About Artemest

Design Talent: Paola Navone

Versatile and eclectic with a volcanic creativity, Paola Navone is one of today's most acclaimed designers. Meet the polyhedric artist and discover the inspiration behind the icon - including the "magic wall" she built in her home.

​Turin-born and Milanese by adoption, ​Paola Navone is one of the great protagonists of contemporary design. Her eclectic personality infuses her projects with a joyful approach: a well-travelled creative, she is inspired by the colors and atmospheres of warmer climates and is able to effortlessly blend Eastern and Western references.

After receiving her degree in Architecture from Turin Polytechnic, Paola Navone went on to join the Alchimia group alongside the Italian design avant-garde of the 1970s and 80s, working side-by-side with Alessandro Mendini​Ettore Sottsass and ​Andrea Branzi. Her visionary work for Alchimia earned her the International Design Award, awarded in Osaka in 1983.

Your style shines for its skillful blend of cultures and references. How would you describe your creative approach?

Each of my projects is born from an encounter and from a process of spontaneous contamination. Creating connections between people, feelings or things that belong to different worlds is part of my way of thinking about design. I find it wonderful to be able to mix materials, shapes and colors that have different stories. The results are always a lot of fun and wildly unpredictable.

Shop Paola Navone

​In 2000 she was awarded Designer of the Year by German magazine Architektur & Wohnen and founded her design firm, Studio OTTO. The studio is the pure expression of her boundless curiosity, pushing forward in material research while maintaining deferential respect for the past and a forward-facing gaze. Throughout her career, Paola Navone has put her mark on uniquely charming objects with flair and creativity: from Corsi Design Factory vases, to Slide dining tables, to Karman lamps, to Casamilano seating. 

It would be impossible to label you within the standard canons of design. How has your eclectic and feminine personality driven your career? Tell us your story.

Everything in my life has always happened a little by chance. I have always had an innate curiosity for everyday objects, which belong to the different traditions of the world. At some point, my passion for objects became my profession.

My nomadic soul is present in everything I do, as well as my instinct for imperfection, my attraction for natural materials and handmade things, and of course my taste for contamination. If these things intercept the aesthetic canons of today's design, it happens by chance.

Out of all the works you created as a designer and architect, is there one that’s particularly close to your heart?

There is a very special corner in my house. I call it "magic wall", because every time I look at it it takes my fantasy away from the city. My "magic wall" has everything I like to imagine and have around it. The unconventional mix of things that have their own little story to tell, the beauty of giving objects a second life, a bit bizarre and unexpected. It’s made in all the shades of water, the colors of my world.

Your philosophy as a designer is based on a Thai concept - thammada - which means "every day". What is it about?

Thammada is the beautiful Thai expression for simple and ordinary things. I think there is nothing closer to my sense of design. Thammada is my attitude to look at common things in a different way, spontaneously imagining them in another place or in another context. Thus, even the most anonymous and ordinary object becomes something extraordinary and finds a new opportunity for life, perhaps in a more cheerful and “pop” way.

My nomadic soul is present in everything I do, as well as my instinct for imperfection, my attraction for natural materials and handmade things.