“I ask them not to imagine a single object, but to imagine a new world and relate it with the future,” says Patrizia Moroso, who was in Manila recently for the launch of the Casabella showroom at The Fort.
Moroso, a scion of the family-owned high-end Italian furniture company established by her parents, earned a reputation for collaborating with talents like Patricia Urquiola, Carlo Colombo, Ron Arad and Tord Boontje, who would soon be household names.
Take the Shadowy chair designed by Boontje, a colorful whimsical piece that brings to mind the curves of an ampersand.
“After Tord, everyone was feeling free to put flowers everywhere, and after a while it was a bit too much,” Moroso told Dezeen magazine.
“Tord was important because he showed a way that nobody had wanted to try. It wasn’t only about flowers, of course. It was about the surface, how the surface doesn’t have to be plain but could be something more: layers of embroidery, layers of stuff cut out, many other things that give the object a special value, a special sensibility and sensuality.”
In the Moroso universe, playfulness rules over austerity. Modern design doesn’t necessarily require a sober eye. In rejecting the nihilist modernism that equates spareness with minimalism, Moroso sought out designers recognized for their ability to embrace new ways of thinking.
In Arad’s case, he found inspiration in the mundane. After the London designer encountered a discarded mattress on a New York street, an idea came to him.
Dubbed Matrizia, the sofa is a sculpture of a mattress molded to conform to the silhouette of an easy chair. Connoisseurs of early Disney filmmaking will remember the anthropomorphic characters in “Beauty and the Beast,” when the Beast’s mansion’s occupants, consisting of humanized furniture, come to life and sing with Belle.
Arad’s sofa shape is reminiscent of the lithesome characters in the Disney animation, drawing on feelings of nostalgia and optimism. Though its origin is firmly rooted in derelique, its addition to the Moroso brand, with its vivid overtones, lends it a cheerful air.
Just as the brand’s mascots are overt in their extravagant optimism, like Patricia Urquiola’s Antibody, essentially oversized printed petals rendered on a chair, Moroso clearly has an affection for vitality, for objects that bring life to a space.
In envisioning design beyond the rigid confines of monochrome modern, Moroso seeks to collaborate with the right kind of people—“people who try to change the world in a positive way, with intelligence and passion that always moves the artists in the face of beauty,” she says.