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Restart/Milano: Minimalism in a Historical Location

Discover Restart/Milano, the brand conceived by designer Maurizio Navone, and explore the latest collection immersed in a historical setting: the country residence of Count Camillo Benso di Cavour. Creating a dialogue between the minimalism and essential lines of his designs and the ancient features of the villa, the collection evokes past and present influences with an eye towards the future.

​Maurizio Navone is a Turinese architect and designer with decades of experience, formerly working at the renowned design institution Olivetti overseeing Corporate Identity. After founding his own brand specializing in product design, he created Restart/Milano in 2001 with the aim of producing sustainable objects in limited series with an artisanal manufacturing process.

Combining minimalism, essential lines and an incredible attention for raw materials, every piece is created with different historical references reinterpreted for a contemporary home.

​To present the latest additions to his collection, Maurizio Navone has chosen an incredible location to showcase the pieces created for Restart/Milano, the incredible country residence of the Piedmontese Count Camillo Benso di Cavour. The designer has taken the influences of his own region, Piedmont, and the iconographies of the Baroque architecture to conceive new pieces that perfectly fit the historical minimalism of Restart: the new mirrors, for example, are inspired by the architectural plans of Baroque churches.

In the setting of the residence, the brass lamps and the nineteenth-century surroundings dialogue in harmony, while the sleek metal structures of the STR series perfectly work by contrasting the ancient references with minimal contemporaneity. As a result of these different conversations between the pieces and the villa, Restart / Milan wants to target yesterday's time to generate objects that can populate the domestic spaces of tomorrow. Past and present do not oppose each other, but on the contrary they tend to disappear and recombine in a dynamic future.

Read our interview with Maurizio Navone and learn everything about his latest choices as a designer and his predictions for the future of design and artisanal craftsmanship.

How did you come up with the idea of making your pieces dialogue in such a unique setting?

We were looking for a space that lent itself to a linguistic connection with some of our pieces, in particular with our new mirrors collection, a result of a certain type of Piedmontese ecclesiastical iconography, and then we discovered the residence of Count Camillo Benso di Cavour in Leri. After a first visit at the venue, that left us speechless thanks to the instant connection between the space and the design of the mirrors, we noticed that some elements such as the rough concrete floors and the graffiti on some of the walls could produce a deep connection with our vision and allow us to shoot the entire collection inside this truly unique location.

What's the vision behind Restart/Milano?

We create pieces that are the result of reinterpretations to which we add an element of novelty and separation from the original design. Our mirrors are a classic example of this: I didn't design mirrors inspired by Baroque aesthetics, I found the Alinari book featuring wonderful zenith photographs and discovered the emotion that emerged from the need to use that material, which then becomes a series of mirrors. I can say the same thing about the Carlo Scarpa inspired easel or the Wagenfeld inspired lamp. A second element is the use of "real" raw materials; if it is brass it is brass and not painted brass, if it is wood it is wood and not laminated imitation wood and so on. Another characteristic of the Restart/Milano philosophy is the need to produce using an economic model that allows us to have a balanced final price with respect for the market.

​What are the materials you prefer working with the most and why?

I don't have a favorite material, there are stories that for different reasons lead me to use a specific material.

How do you think the relationship between craftsmanship and design will evolve in the future?

As long as artisans are the custodian of unwritten knowledge, craftsmanship will always be an integral part of the process of creating and, more importantly, the refining of a design product. I'll give a mechanical example, not related to the craftsmanship derived from the hand of a man: there are some dimensions in the world of mechanical manufacturing that go below a tenth of a millimetre, beyond which we speak of tolerance determined by the type of processing, after which there is the knowledge of the artisan and manufacturer. That type of knowledge is that of tradition and experience, and allows you to face "the indeterminate" which is the real element of difference of authentic Italian production.

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