There is always a bit of inevitable narcissism in making design. Especially if you do it with a brand that bears your own name. Behind every project there is always the conviction that an idea, a form or an object can improve our way of living, dwelling and doing. And it is only natural that behind this conviction, in most cases, there is a figure ready to take risks, to get personally involved.

When you meet a personality like Paola Lenti, however, you realize that a clear, decisive, rigorous design vision like the one epitomized by her company can also come from discretion and silence. And above all from a sense of participation in the project, where individuality vanishes and the term that surfaces is ‘set’: the set of forms of expertise that give rise to innovation, but also the set of the parts that define the quality of space.

Precisely the ‘vision of the whole’ has become the new mission of the brand founded by Paola Lenti in the 1990s – run together with her sister Anna – which in practice has revolutionized the concept of fabrics for outdoor furnishings.

Her passion for research has allowed her to introduce materials previously used in completely different fields (like braided cord) and to develop a range of colors specifically refined for outdoor use, approaching the sector with the same kind of care that previously went only into interior design.

Having prompted this ‘revolution’ and redefined the aesthetic parameters of furnishings created for terraces and gardens, Paola Lenti has decided to focus on domestic space as a whole, in keeping with an approach that makes no distinctions between inside and outside, and above all sets out – on the scale of the architectural enclosure – to interpret the materic and chromatic vision that has made Paola a design trendsetter, in spite of her introverted personality.

“Today the Paola Lenti universe goes beyond research on textiles,” the entrepreneur explains. “It also goes beyond individual furnishings, expressing itself through a library of objects, colors and materials conceived to bring a coherent tone to all the spaces of the home. It doesn’t matter if the products in those spaces belong to our catalogue.

Domestic spaces ought to thrive on stratifications and combinations of different objects. What interests us is to give an aesthetic quality to walls, floors, the context as a whole, offering a service and proposing a sense of design that goes well beyond purely functional aspects.”

Fabrics, metals, ceramics, marble, wood: these are the terms of a language the company now uses in theatrical displays that conjure up dreams thanks to their sophisticated color combinations.

Behind the choice of every material there is a path of research which Paola Lenti activates with the instinct of an artist and the scientific rigor of a chemist who has to find the right formula to make everything work at its best.

The starting point is always industrial material, with performance parameters that can be carefully controlled and certified, enhanced and reinterpreted through the processes of craftsmanship. As in the case of Tela, the copper fabric presented in the evocative spaces of Via Orobia during the FuoriSalone in April.

A double weave made in the Meda workshops and then finished at Officine De Castelli with special oxidation effects that give the copper changing, shifting tones, making Tela an original paneling solution for walls and divider partitions.

It is no coincidence that this project is the result of collaboration with another company, a leader in the field of crafted metals. For years now, the Paola Lenti philosophy has involved the idea of partnerships. The goal is to develop joint paths of research from which all the players involved can gain factors of innovation for their own activities.

Furthermore, as demonstrated by the project of regeneration of the Chiostri dell’Umanitaria, the exhibition space of Paola Lenti during Design Week in Milan for the last six years, unity brings force and makes it possible to project design into a dimension of sharing and permanence that goes well beyond the utilitarian value of the product.

Article Maddalena Padovani

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Fabrics, wood, metals, ceramics and marble are part of the library of materials applied in the design of Paola Lenti, as seen in the moodboards shown in April 2017 during the event ‘Accordi.’
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The Build panel components.
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The Move sofa by Francesco Rota.
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The Spezie ottomans and the Sciara table, with a top in lava tiles decorated with glass, by Marella Ferrera.
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The Adele chair and Taol table by Francesco Rota.