Giulio Cappellini: Avant-Garde Ideas for Contemporary Living
Meet Italian Art Director Giulio Cappellini and discover the newest edition of the iconic S-Chair, exclusively for Artemest. The visionary architect is known for his curiosity, boldness and an eye for discovering new talents through his much celebrated designer collaborations.
The story began in 1991 when Cappellini decided to collaborate with Tom Dixon on the iconic S-Chair, a piece that is now a frequent fixture in the permanent collections of world-renowned museums.
Artemest Exclusive: S-Chair Anniversary by Pietro Fadda
The project has continued through the years with many iterations, and for its 30th anniversary has been r
Design must not create "charming" objects but rather extraordinary products.
The S-Chair is one of your most acclaimed pieces, a Cappellini design masterpiece. Tell us about your relationship with Tom Dixon and how this iconic piece came about.
Tom Dixon was introduced to me by a dear friend of mine who unfortunately passed away, Franca Sozzani. During a trip to London, I visited Tom in his studio where he created his prototypes. I was immediately struck by his personality and the singularity of his designs, particularly the S-Chair. We collaborated to make his design suitable for industrial production, with Tom coming to Italy to work with prototypers and artisans - I believe it was an extremely important experience for him. That’s how our collaboration, and friendship, came to be.
Today, just like 30 years ago, Giulio Cappellini continues to discover new talents. Jasper Morrison, Marc Newson, Nendo, the Bouroullec Brothers, and Marcel Wanders: these are just a few of the names launched by your genius and intuition. What made you bet on these designers?
I have the opportunity to meet many young designers from various parts of the world. All I need to see is a sketch, a prototype, or just talk to someone to understand if they can be a good resource for Cappellini. The choice is made from the heart, on impulse, without following rigid commercial schemes - the enemies of creativity and innovation. I always look for professionalism and mainly passion in designers. For me, it is also essential to create the right vibe, without which it is not possible to make a good product.
Over the years, Cappellini has contributed to making Italian design recognizable worldwide. What role will Italian design play in a time so complex and full of contradictions?
Italian design has become relevant all over the world thanks to the will of a small group of entrepreneurs to bet on designers - at first only Italian, now also international - and take risks. These days design - the real deal - is often replaced by lifestyle. Instead, design must not create "charming" objects but rather extraordinary products, as it was back in the 1950s at the beginning of this incredible phenomenon. Only by following these principles, with attention to quality and determination, will we be able to defend our standing in the world.
Which of your designs are you most attached to and why? Tell us the story behind it.
An object is iconic when it does not follow transient fashion trends, but, rather, belongs to both today and tomorrow. An object that is beautiful and functional at the same time, that integrates into different architectural contexts, that can be acknowledged in different parts of the world. An iconic object must make people smile and dream, it must become "familiar".