Radical Design

Design with a deeper meaning. Roberta Cipriani opens the doors to her own personal haven.

Cas-art, as the architect and designer refers to it, is both timeless and modern at the same time. Characterized for its bold use of color and symbolism, the space strays from the traditional Florentine style and Renaissance architecture the city is celebrated for.

Founded on the principles of anthroposophy, a creative system established by Rudolf Steiner that seeks to use mainly natural means to optimize physical and mental well-being, the home achieves just this. Roberta’s chosen mediums – form, light, color and material –  converge in a series of individual ‘sculptures’ or furniture, each of which complements the next, like small pieces of a multi-functional puzzle.

Through her design approach and spiritually driven aesthetic Roberta Cipriani introduces the notion of ‘live-able art.’

What was the inspiration for your house in Florence?
My house, and sculptures, are a union between my training as an architect and my anthroposophical studies –according to Rudolf Steiner and Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s respective theories.

I shaped the spaces as though they were one great sculpture, where the forms are rounded and inspired by nature (in nature there are no edges). The curves reflect the flowing wave of life, energy and our emotions, while the corners represent our fears, our rational nature.

Four different elements characterize the sculpture:
Form: a symbol of how matter should be shaped in unison with the natural harmony of creation.
Color: pure energy. It elevates man from the material to the spiritual.
Light: a way of bringing matter to life. It shapes it, making it more fluid and creating special effects that transform the spaces. It gives the impress of eternal becoming.
Natural Materials: the colored earth of the floors and wood are both visually and physically appealing.

I like when my creations are something between art and design. Something that manifests in different forms while also being useful.

Esotericism and symbolism. What do these two words mean to you?
Esotericism for me means to transition from a material dimension to a spiritual state that creates a direct connection to the soul.

Symbolism speaks directly to man, revealing the essential meaning of existence through symbols. Man rejoins the dimension of the sacred. For example, sacred geometry is the language that allows you to capture divine energy in a way that it can manifest in different forms. These symbols are gifts from God to help human beings. They have been used as a universal conscious by the earliest ancient civilizations to this day.The flower of life, used in the lights, is a symbol of creation 

The ultimate expression of ‘sacred geometry’ is Divine Proportion or the Golden Ratio (1.618) which is found all throughout nature.

What aspects of your personality are reflected in the design?
As I mentioned during my interview with AD, “Everything flows around me like a wave, a wave we ride every day. The wave of life.”

“The wave/anomaly” of the table is its principle expression. A space-saving sculpture that is a luminous work of art, complemented by a chromatic light that can be removed and rested on the other side. The chairs are also structured as waves, benches that fit one on top of the other, that save space while also creating a playful corner shelf.

My inner/spiritual quest is linked in part to anthropology (Spiritual Science), and has led me to create spaces that would help you regain a deep harmony and serenity.

How long did it take to complete the project?
The project itself took about a year, between the work and the various artisans and craftsmen who worked with me to shape everything, often without sketches. It became large sculpture that I used my hands to shape.  This was made possible thanks to my background in anthroposophy, which allowed me to mold the material with my hands.

Can you tell us about the creative process?
I was driven by typical Florentine houses that, while extremely beautiful, important and antique, made me feel as though I was in a gilded prison. It was for this reason, I believe that my instincts led me to experiment freely, in an attempt to mold different materials, transforming them into something eternal.

My work was born from a desire to experiment internally on a creative level.

If you had a choose a favorite room, which would it be and why?
My favorite room would have to be the SPA room, where the four fundamental elements each come together: fire, water, air and earth.

 It is my favorite room because it fully respects my personality, my ‘spirit/instinct’ that I managed to translate into a spiritual and artistic journey. “The spirit of man within the spirit of the universe.”

 The fire is present in my “Rêve de Feu”, which is a piece of furniture that is responsible for ‘warming’ up the space, both in terms of temperature and atmosphere. The furnace which I designed is an eco-compatible element because it works off bio-ethanol and is completely void of wood. It doesn’t need an exhaust pipe and can be positioned in any room of the house. The hearth is embellished with a crown that I created around the flame, and is designed to be both inviting and functional at the same time.  

Water is an element represented in the bath – which transforms into a couch when it is closed – and also through the ‘wave’ created by the storage unit.

Tell us some more about the role of the different elements.?
The fire is present in my “Rêve de Feu”, which is a piece of furniture that is responsible for ‘warming’ up the space, both in terms of temperature and atmosphere. The furnace which I designed is an eco-compatible element because it works off bio-ethanol and is completely void of wood. It doesn’t need an exhaust pipe and can be positioned in any room of the house. The hearth is embellished with a crown that I created around the flame, and is designed to be both inviting and functional at the same time.  

Water is an element represented in the bath – which transforms into a couch when it is closed – and also through the ‘wave’ created by the storage unit.

Earth can be found in the stamped/printed exterior that is made up of natural tones finished with resin. The bed is a circular platform that separates the earth from the air, the lighting giving the impression that it is almost floating. The wardrobe built into the bed is a sculpture, the waves illuminated by the incandescent spotlights create a sense of fluidity, while also showcasing my aesthetic.

What’s next?
After I completed the house, and a number of my pieces were displayed in different galleries, I decided to concentrate on my element, which being an Aries is fire. I created the collection, “Rêve de Feu”, a collection of sculptures designed around the theme of fire. The centerpieces in particular are dedicated to aromatherapy, and consist of containers filled with essential oils. My intention is to bring the ‘sacred fire’ into our midst in an attempt to regain the antique ideals of mankind, that not only brings us together and warms our heart, but also becomes the center of the home.  

Credits:

Special thanks to Roberta Cipriani, www.robertacipriani.com

This interview has been translated, edited and condensed.

Tags: editorials, design

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