Amidst the bustle of Salone del Mobile, we sat down with Moroso creative director, Patrizia Moroso.
The central Moroso presentation within the Rho fair complex for Salone del Mobile 2016 was a tableau of new collaborative collections. Nine designers were featured, including Patricia Urquiola, Daniel Libeskind, Alfredo Haberli, Doshi&Levien, Tord Boontje, Front, Edward van Vliet, Scholten&Baijings and up-and-coming Spanish outfit Mermelada. At the company’s Milan showroom, an exhibition titled SPRING to MIND paid homage to Ron Arad, and his 25-year relationship with Moroso.
Amidst the bustle of the fair, and punctuated with the occasional, “Ciao bella!” and “Amore!” as her friends passed by (including Moroso collaborator, Raf Simons), Indesign Melbourne Editor Alice Blackwood sat down with Patrizia Moroso to discuss the family business, and the significance of materials at Moroso.
INDESIGN MELBOURNE EDITOR, ALICE BLACKWOOD: Tell me about your family history with Moroso. Obviously your parents started the brand. Was it always a given that you would take up the directorship?
MOROSO CREATIVE DIRECTOR, PATRIZIA MOROSO: The story starts in 1952 – my parents started the company when they were very young, just 16 and 20 years old. They were in the industry because the little city where they lived, and the city where I was born, was a sofa production district. It was a local craft, people were making sofas, curtains, all the things relating to fabric. And so they started their company as two young people, with sisters, cousins, friends. I was born three years later. I remember the atmosphere at the time because I was born into it. We didn’t have a nanny, so from day one I was in the factory – I really grew up there. I played with fabrics and pieces of wood as toys.
Patrizia Urquiola Belt sofa for Moroso
BLACKWOOD: Is it still run as a family business? What is that dynamic like?
MOROSO: Yes, my father and mother are over 80 now, but they still come in every day at 8.30 in the morning. In the beginning the dynamic was a little bit hard maybe – I started in the 1980s. I had been [abroad] as you do at that age, but I came back at a time that was a critical moment for the economy, critical for the company, but I returned with my ideas. I had studied at art school, I had some friends in design, and some ideas. My parents were welcoming – they said okay! They were happy to see their daughter involved I think. I started to try and realise [some of my ideas] with my friends. One was Massimo Iosa Ghini, who was 22 at the time, but later became a very famous designer in Italy and founded a movement called Bolidismo. We made a collection together, it was very funny, very special. The collection is no longer in production, but it was a fantastic, formative experience. It gave me an idea of what to do next, and to see how to do things totally differently to what had been done before in the company. It was a great way to improve and learn.
BLACKWOOD: What was your vision for Moroso then, and has this continued through to today?
MOROSO: When you start I don’t think you have a precise idea. I had this intuition, that if you do something interesting, the media will talk about you, and if the media start to talk about you, you start to have a name, a brand. I was not conscious so much, but I was sure that making important things in terms of design, as well as making a brand and building the image of the company, would in turn build out the future of the company. That was the beginning. In 1991 we released our first collaborative collection, and now we are celebrating 25 years.
BLACKWOOD: Texture and materiality is always such a strong theme in all of Moroso’s work. Tell me about the textures that you’re playing with this year.
MOROSO: Fabrics and surfaces in general are so important. Like I was saying before, this has been in my blood forever. Suppliers are so important. Sometimes we need a very specific material or texture, and many times the fabrics that we work with are created especially for us on the project of the design – so the same designer that is designing the furniture, is also designing the fabric. I think if you want a special personality in your object, you have to pay a little more, but you end up with something that’s only for you. I always ask my designers to think a lot about how to do and what to use. Materials are very important, not just to make a shape, that is easy. I want them to make something more. I try to follow projects that have something different inside.