowed us to arrive at clear strategies and objectives, which in 2019 we also made explicit in the Decalogue art book, our manifesto of values. In 2017, with the Greenery collection, we tried to innovate starting from our strong points, namely a series of iconic upholstery, which we proposed in an alternative, more sustainable version. Instead of the traditionally used materials, we have opted for natural counterparts, using for example cherry stones for the padding of the cushions, or rubbers of vegetable origin instead of those derived from petroleum. This was the result of a careful process of research and experimentation, which led us to discover new solutions and to reuse ancient techniques. We presented a new coating, renamed Iris, obtained through sophisticated technology that bears the signature of a young Italian start-up. The plastic of the bottles that pollute our seas is pulverized and then woven.
For the Milan Design Week, Visionnaire will present a new project, a book, entitled Re-Generation, entirely dedicated to those fabrics and leathers that meet low-impact criteria. In this special selection of materials, each single fabric will be accompanied by a technical sheet containing details on composition, spinning, weaving, cultivation systems and traceability that allows us to know the life cycle of the product. Another solution is to shorten the journey of the products. Visionnaire has created a special quick ship list, which makes the products in stock, destined for disposal in the long term, available for purchase at advantageous conditions for the consumer and fast delivery times. With a plus: choose the products that are geographically closest to the store you are targeting.
The combination of art and design, in which you are pioneers, is now interpreted by many brands. How do you keep your relevance and uniqueness?
Art has always been part of our expressive language. We have always wanted to create collections and artifacts that could broaden the imaginative horizons of our amateurs and feed their visionary spirit. This is why in 2008 we decided to open a space entirely dedicated to the world of art, the Wunderkammer, in our Milan showroom. Marco Morandini, art curator for the brand, ad I have invested part of our life in feeding this gallery, always looking for new talents to involve, who could dialogue or create short circuits with our collections, but in any case create a project ambitious and total.
In 2019 we created a poetic and moving art design project with Marc Ange, as is the life itself of the specimen that inspired the Garden Beauty (see here), the Peacock. The peacock throne was the result of an engineering experiment lasting months, to calibrate the weights and define the perfect curves of the radial pattern of the backrest, to make the relationship between brass and fabric harmonious and to create brilliant and amazing shades of color as feathers are in nature. of the peacock.
The collaboration with the designers Draga & Aurel, then, translates into a truly original capsule; the project by Amos and Lego are united by the contrasting combination of two materials – concrete and aluminum – treated with different finishes. The erosion with Himalayan salt, placed inside the wooden mold of the concrete and the sandblasting carried out by hand on the aluminum surface, will always return a product different from the other, guaranteeing its uniqueness in reproducibility.
What is luxury for Eleonore Cavalli at this historic moment in 2021, in the midst of a pandemic that makes us live on a roller coaster?
Today many say that real luxury is having time, time to devote to yourself of course. And I agree that this time should be a bit cornered, because it escapes us in an annoying way. For me, having time would mean engaging myself in support activities for the Earth: raising and replanting corals in the reef or helping endangered animals to survive in great oases of recovery, for example. Yet now that we have had a little more time, to be with our families, with our thoughts, in our homes, taking back many things we had forgotten, I will say more... the real luxury today is happiness, which it comes from the sense of fullness of one's life. Knowing that you are in the right place, because you choose it every day and not because you are forced to do it. This sense of freedom, but above all of profound coincidence between desire and reality, I believe is today the thing we all yearn for.