Wem geht es nicht auch mal so, man könnte die Arme falten und den Kopf auf die Tastatur legen. Die Müdigkeit, aufgrund von Mehrarbeit, wenig Schlaf oder Frühjahrsmüdigkeit zwingt uns in die Knie. Mit QWERTY liegt man immer richtig. Es ist mehr als ein gewöhnliches Schlafsofa, dank Mikro-Elektro-Motoren lässt sich jedes einzelne “Tasten-Kissen” per Fernbedienung in der Höhe verstellen. So findet jeder seine ganz eigene Konfiguration, um glücklich entspannen zu können.
Das originelle Design, in Anlehnung an eine typisch amerikanische Tastatur, lässt sich in jedes Ambiente integrieren, als stylischen Eyecatcher sowohl in einem Unternehmen als auch zu Hause. Doch ZO_loft hat noch viel mehr an nachhaltigen Wohnaccessoires und Designprodukte zu bieten.
ZO_loft Architektur & Design nutzt kostengünstige und nachhaltige Technologien und Materialien, beachtet Recycling-Prozesse und erforscht die Lebensweise, unser Verhalten und unsere Aktivitäten, um mit einem besseren Verständnis auf die Bedürfnisse der Kunden eingehen zu können. Das Unternehmen entstand durch den Glauben an mobile, dynamische und flexible Architektur sowie Design.
Hinter ZO_loft steht ein Architektur- und Design-Büro mit jungen und talentierten Profis.
ZO-loft is an architectural and product design office with talented professionals. Can you give us a little insight into the inner workings of ? Where are you based, how is your office structured, how many people do you employ, are you still very personally involved in every project, and what significant tasks do you outsource?
What is your specialty? How would you define your design of style?
Shapes, color, concept: where do you usually begin when conceiving a design?
Paolo Emilio Bellisario:
The office was founded in July 2007by Paolo Emilio Bellisario, Andrea Cingoli and Francesca Fontana. Then Cristian Cellini joined at the end of 2007. We officially started working on recovering, as residential, a small space of about 30 sm located in the ground floor of an anciet XVIII cent building, in the historical center of Isola del Liri (FR) Italy (http://europaconcorsi.com/projects/195886-ZO-loft-architecture-design-3080). By the way we already had the chance of starting working together several years before that.
We all met each other during the University. At first we were simply friends sharing to each other our own thoughts, not having a real common background. Apparentely, we are all architects with different specializations, skills, different point of views on how to make and manage a project, but, at the same time, we all have a common interest on the temporal control: flexibility, transformation, mobility, are all matters that affect the way we work , regardless of the scale or theme. So we definitely like to design the changements.
As we always say, nowadays, the design of contemporary spaces requests easy-fitting solution. Life styles are changing. The gap between “working time” and “home time” is definitly less clear.
New living spaces had been added of new functions and are technologically advanced. They request managing easy and fast XXXXchangements, and there are no longer clear boundaries between public and private space that help define a unified “context” to work with. This was probably the real common background where we came from.
First of all we intentionally are and we are proud to be a small practice based in the center of Italy. Being small means we are directly involved every steps and we do act as a team.
We usually say we are ¼ architecture + ¼ product design + ¼ communication + ¼ researching lab. We think that all the different points of view that we bring into a project, also help the project itselfs to have a multilayered structure. This is something always present in all project from our studio: you can always read our projects by different layers (you can do the same with our office name). That’s why in each project we like investigating in life-style and human activities, reinventing or hybridizing functions, contaminating or showing an apparent funcional disgregation retained necessary to work across the indefinite boundaries of architecture, art and design. It doesn’t matter what is the arrival but the approach you have, the way you choose to solve the problems or client’s requests. Our skills probably could not be referring just to a clear and defined operating field. Rather, our approach can be used in many different fields of production and imagination.
Our studio believe that the design process that does not end in the development of a form, but it is the result of real “creative strategies” that are caring not only of the aesthetic, but also of the communicative aspects, of the interaction with the users, of the optimization of technologies and the production and distribution processes.
A good “creative strategy” comes out by the inclusion and interaction of social, economic and environmental sustainability; communication; schedules; technologies.
In this way nothing is an accidental choice and forms, technological solutions, details, materials, but also naming, colours, … each part of the project is designed to answer to a specific question.
Officially ZO_loft architecture & design works on public spaces planning; exhibition and interior design, product design, concept development, graphics, consulting and art direction for companies and events. We always had been networking with national and international partners and we recently started an operative office in Paris and another one in London.
