courtesy de padova
this was designboom’s first interview (march 22, 2000). we decided to re-publish it in a new translated version.
designboom (DB): what is the best moment of the day?
vico magistretti (VM): the evening, because its nice not to think.
DB: what kind of music do you listen to at the moment?
VM: I only listen to classical music. I love mozart, I don’t know anything about music. I’m not interested in music after shubert, I only like music up to Beethoven, him included.
‘carimate’ chair 1959, for cassina
now manufactured by de padova
DB:do you listen to the radio?
VM: I listen to music on the radio.
DB: what books do you have on your bedside table?
VM: right now I have a pile of 30-40 books, but I’m not reading them, I’m just disorganized.
DB: do you read design magazines?
VM: no, never.
‘vidun’ table 1986, for de padova
DB: where do you get news from? newspapers?
VM: I don’t read them often, I like the herald tribune the best.
DB: do you notice how women are dressing? do you have any preferences?
VM: I like women’s fashion very much.
DB: what kind of clothes do you avoid wearing?
VM: I never wear athletic clothing, even when I play golf I wear the pants I normally wear.
‘selene’ chair 1969 for artemide,
now manufactured by heller
DB: do you have any pets?
VM: unfortunately no, I live alone and animals need to be taken care of.
DB: where do you work on your designs and projects?
VM: everywhere, in bed, on a plane, in my office. I always have something to write down ideas in, I sketch on newspapers or magazines in airplanes, usually I tear out the page and then draw on it.
left: ‘samarcanda’ easy chair 1998, for campeggi
center: ‘vicosolo’ chair 1998, for fritz hansen
right: ‘shigeto’ cupboard 1988, for de padova
DB: who would you like to design something for?
VM: I can’t stand schoolish-sounding titles like ‘pianist’s house on the garda lake’. I believe that architecture and work is always conditioned by reality. if not, then it is something else, a different work. this means that there is no excuse for designing ugly things. in the sense that since work is always conditioned, but it is born to be conditioned, a hypothetical work seems to me to be something absolutely stupid.
DB: do you discuss your work with architects and designers?
VM: nobody, milan is the city of solitude, nobody.
‘maui’ chair 1997, for kartell
DB: describe your style, like a good friend of yours would describe it.
VM: style is a word which I detest, I think that the two greatest architects of this century were frank lloyd wright and le corbusier, I try do design as simply as possible, remove excess. I like mies when he said less is more. I think that this is the proper way to understand our work.
DB: which of your work has given you the most satisfaction?
VM: I never like to go back to work I’ve already completed, ever. sort of like how the guilty person should never go back to the scene of the crime. a project I really loved was a building on piazzale aquileia. but usually when I think back over my work I only see the errors I’ve made and I am indulgent towards them, I understand that even though I only see my mistakes, something remeins
‘silver’ chair 1989, for de padova
DB: is there any designer and/or architect, you appreciate a lot?
VM: leaving out michelangelo, the modern movement is also my own history, I particularly admire franco albini and ignazio gardella.
‘atollo’ lamp 1977, for oluce
DB: and those still active, are there any particular ones you appreciate?
VM: I like castiglioni’s work very much, and I don’t particularly like the work of the ‘in’ architects of the moment.
‘eclisse’ lamp 1965, for artemide
DB: what are you afraid of regarding the future ?
VM: I am an anxious person, and I’m afraid of everything.