Design Talent: Federica Biasi
As Art Director of Mingardo and winner of the prestigious Elle Deco International Design Award, Federica Biasi is one of the rising stars of Italian design. Channeling timeless simplicity, she brings out the essence of each piece she designs, perfectly combining form and function. Meet the designer and discover her essential style and clean aesthetic approach
Graduated with honors from the European Institute of Design in Milan, Federica Biasi started her career in Amsterdam. Attracted by the simplicity of Nordic design, she drew inspiration from it and the emerging trends to develop her own style. Soft, sophisticated and precise, her artistic approach relies on functionality and balanced shapes.
In 2015 she returned to Milan and established her eponymous design studio. Since then, she has worked as a product designer and art director with many high-profile Italian and international brands, approaching each collaboration with a curious and outgoing attitude — from Nespresso to Manerba, Tooy, Rabitti and Mingardo. In 2014 she became the Art Director of Mingardo and, together with founder Daniele Mingardo, she continues to build the brand’s image, merging knowledge and traditional craftsmanship with contemporary design values.
In 2021, Federica was awarded the Young Design Talent of the Year Award at the EDIDA (Elle Deco International Design Award), known as the Oscars of the design community. Read our interview with the designer to meet the woman behind the brand.
Essential is a word that I believe to be very poetic.
"Essential, not minimal": this is how you defined your design philosophy in one of your latest interviews. What does it mean to you?
Minimal is a term that, truthfully, does not suit me — neither as a person nor as a designer. Essential, on the other hand, is a word that I believe to be very poetic: for me, designing in an essential way means being able to convey a specific object/idea through a few details that are not necessarily minimal. It means bringing out the essence, which is not just a shape, but the combination of a shape, a need, a color, and an overall vision.
Your essential aesthetics have won you the EDIDA 2021 prize, which Patricia Urquiola described as “The Oscars of the Design Community”. What does this award represent for you?
It is a beautiful transitional milestone. It was very moving to receive the EDIDA award, which before me had been awarded to colleagues I highly respect and have a wonderful career. I feel honored and grateful.
As Art Director of Mingardo, you have had the opportunity to express your artistic approach while reinterpreting Italian craftsmanship. Tell us how this collaboration came about.
I remember that Daniele Mingardo wrote to me towards the end of 2016 after reading an article in which I talked about the importance of the approach to materials and the companies’ vision in order to communicate their values. He called me and said, “I'll send you the brief to design the collection”. The collection was already well-known thanks to Aldo Parisotto, and there had been other collaborations with several designers. It was very natural, I wanted to do something that would challenge me not only as a designer, and Daniele dreamt of making his collection and his work increasingly known. So, a year later, the first “The Iconic Handicraft” collection was born.
Tell us about the creative process behind one of the pieces you have created for Mingardo. Where do you draw inspiration from and how do you bring an idea to life?
I initially decided to design only small objects (mirrors and one vase) with Mingardo because, having chosen to be Art Director, I preferred to have a more external view of the entire product collection. Therefore, I chose small accessories, and in that particular case, the manufacturing process drove me towards the object. In fact, mirrors and vases were intended to showcase Mingardo’s trademark processes and finishes, while also revealing what he could do with custom projects.
Over the course of the following years, I designed the Marianne Bookcase and Decò Lamp: in those instances, there was a clear desire to discuss design and re-editions - the reinterpretation of objects and styles that had made history - in an effort to give them a more essential, metallic and contemporary flair.
Even though you are only 32 years old, you have already had the opportunity to collaborate with a number of international companies. Was there an experience that was particularly significant for you?
I don't know if I have a favorite experience, however, collaborating with Nespresso was without any doubt very different. Dealing with a multinational company whose product will be distributed all over the world makes you see the limit imposed by production as an opportunity; every aesthetic and manufacturing goal represented an achievement, a negotiation between design and production. It was a very fulfilling experience.