Do you have a personal concept of luxury?
The concept of luxury varies.I refuse a concept of luxury tied to ostentation. I feel that in more 'mature' countries, luxury is evolving towards values which are not exclusively linked to wealth or possession. An excess of consumerism and the demonstration of wealth are substituted by ethics based on the idea of sobriety, careful selection, and new approaches devised to eliminate various forms of waste. Luxury is concerned with the definition of specific characteristics given to places in which people move, meet and play their own individual roles.
And what about your style?
My style is a transversal approach combining architecture, interiors and product design in a synchronous process, in which the designer becomes the director of a unified activity, thus guaranteeing continuity and fluidity as regards both visual appearance and the functional profile. My style, however, is not immediately recognisable 'in itself' and in an absolute sense, inasmuch as there can never be a single type of design that could be applied to projects in different locations of the world. My designs are hallmarked by a coherence of forms and clean, taut style.
What is the most amusing or gratifying project you are working on at the present time?
There is one project that is both amusing and gratifying: the collection of Artworks for the Hotel Excelsior Gallia. It begins from the architecture, moves on through the interior design, identifying certain materials and regenerating and reprogramming them to create a panorama of objects which suggest art and are processed by design. This art collection will be numbered, certified and signed.
How has your architecture changed in the last ten years, in just 5 lines?
I think it has become more expressive, from the point of view of forms, focusing more on the combination of materials, with careful attention to material innovation and original shapes, in order to express spatial diversity and create buildings which are visually attractive, independently of their function. In the Harbin project in China, for example, in a territory with very low temperatures in winter, lines of stress and energy are given form in structural elements on the façade, becoming motifs, dynamic design elements and sources of light, and therefore representing a powerful form of expression.
What would you say to an architect friend of yours in Milan for the Furniture Show?
First and foremost, go to see the Salone del Mobile itself, as it is a well-structured presentation of all the latest products for both specialists and the general public. Secondly, experience the city that exists outside and around the Salone, with its events at different scales and different levels of importance where you can find various types of performances, on multiple levels of design, in
a realm of venues that are part of the urban, historic, artistic and cultural texture of the city.
How would you describe the Salone del Mobile 2014?
As far as I am concerned the Salone del Mobile is the central event in the world for design. The Salone has always been the place where trends are set, new products are shown, new ideas, with new materials, new types of production and so forth. It's like a sort of huge workshop, and it brings a polarising appeal to Milan, my home city, one to which I am particularly attached.
Your first thought when the Salone began, and your last when it ended?
My first thought was to try to optimise time! My last thought was to try to sum up what I have seen while the memory is still fresh, so as to pinpoint what could be the next phase in products, proposals, new forms and new modes of interaction.