antonio citterio interview antonio citterio interview
sep 18, 2000

antonio citterio interview

antonio citterio© designboom

 

 

we met antonio citterio in his milanese studio on september 18, 2000

 

 

what is the best moment of the day?definitely the morning, breakfast with my children, my other best moment is whenI drink a glass of wine in the evening.

 

 

what kind of music do you listen to at the moment?while i’m driving, vasco rossi, zucchero…italian artists. during the day i need energy,but at home i listen to relaxing music, classical music.

 

 

left: work station ‘vademecum’, for vitra, 1998

right: ‘axess’ chair, for vitra 1996

 

 

 

do you listen to the radio?radio 102.

 

 

what books do you have on your bedside table?at the moment there are 3, I’m rereading hemingway, he does everything I don’t do, heeats, drinks…things i would like to do.

 

 

do you read design magazines?no, I look at them.

 

 

‘mobil’ for kartell, 1994

 

 

where do you get news from?I read 3 newspapers, corriere, repubblica and il sole 24 ore, i take my 40 minutes toread them, my “private” time.

 

 

do you notice how women are dressing? do you have any preferences?a young, beautiful woman looks good in anything, maybe certain things are better leftunsaid, but that’s how it is..

 

 

‘lastra’ lamp for flos 1999

 

 

what kind of clothes do you avoid wearing?everything that most fashion designers create.

 

 

do you have any pets?I used to have a cat.

 

 

 ‘freetime’ sofa for b&b italia, 1999

 

 

where do you work on your designs and projects?I design in quiet places, here in my office, anywhere, on a plane…but most of the timetogether with other people, giving them directions or criticisms.

 

 

who would you like to design something for?I would like to design buildings that aren’t contaminated by commercial aspects, achurch, a museum… where what is inside the building enhances the building itself.

 

 

 kitchen tools for littala, 2002

 

 

when you are working, do you discuss or exchange ideas with your colleagues?yes, in milan there are many other designers like me who spent their youth in that‘milan to drink’ (an advertising campain of ramazotti ) in the 80’s, the topics wediscussed were different, but I still see my colleagues, although our exchanges arebriefer, everything is different now. I talk with michele de lucchi, marco zanini,aldo cibic, alberto meda, vico magistretti… I must say that I truly appreciate someonelike vico. in ‘85 my first building in milan was built and vico wrote me a lettercommenting on it, which pleased me immensely.

 

 

studio antonio citterio & partners,via cerva, milan, italy, 2000

 

 

describe your style, like a good friend of yours would describe it.style…I’m in a cold sweat. if I have one, its news to me. I know what I would like to do,I know what I like and what I don’t like. someone else has to judge whether myapproach can be defined as a style. a phillippe starck line…, I could have done whatalberto meda did and vice versa.

 

 

which of your projects has given you the most satisfaction?the things I have done are companies, not pieces, I’ve been working for b&b italiafor 27 years, 15 years for vitra, 15 years for kartell… of course I’m glad for the thingsthat have become part of the moma or the beaubourg collections.

 

 

private house, cene , italy, 2000

 

 

is there any designer and/or architect, you appreciate a lot?in design, eames…there are different moments in one’s cultural formation,all of the italian protorationalist architects and le corbusier, luis kahn, tadao ando,gehry, siza. siza is the contemporary who I respect the most.

 

 

you are good at designing “bestsellers”. what’s your secret?I make things for myself, I don’t work with marketing instructions…if I won’t surround myself with these things, I don’t make them.don’t force it, if it doesn’t work, don’t do it.you can’t whip the cream? it doesn’t matter!

 

 

vitra furniture factory,neuenburg, germany

 

 

you collaborate with companies in different countries, do you believe that the futurevision of entrepreneurs is influenced by national identity?national identity doesn’t exist, only a niche identity within the global market..

 

 

do you believe in sharing knowledge via internet?or do you think that the internet has more negative effects on us,as the ‘big brother is watching you’?they are necessary phases and it is absolute demagogy to think that only because youcan’t ride the tiger that it is a system designed to control. internet allows me to haveoffices in milan and in hamburg, I receive drawings in real time and I can check themimmediately..

 

 

private house, milan, italy

 

 

what changes will internet bring in the distribution of your products?I am convinced that certain products will be distributed on the internet, and others no.my wife, who is american, buys everythig via internet. but I think that shopping comesfrom pleasure, and unless it is a question of buying necessities, people prefer to go tostores. this is what I would put on the internet: in 5-6 years, I will have designed50-100 bathrooms with all the details and someone who wants to redo their bathroomcan download the blueprints in 1:1 scale, with the various addresses of where to buythe items, …I have a lot of faith in this.

 

 

on the news broadcast they said that italians are afraid ofunemployment, criminality and pollution. what are you afraid of regardingthe future ?first of all, architects have a positive world vision.they always think of a better world. what concerns me is the abyss between richcoutries and poor countries, crime won’t get worse, nor will pollution.these are serious problems now, but I am not afraid of them.

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