A table for Istanbul

A conversation with Luca Nichetto
by Teresita Scalco, January 2012

Born in the heart of the Venetian lagoon, currently living between Italy and Sweden, Luca Nichetto is among the International designers, whom has won many international awards for his products, which combine a deep understanding and experimenting of materials with cutting-edge technology. Nichetto collaborates with several Italian companies (Salviati, Foscarini, Venini and Moroso) and international ones, such Established & Sons, Fornasarig and Offecct, just to name few of them.
In 2010 he designed a series of tables, called Poliart, produced by Casamania, where he has been inspired by the plans of four cities: Paris, Barcelona, Venice and, of course, Istanbul.

TS. I would like to start by asking you how is your personal relationship with Istanbul? What does Istanbul mean to you?
LC. The first time I went in Istanbul it was quite recently in 2007, when I was invited as guest designer at the Design Week, then I went back in 2009 for I-Deas, an exhibition within the frame of the furniture design fair I-Deco, where I have displayed several of my products among others collegues, like Mikko Laakkonen, Jeff Miller, Jason Miller, Stefan Diez, Derin Sarıyer and Tanju Özelgin.
Therefore, both time I went there was primilary for work, but I was completly captured by the vibrant life and energy of the city; then obviously I found very fascinating the echos and closeness of visual references with Venice.

TS. I have found quite intriguing that for the series of the Poliart tables (for Casamania) you have selected the plan of some European cities, such Paris, Barcelona, Venice and Istanbul. Could you tell me from where the idea comes from and why you have chosen these ones? Are the different colours underline some qualities of the cities?
LC. The project concept came from the reflection on shifting the ‘mood’ on sustainable and enviromental issues on the material to the aim of producine a product that could be able to act as a small enzyme for social innovation and increase urban care and responsabilites. Thanks to my work, I travel worldwide and I have often observed that the heart of art cities has often close similarities, not only in terms of their beauties -among many of them I personally love these four-, but also for the fragilities and I believe that it is our duty to raise awareness on this issues.
The project justification of the colours is recalled from the flavour of some typical tasted in these cities, as a madeleine of proustian memory, food often express the essence of what we experience in and of a place. For me, Venice is the squid ink sauce, Barcelona its yellow safron paela, Paris the Bourgogne red rubin wine, while I remember Istanbul’s bazaar with its piles of sweet delights covered by white fine sugar.

TS. How the city informs your design project?
LC. When we think about a city often, our first understanding of it comes by looking at its plan and urban structure and this is how I have abstracted the design of these tables.
In particular these historic cities have a very iconic image of their plan and, a part from Venice, all of them have an open and costant developing form, so I was interested on capturing its contemporary representation.

TS. From your point of view, which are the elements and features that characterized the design scene in Istanbul?
LC. For some degrees, the impression I had of the design scene reminds me the idea I have about Italy in the Fifties, when everything was happening, the industry was flourishing and pushing young architects and artists’ creativities into the industrial design production.
In the last and currently decades Istanbul is among the capital that it has distinguished itself for its creativity and ferment, even though I think that their best potential are still partially unexpressed, especially in terms of communication strategies.
At the same time, Turkish entrepreneurs such VitrA and Gaia&Gino are globally recognition, by setting up partnerships with international designers, for instance, such as Ross Lovegrove, Karim Rashid or Yves Béhar.

TS. Could you tell us, which are your Turkish designers that you estimate and why?
LC. I know and appreciate a lot the work of some designers who have collaborated with some Italian companies, among them Dafne Koz (who after having worked with Sottsass and Mendini, had also collaborated with Foscarini and Alessi) and Aziz and Derin Sariyer (founders of Derin Design Studio), whom have producted interesting products for Moroso.
I like their essential, minimal design, because it is characterized by the formal simplicity on balancing lines and volumes.

BIO | Graduated from the Università Iuav di Venezia as industrial  designer, Luca Nichetto launched his own firm Nichetto&Partners in 2006 in Venice (with a recent office in Sweden), after having previously collaborated with Salviati and Foscarini.
Also he works as design consultancy, focusing on the development and spreading the applied discipline of design business. Nichetto has been awarded a number of international prizes, including the Gran Design Award (2008), the Chicago Atheneum Museum of Architecture’s Good Design Award (2008) and the Elle Decoration International Design Awards (EDIDA) Designer of the Year award in the Young Designer Talent category (2009). In addition, he has been invited to sit on prestigious juries for a variety of design competitions held both in Italy and abroad.


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