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The Artisan

Playful Designs by Lombrello

Discover avant-garde seating pieces by Lombrello, the interior design atelier founded by Andrea Forapani. With a playful attitude towards design and passion for art, Andrea creates unconventional and psychedelic chairs with a minimal silhouette where different colors and upholsteries are the absolute protagonists.

​​Lombrello is an interior design atelier founded by Andrea Forapani, whose vision of combining skillful craftsmanship with contemporary design resulted in the creation of the unmistakable Lombrella, a versatile and unique chair made to be completely customizable. Relying on a wide net of specialized artisans, each piece boasts a different and unique combination of colors, prints and textiles that adapts to any room. From classic silhouettes to more avant-garde designs where the atelier plays with backrests and repetition, Lombrella is the perfect piece to fit contract and private projects. Read our interview with Andrea and discover where he finds his inspiration, how he approached the world of design and the different influences that shaped his vision.

How did you approach the world of design?

I studied architecture but my academic background was also influenced by philosophy and growing up I developed a rather adolescent desire to change the world through small yet meaningful actions. Lombrello originates from my passion for design and eagerness to create objects that would reflect my vision of the world, of things, of how we live or dream of living. I believe that the concept of luxury has changed in recent years and that most people in our society yearn for a more accessible and “ironic” luxury, still connected to our desires and small pleasures. Like living in a colorful and bold house, made up of different elements mixed together, souvenirs, unbridled pleasures, and assorted things. I dream of an open, cheerful, playful and non-conforming world, where identity is respected and diversity is something to be proud of. A tiny part of all the people I have met is embedded in my designs, and hopefully that can be grasped in all that I do.

Your pieces blend art and design. How would you describe your style and what are your influences?

I believe my style is centered on eclecticism and "non-consistency". I've always felt free to do everything and the opposite of everything, with a certain nonconformist attitude, which I think is an artistic approach in and of itself. This outlook gives me great satisfaction and sometimes compels me to tirelessly retrace my steps. I studied in Switzerland and worked between Germany and France, this brought me to live abroad since I was eighteen. Five years ago I returned to Milan, and I became aware of how unique our artisans are: I tried to serve as a liaison between them and the sometimes conceited attitude of the design and architecture worlds. I pride myself on being able to combine conceptual aspects with a design that must be both beautiful and functional.

I believe that despite Central Europe’s influence on my education, there is something fundamentally Italian in my approach. I try to always be a little brazen and over-the-top, because I like to provoke, to see people’s reactions. I believe in simple solutions, but I'm terrified of minimalism, which makes us all the same. I am greatly influenced by some designers, namely Verner Panton, Hans Wegner, Ettore Sottsass; however, I try to bring elements from other fields and practices into my designs. I feed on Slavoj Zizek, Jim Jarmusch, Tom Waits and Keith Jarrett, Matthew Herbert, Walter Benjamin and Edward de Bono, I love Cattivik, Nazim Hikmet and playing backgammon.

What makes your products unique? Tell us about your production process.

In my opinion, we all should feel free to express ourselves unabashedly, and I believe that identity is sacred. Identity is revealed in our homes, in the objects we buy, which are not a simple commodity but represent also the conformity to a belief, a philosophy: buying is therefore a political choice. My designs are sufficiently customizable to successfully fulfill the desire of the most diverse customers. This is the basic idea behind my creations, not a marketing slogan stuck on the product in post-production. I also wanted to have a fair price for a high-quality product, without the designer's ego prevailing but rather respecting and valuing the customers’ identities. As far as production is concerned, we are a network of craftsmen located between the regions of Veneto and Lombardy: these are people with whom I share in the dream and desire to stand up against the giants in our sector, men to whom I owe a lot and with whom I’m proud to have built relationships based on mutual respect and trust. Industry insiders, please take note of the product’s details: the weldings, the care with which it is polished and the choice of screws, joints, fabrics and seams. I integrate them all with unique details such as the eyes of the lounge chair, which remind me that I should not take myself too seriously.

What is the concept behind the numerous colored versions of your chairs?

In all my projects color is a quasi-liberating element. Whenever I look at an object, I don't consider it complete without color. I choose colors on the basis of combinations that I find intriguing - maybe looking at some foulards or objects that I have at home - but mainly it depends on the feelings elicited by the mental image of a person or a situation. I always keep sample materials at hand and pair them as I like, without overthinking. I can't stand being influenced by a style. I let the color combinations mesmerize me and then I link them to something I’ve seen in nature or in my mind’s eye. I believe everything starts from a thought process about people I know, nevertheless there is a more instinctual aspect which I don't know or don't want to analyze too deeply.

What is a project that you would like to develop in the future?

I will continue to use the chair as my main reference upon which to project my dreams, desires, and instinctual needs, but I’m also looking around and working on something else. I am currently designing digital experiences for some brands: in my perspective,physical and digital increasingly merge, because both creative and analytical processes are similar, the only difference being in the tools they use. My next project will be the smallest sofa in the world and a series of customizations for home kitchens. Then, one day I'll design a lamp, but I don't know exactly when yet.

Your favorite place in Milan?

I love Paolo Sarpi, Milan's Chinatown, I have always lived around that area and for me it is the reference point of Milanese multiculturalism. I love to discover that we Italians are a bit of a mixed race, we are blending and the results are fantastic. I then have a kind of reverence for Zaini Milano: the bar where I go for coffee near my house. I know it’s been said time and time again, but lately Milan is truly awesome!

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