We are also involved in the University area, with lectures and workshops and we cooperate with the Faculty of Architecture “Università G.d’Annunzio” in Pescara and with Quasar Design University in Rome where we run teaching modules for Master’s Degree of Virtual Architecture and Master’s Degree of Industrial Design.
We are all linked by the strong will of researching and experimenting on low tech solutions and sustenibility. Sustenibility is a specific aim we always try to achieve. This doesn’t mean we simply want to be green, but being sustainable, for us, is an ongoing process, during which we try to combine three fundamental and inseparable aspects: environmental, economic and social, taking into account their mutual interrelations. In this way the lowest cost per user = the lowest cost to the environment.
Whenever possible we also try to use productions “leavings”. However we believe the right attitude is not to use random materials, but just what you are looking for. We believe it is this is very important. Even if revovering from wastings, materials should be used selecting and aiming a specific design strategy. Throughout a range of options which is the best one that suits the characteristics of the “leavings” I want to use? What advantage those “leavings” can give us? Respect for the environment is certainly linked to reuse leavings, but it’s not the only aspect to be taken into account to define a sustainable product. Reusing leavings becomes product design when you face a process of analysis and synthesis that belogs to the design disciplines.
It is difficult to say how we find inspirations for our projects as each project needs a particular reasoning. Sometimes creativity is like an enigma, an unknown formula.
Referring to product design, sometimes it very useful to think of very “simple and flexible systems” and to carry common objects around, changing their context. Another trick can be to start thinking to impossible scenarios.
We believe that product design must innovate everyday life at first. So we do also like to observe ourselves, our life, or common habits of people and , whenever possible, to set and start our project from that point of view. The Din-ink pen cutlery ( http://www.zo-loft.com/design/portfolio/din-ink/ ) is a good example fot that. Din-ink is a product that is probably half way between observing and provoking, but also between aesthetics and functionality, spread by a common expression tool. The intention was not just to revisit an historical design object, but certainly to help people to have a different point of view on the objects that they see every day and to think on some common gestures such as chewing a pen top.
In the same way the PLUGGY tablecloth ( http://www.zo-loft.com/design/portfolio/moody+pluggy/ ) started observing people placing their mobiles, key, iPod on the table while dining. Or the QWERTY sofa was born observing people spleeping on their keyboards.
The secret is that sometimes the easiest idea may be the good one.
How do you promote and move your work? How has the economy affected your work?
In which new areas would you like to experiment?
Paolo Emilio Bellisario:
Multiple skills, operative contamination, different disciplinary approaches are needed as also contemporary professionals need to be based on international networks. This could sounds quite hard to manage, but it can be done believing in the same things. Anyway, whatever is your job, the only chance to find a small place in this market is trying to be remarkable and you can only do it by innovative ideas.
We will surely keep working on mobile architecture. We would keep to investigate on how mobile architecture can be used and/or usefull for public spaces, expecially for squares. Since we are living in a earthquake experienced area, we are actually, experimenting in emergency architecture, too.
We just finished to design a brand new configuration of the TFK – The Fragance Kitchen pop-up store in collaboration with OFL architecture. After being at Selfridges/Oxford Street and Selfridges/Manchester the TFK pop-up store changed its shape once again and it’s now moving at Bloomingdales Dubai. In the beginning of 2014 we have finalized an interior restoration in Saint Mandè – France, and working on an innovative permanent corner inside Selfridges London for TFK – The Fragance Kitchen too. Still in January we also started working on two small concept store here in Italy. Since last autumn we are in charge of art direction for Villa Paris in Roseto degli Abruzzi ( http://www.villaparis.it/ ). For them we recently curated the ART in ACT #001 festival and we are already planning a series of art, food design, and architecture events for the new year.
Refering to product design we recently launched on the marked a numbered limited edition of 10 pieces of the QWERTY sofa.
During the Milan design week, from April 8th to 13th, we will present prototypes of flexible furnitures and tools developed and patented over the past three years, during the exhibition “PROTOTYPES appunti di viaggio”, at Fabrica del Vapore: Taphole, Dondol’oh, Nutlery, C-glass and Skyline.
At the same time we will also official launch a new set of coffee cup designed for DCI – Decor Craft inc of Providence, a line of beech wood skewer designed for Gaggenau and, last but not least, the Bisù ring: a finely handcrafted silver rign, equipped with a “stylized fork” ending to pierce chocolates or fresh fruit gelèes as if they were precious stones.
Thanks again for doing this interview and for your time, Paolo!