Jesse Dorris | July 01, 2012
In 1994, legendary architects and designers Roberto and Ludovica Palomba founded Palomba Serafini Associati. Nearly twenty years later, they have worked with almost every major brand in the world, from Bisazza to Poltrona Frau to Zucchetti - winning countless honors, including two Interior Design Best of Year Awards, along the way. We spoke to Roberto Palomba on the occasion of a new product launch in collaboration with Laufen.
Interior Design: What was the first object that sparked your interest in design?
Roberto Palomba: After my mum's breast which I was too small to really remember, the first object that caught my attention was a key. I have this memory in my mind.
ID: What is the difference between designing objects for interiors and the interiors which house them, in terms of the design process?
RP: As I am an architect when I design something I have also in mind the space where it could be placed. Then it happens that people who buy your products give a different use to them and I like to see different interpretations of the same product.
ID: What are the advantages and disadvantages to working for so many different clients?
RP: There are no disadvantages. It is good because when you work with one you can have ideas for others, because one project can influence another. I like the fact the I can express myself in many ways; at my age I feel fruitful.
ID: How has the design market changed over the years?
RP: It's an ever-changing process. The market changed and it will change again. I think in a sense it is always more serious.
ID: What do you consider to be your greatest professional success?
RP: We are lucky and we had lot of satisfactions in our career. There is no just one to mention.
ID: And your greatest professional challenge?
RP: You have to face many challenges to obtain good results. It can be also a positive thing because sometimes can be a way to be more motivated.
ID: What is something you wish more designers would do? Is there an obligation the design community is not honoring, in your opinion?
RP: I think it is important to work with companies that have sustainable processes and try to give a vision not only oriented at the profit but also at a redistribution of the income.
ID: Likewise, is there something you wish more clients would do, or an obligation for them?
RP: A team work is needed, commitment and flexibility.
ID: What was the inspiration for your new collection for Laufen? Is there a particular object which really embodies your intention?
RP: Nature is behind the design of this collection. The inspiration comes from the coves and cliffs by studying the action of the sea on the rocks. Human being is linked to primary shapes, there are forms that accompany us during our life or just recall us of our childhood. We wanted the products of this collection to deliver this message, through their soft touch and smooth shapes.
As for the new free standing washbasin, we took inspiration from the menhir's shape: a single block that enhances its visual impact. The hollow of the bowl recalls the rocks carved out of the water.
ID: What do you think would be a best-case future of design, and how do we make it come true?
Designers should try to reinvent their job and go back to a not only economic approach.