The Many Shades of Design

Fabio Novembre, multi-disciplinary designer, Italy

n Utopia, comes from a Latin word, which means "not a place" or "nowhere". I like this word because it gives me a starting point as a designer to create. When I designed a table for Cappellini, I gave it a glass top but I made 171 legs for it, because for me, it's not about what's on the table, but what's under. My passion for design comes from my need to tell a story. I have to make my clients enthused about an idea and I cannot get them excited if I am not convinced. I believe we don't need more things in this world why should we increase the noise, the pollution of images and of more products, unless we find a reason to do so. We have to make things so we can love one another, and communicate with one another. In Italy, where I grew up, we have the piazza culture, quite similar to the street culture that India has. But now it's vanishing. I made a tray that replicated a street to tell people that let's bring the piazzas back into our consciousness and let's make spaces where we can meet and make friends.

Michael Aram, industrial designer, the US

n My association with India started in 1989, and my introduction to craft began there. I rambled through the streets of Old Delhi, watching in awe as I found little shacks and hole-in-the-wall places where sand-casting was being done, metal being hammered and buckets being made. And each of the products, be it scissors or shovels, they looked like they were 100 years old. And I thought, in a machine-made world, we don't see the hand of the maker. So I set up my studio and before I knew it, we became the first company to export handmade cutlery out of India. But things had changed in India. People didn't want metal buckets it was seen as second-class they wanted plastic. I have always wanted my products to have soulfulness, something which shows that there is a hand behind it, an "I made it" mark. That's what my customers in America look for something that is honest. But my biggest challenge with the skilled labour is how to teach them that a fingerprint in a bowl is good, to give it the authenticity but polishing of a product cannot be compromised.

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