The freedom to switch from one type of product to another is a motivating factor the principals behind Italian firm LucidiPevere swear by. Since founding their studio in 2006, the Milan-educated Paolo Lucidi and Luca Pevere have designed bathroom fittings, furnishings, lighting, and accessories for the likes of Agape, Driade, Foscarini, Kristalia, Ligne Roset, and Living Ceramics, among others. Their latest obsession, rugs and fabric, take a 2-D turn. “We don’t like to design only with the same language,” Lucidi explains. Adds Pevere, “This is why we love our work.”
Interior Design: Where did you grow up, and how did it influence your work?
Luca Pevere: When I was a child, I lived with my grandmother when my parents were at work, and grandmothers... well they can give a lot of freedom to young kids. I always tried to invent things with strange objects, like metal pieces from the garage. Later in life, I wanted to go to art school, but thought I might be bored if I did design every day. So I changed completely and did science. But then I went back to my passion... and haven’t been bored yet.
Paolo Lucidi: I come from a family of three children. Since we didn’t have many toys, we built them with found things or old stuff. My passion for furniture design and design in general came from the arts and crafts school that I attended starting at age 15. We had a workshop with a lot of machines to work with wood, metal, and other kinds of material. After studying theory, we made chairs and objects. I also always lived in this kind of atmosphere. When I returned home in the evening, my father spoke a lot about furniture, because we had a little furniture shop. By age 15, I was already familiar with Salone del Mobile.
ID: How do you feel the Italian design scene influences your work?
LP: We consider ourselves both lucky and unlucky because we live in Udine, far from Milan—which is the design capital for Italy and much of the world. We are very far from the big brands and the magazines. Our friends who are designers in Milan... they are used to living with journalists and company owners, with exhibitions every day. We are outside of this, but at the same time that’s a good thing because we can see everything cleaner.
If you are too involved in outlets that show design news or trends, in a very strange way you are forced to go that way. Sometimes as a designer, you may not remember where you saw it, but you have already seen an idea. Sometimes it is better to just switch off everything and not have contact with the outside. Then you can design in a very free, and probably more original way.
ID: Can you describe a few recent products?
LP: At Euroluce in Milan this year, we presented Arumi, a very small lamp we designed for Foscarini. We started with the idea to do a small alternative to our other Foscarini lamp (the concrete Aplomb), and this time make it completely of metal, working with clay molds. Outside it is really, really raw; it looks like a bell. Inside it is really bright and intelligent, using a very specific LED for this kind of ceiling lamp.
Backpack is an outdoor seating collection we did for Ligne Roset, inspired by the world of scouting, mountains, and sportswear. We wanted to create an upholstered object by managing the foam and soft part of the seat in a different way. It’s like a big stack where you put two cushions inside and then you roll and fix it in place.
PL: Usually a sofa is made with a metal frame, with foam molded on to it. With our alternative, from a production standpoint, it is both easy to produce and easy to understand. The fabric is a special outdoor fabric that looks like rubber, and really interesting to the touch, with a soft feeling. The frame is aluminum, like a hiking backpack.
ID: What inspires you?
LP: Factories. When we visit a new factory, we like to see how the process goes, from the materials, to the docks, to the trash bin—sometimes we find something inspiring or new or unexpected. The idea for Alburni, these low tables we did for Ligne Roset, came from a part we found in a trash bin.
ID: Latest interiors pet peeve?
PL: At the moment, we see this trend of using super luxury materials everywhere. Sometimes interior designers succeed in richness, using velvet, copper, and brass, but I think it’s too much.
ID: Picture books or Internet?
LP: In terms of quantity, we view a lot of pictures online—especially from the fashion sector. However, when we want to see something really different, it’s books. For example, there are really nice images in Hella Jongerius – I Don’t Have a Favorite Colour, the last book from designer Hella Jongerius. With books, you have the time to understand better what you are seeing, the time to understand the picture.
PL: Yes, online you’re looking for something in particular and can’t find it. Then you are scrolling, scrolling, repeating, repeating. A book is more unusual, more original, and more personal. On my table I have Achille Castiglioni: Complete Works. It’s a big book, with all the materials, architecture, and product design that he made.
ID: Most admired historic interior?
LP: It’s an interior designed by light because everything is white, from the sculptures [original models by Antonio Canova] to the walls. There’s a very nice feeling inside.
We also visited the VitraHaus a couple of years ago in Switzerland and that would be a really nice place to live in. For a designer, everything is perfect—the objects, the styling, the architecture.
ID: Dream commission?
PL: At the moment we are fascinated by surfaces in general, and really focused on two-dimensional products—fabrics, rugs—and we’d like to design something to these dimensions.
ID: Best thing about your job?
PL: Freedom. Freedom to travel around the world, and freedom to work in different sectors. It’s not a boring job.
LP: And freedom to say no. If you did too many lamps, too many chairs, or too many sofas, you can switch to something else!
ID: A secret source you’re willing to share?
LP: We have many secret sources, but one of our best secrets is Sale e Pepe, a very nice small restaurant in the mountains, where we go and discuss things about the studio. It’s a place to go to eat something special, and not a typical Italian restaurant because it’s close to the border of Slovenia and Austria. The dishes are really sophisticated and different.