An iconic symbol of Italian design, Kartell continues to reinvision the contemporary domestic landscape under the direction of Claudio Luti.
Kartell is famous for its Made in Italy identity. What is the importance of maintaining Made in Italy within the design world?
Made in Italy is for us synonymous of quality. All our products are rigorously developed and produced in our country where we have exclusive relationships with our partners in production, as they were a true part of the company. Some companies prefer to delocalize the production to have more savings, but we strongly believe that this could bring less control and less follow up on a constant basis, with negative effect on the final product result, which always needs to be certified in terms of quality and reliability.
Plastics have been a prominent feature of Kartell products. What are some of the innovations uniquely created by Kartell?
Just to mention a few of them: we have been the first in the world to bring plastics into the home environment in 1951 with the Casalinghi household division, by Gino Colombini. In 1963 we presented the first chair by Sapper Zanuso, the first piece of furniture in ABS. In 1999 we produced the very first transparent chair in the world, La Marie: the first example of injection of polycarbonate in one single molding. In 2001 the Bubble Club was the first industrial sofa realized in rotational, a technology that till then was only used for big industrial containers, and that we used for a design piece…Today we have so many other primates in technology. The injection of polycarbonate under the La Marie chair now has been so developed by Kartell, that we are now able to produce a completely transparent sofa.
We always push forward innovation thanks to a constant research on materials, technologies, processes, compounds.
Where does the inspiration come from for Kartell’s more experimental collections?
We always push forward innovation thanks to a constant research on materials, technologies, processes, compounds. We often look outside the furniture industry (like automotive, aeronautics and others) and then bring revolution within the design field, using industrial technologies to produce innovative and still aesthetical pieces. Sometimes we suggest technologies to our designers, some others the designers help us innovating bringing their own ideas, stimulating us in our research to find the best solution to make their vision become true. It is a multifaceted process, always evolving and challenging. It is our spirit.
Tell us about Kartell’s relationship with Industrial Design star Philippe Starck.
Philippe Starck was the first interpreter of the “new Kartell” after Claudio Luti bought the company in 1988 becoming the new president and owner. With his first product, Dr.Glob, he shown the incredible potentials of plastic materials to give life to a glamorous product even if still industrial and affordable. Since then, after 27 years of collaboration (a remarkable time), he designed more than 35 product ranges of our catalogue, always bringing innovation, unconventionality, personality in his projects. Some of our worldwide icons were designed by him: like the Louis Ghost transparent chair (sold in more than 2.000.000 pieces since 2002), the whole Ghost family, the Bubble Club sofa (Compasso D’Oro 2001), the Gnomes or the Uncle Jack sofa.
What are the stories behind some of the newer pieces created in collaboration with Philippe Starck?
The Masters chair, another true icon of our catalogue (Red Dot Design Award), is the combination of three “historical” chairs profiles: Series 7 by Arne Jacobsen, the Tulip Armchair by Eero Saarinen and the Eiffel Chair by Charles Eames. It is an homage to design and to the Masters as a matter of fact. But with an original combination of this profiles, the chair is totally new.
We are a lifestyle and design brand, but today we are also very proud of our Kartell à la Mode fashion accessories collections.
What are the latest developments with Kartell in Tavola and Kartell Fragrances?
Kartell in Tavola: launched in 2014, 40 years after Anna Castelli Ferrieri and Franco Raggi designed the first Kartell in Tavola creations, the division was revived with new collections of tableware and accessories for the dining room and kitchen by Patricia Urquiola, Jean-Marie Massaud and Davide Oldani chef.
Kartell Fragrances: made its debut in January 2015 and it is now in production. It is a new branch of the company devoted to producing and selling perfumed home decor items. The first collection, designed by Ferruccio Laviani, includes 3 different product categories (scented candles, electronic diffusers and reeds diffusers), for 6 product ranges and 8 different fragrances developed by renowned “noses”.
What is special about the relationship between Kartell and LUISAVIAROMA?
In common we have the search for excellence and quality, the ironic approach that we transfer through our presentations and events, we like to be trendy and glamorous without linking to temporary trends…this way becoming an historical point of reference in style and taste.