Paola Bellani, eclectic soul.
Some time ago ("Tumblr was the Go-Between") we had the pleasure of meeting and interviewing Paola Bellani, Italian architect and designer with an extremely eclectic portfolio of experiences ranging from pure design to brand identity up to collaborations with prestigious fashion brands for the realization of fashion shows. Paola lived in Berlin, Seoul, Singapore, Copenhagen, Brasilia and Sao Paulo; now she’s come back to Milan and, together with Stefano Casciani - former director of Domus – she is collaborating with the magazine d'essai "disegno".
1. Looking back over your career, it is clear that you have a strong interest in brand identity, also connected to the design of space. How and to what extent can architecture help a brand to convey its identity more effectively?
In most cases it is best for architecture to ignore the rules of branding. I have always worked in the area of store interiors and show sets, mainly for the fashion and design sectors. Fashion shows are an excellent example of temporary architecture where creativity can find full expression, underlining the richness of the brand’s identity with none of the constraints of conventional marketing.
2. As an architect, what do you see as the 3 best qualities of ceramic coverings?
I am really enjoying using surfaces created by 3d printing. I am a keen supporting of ceramics, both as such and when they offer a reinterpretation of more aristocratic materials. When allied with the best design, the ceramics industry can draw on the power of research and process industrialisation, apart from its commitment to sustainability. These are qualities that make the difference in an architectural project, as compared to traditional craftsmanship.
3. Can you tell us something about disegno, the publishing project you are running together with Stefano Casciani? How did the idea come about and what is the underlying theme of this designer magazine?
In 2012, after many years as editor-in-chief of Domus, Stefano wanted to a produce a journal with more in-depth articles which would talk about architecture with industry, while I had been working with Fritz Hansen in Copenhagen - where I worked on brand communication - followed by a fantastic time doing exhibitions in Brazil. I would not have stayed in Italy without a major project likedisegno: an independent, niche journal with an intentionally sophisticated image. Initially everyone said we were courageous, but in fact what it really takes is great determination. Our publishing project is very clearly defined: rather than delivering news we provide in-depth coverage, dealing with both contemporary trends and topics from the history of design, and then we aim for a very high standard of illustrations, mainly producing our own images with our own photographers. After more than two years of this publishing venture we are pretty well satisfied: we have a free version for iPad and the general public and businesses are following us with growing interest.
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