Though he respectfully believes the two professions—interior and fashion design—are distinct, Antonio Citterio began collaborating with fashion icon Hermès in 2010. Until then, the Milan-based industrial and furniture designer’s relationship with fashion was limited to retail projects such as interiors for the Italian and Dutch headquarters of Esprit and everything from concept designs to production facilities for the likes of Bulgari, Ungaro and Valentino.
“There is a kind of mutual support between architecture and fashion related to the perceived level of up-to-dateness,” says Citterio. “The fashion product has a refresh rate much more rapid than architecture." However, he explains, the taste cycles for interiors related to commercial spaces are compatible with those of fashion and change direction every four to five years.
With his recently released Matières collection for Hermès, Citterio rediscovered the distinctive features of everyday living room furniture and reexamined wing chairs, reading chairs, love seats, and more. Hermès also invited Enzo Mari and Rena Dumas Architecture Intérieure to create carpets, furniture, fabrics and wallpapers.
“These collections are an opportunity to demonstrate a contemporary expression of Hermès, faithful to its craftsman spirit and imbued with values of functionality and comfort,” says Pierre-Alexis Dumas, artistic director of Hermès. The development of these collections took time, he adds, necessitating research into ways to surpass the known limitations of the material.
“We find it challenging to work on different projects where problems are every time new and you have to find not only the right solution but also the one able to fulfill your expectations,” says Citterio. “Thinking of design as pure added value in industrial products is a cliché. It betrays a serious misunderstanding of the profound relationship of reciprocity that exists—and must exist—between industrial culture and design culture.”
Results like these are profound indeed.
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