A Conversation with Design Master Giulio Cappellini

Giulio Cappellini at his Milan Showroom

Giulio Cappellini at his Milan Showroom

Even if you’ve never heard of Giulio Cappellini, or the eponymous design studio he’s run for three decades, chances are you’ve seen some of the furniture maker’s quizzically shaped, brightly hued tables, couches and cabinetry.

If not in top style mags like Elle Decor, Dwell and Architectural Digest, then on display at prestigious museums like the V&A in London, the Museum of Decorative Arts in Paris and New York’s MoMA.

Part of what has made the 59-year-old so successful is a singular ability for discovering, developing and collaborating with untapped talent: much lauded stars like Marcel Wanders, Jasper Morrison and Tom Dixon all got their first big breaks by working with the Milanese master.

When Cappellini was in Toronto recently to give a lecture at the Design Exchange, we caught up with him to talk about his sense of colour, humour and how he finds his bright young things.

You’ve got a knack for spotting fresh talent. How do you do it?

I travel a lot. I visit universities and schools. I meet a lot of people. Sometimes I just see a rough prototype or a sketch. Or sometimes I meet someone and I just think that this person can work well with Cappellini. The feeling I get for the person is very important, because sometimes it takes years between the first prototype and the final design. And I never just want to make one piece with a designer. So we need to build a strong relationship.

Continue reading

Advertisements

The Comeback: Cut Glass Gets a Modern Update

Cumbria Crystal's Bottle Vase

Cumbria Crystal’s Bottle Vases

During the Victorian era, hand-blown, intricately patterned glass was a stylish sign of wealth. European aristocrats and American tycoons used it to transform their salons into jewel boxes, lining the rooms with gleaming vases, goblets and treys.

But, similar to carriage making and shoe cobbling, the craft fell out of favour in the early 20th century, when more modern, steam-lined luxuries came into fashion. In the US, there were over 1,000 studios working with cut glass during the 1800s. By 1908, there were only 100.

Continue reading

The Hot List: Who I’ll Be Ogling at the 2012 Olympics

In the June 25, 2012 issue of The New Yorker, staff writer Adam Gopnik notes that “we are about to enter that period, which occurs every four years, when [we] become passionate about athletes we have never heard of participating in games we do not follow trying to please judges we cannot see according to rules we do no know.” He attributes our irrational infatuation with the Olympics to nationalism, or internationalism, or something else very brainy, yet he fails to underscore why most of us really tune in. Hot jocks! I don’t know a thing about rhythmic gymnastics or synchronized swimming, but I’m always willing to watching tight buns, and biceps and brawn. Here’s who I will be eying in London (and because I’m such a good nationalist, they are all from Canada’s team).

Milos Raonic

Milos Raonic

Is he really Canada’s Messiah? No, that’s insane. But the Thornhill native is the highest ranked singles tennis player in Canadian history (he’s currently no. 22 in the world), and, at the young age of 21, has already won over a $1 million in prize. Plus, he’s 6’5″ tall. Just saying.

Continue reading

Ai Weiwei, You’re Hot

Dear Ai Weiwei,

I think you’re hot. It’s not because I have a thing for beards, bellies or artists, because I don’t. (Especially artists — imagine what it would be like to date Jeff Koons? Scary. You’re bits and bites would be on display).

It’s because, as the New Yorker‘s Culture Desk noted, you’re an artist rebel-hero of the hottest order

Continue reading