PLUS DESIGN‘s most recent project with Boca do Lobo is an incredible holiday home with spectacular mountain views, situated in the quiet valley of Gerignoz, near Gstaad. For this interior design project, the intent was to convey a discreet sense of luxury combined with the cosy atmosphere of an Alpine Rustic Chalet.
Contemporary touches of design as well as unexpected pieces of artwork and photography add interest and some twists to the interiors.Furnishings and accessories are a mix of new, contemporary furniture, as well as antique, vintage and traditional pieces or eclectic finds sourced from all over Europe and US.
Before we start talking about the interior design industry, let’s take a glance about how it all began: passion. As we already know, you are a passionate about the world of designed furniture. Can you tell us how and why did you come into this sector?
I have always been attracted by art. As a child I spent hours drawing, observing paintings and looking at art books or just enjoying the beauty around me in Rome, the wonderful city in which I was born. At that time my parents were involved in the construction of their new home. The project of their villa was quite complex and has been developed by two architects, who had been disciples of F.L. Wright. I still remember the meetings to define the project, the choice of every detail, color and finishing, the visits on site to check the realization…. I grew up while my home was being built, then along the years I experienced personally the beauty of a space designed with creativity and passion.
Being in love with our work is always the key to achieve better results. Are you in love with your job? What do you love the most about it?
What I love about design is that it not only has to do with art and beauty, it also deals with every day life. A successful design affects the quality of living of people and is a truly added value. But his is not the only reason why I love my job. I also enjoy to share the creative process with my husband Andrea Proto, who is my partner at PlusDesign. We’ve worked for many years in the field of architecture, interior design, sustainable architecture, art exhibitions and graphic design. Our multidisciplinary approach to work is a guideline in our projects: I bring my visions in terms of atmosphere, mood and color and Andrea turns them into reality, with his space planning skills and his attention to detail.
How important is a good chemistry between you and your clients to achieve better results?
First of all you have to recognize the need behind the request: as architects and interior designers, we have to get into the minds and lives of our clients and really care about what they need. Our offer has to be customized, we have an international clientele, their background is varied and leads them to different expectations, that’s why at Plusdesign every project is different. The client’s brief offers us a challenge to test our creativity and our ability to provide the final user with the best possible solution. No matter what size or budget, we try to get the most out of each space, developing its potential and enhancing its qualities, while fulfilling the client’s expectations. Teamwork plays a key role in the project: when the client is involved in the process, he can add something to the final result and his personal feeling, when finally experiencing the space, will be significantly improved.
Is there any piece (or special brand) that deserves your special attention? Why?
We have some pieces and brands that naturally seem to complete our projects, adding their final touch to the whole. Sometimes it’s a piece of art, carefully selected, that sets the mood of an ambiance. However, design and art are strictly connected in our vision: our projects are often developed in cooperation with artists, designers and photographers; our portfolio includes the artistic direction and the technical realization of major temporary exhibitions in highly representative historical buildings. This explains our being focused on the context as well as on its relationship with artwork, light and design solutions.
To conquer such a demanding market, is truly important to be informed about the latest trends on the field. How do you do this?
Curiosity is a natural attitude for an architect. Our attention is always captured by what is new and beautiful, while memory and culture help us discerning and selecting what is worth. Whether it comes from the web, from a book or a magazine, from an exhibition or from a shop or from the street, inspiration is everywhere. Of course, we are also privileged for having access to consultation services of leading companies in the field of architecture and design; when dealing with innovative solutions, our projects are carried out together with highly skilled manufacturers. Innovation has to be tested on the field!
When you think about interior design, what or who really inspires you? Why?
Every space has its own features. The interior designer has to develop its potential, working on the elements that can be changed, organized, improved. There’s no greater satisfaction than being able to give shape to your client’s dreams through your work.
Choosing the right piece for an interior setting might seem an easy task. However, it takes a lot of time and attention to find the perfect match. How do you select which pieces and brands will be part of your project?
Once we have developed our layout, we pick one or two furniture pieces that we consider really essential to carry out our vision. Then the other elements are added and combined, following our inspiration and our criteria of harmony. Sometimes a choice is demanding in terms of time or price or even in terms of transportation. For instance, in one of our latest projects, a chalet near Gstaad, due to its size, the one-piece sofa by Vladimir Kagan had to be delivered by helicopter and was brought in from the balcony. But the final result, paired with the table Eden by Boca do Lobo, is quite stunning and definitely worth the effort.
Most of your costumers are people with a lack of expertise on the field of interior design. Can you share with us some design tips for those who do not know how to start a challenge like this?
Interior design, like fashion, is a matter of proportions. Elegant clothes can enhance your figure, but when it comes to choosing the best dress for you, the most expensive one or the most fashionable is not necessarily a good choice. So when decorating your home, I would go for the style that better complements the space, and I’d pair every element of the “outfit” with an eye to proportions and to the general harmony. If the challenge is too ambitious, the support of a professional figure is a safer bet, also in terms of costs-benefits.
What do you love most about having a store and about being surrounded by such great and timeless furniture pieces?
I do not have a store, yet some furniture pieces follow us and are part of our life in our offices and in our homes. I’m thinking about Le Corbusier’s long chair, Nogutchi’s coffee table, Castiglioni’s Parentesi lamp or Alvar Aalto lake vase, but I’m also referring to our collection of designer’s model chairs, which are a great way of being surrounded by designer’s masterpieces… even in a limited space!
According to your opinion and expertise, which brands cannot be forgotten in an interior design project for it to become a remarkable one?
The secret is often in the mix. Furnishings and accessories should be a blend of new, contemporary furniture, as well as antique, vintage and traditional pieces or eclectic finds sourced from all over the world. Obviously, talking about design, there are some brands and pieces that make a difference. But we never chose them a-priori, the choice of a key element always comes after the recognition of the space and the individuation of its potential.
Boca do Lobo is a luxury brand known for its bold and exclusive design. According to it, can you tell us which is your favorite furniture piece and why?
Our favorite Boca do Lobo’s piece is the table Eden. It’s a piece of design that enhances the intimate connection between shape and surface. The table Eden takes its shape from that of a massive wood trunk, recalling the Alpine woods and the local materials, but its sophisticated metal coating is unexpected and contemporary, yet still in tune with the chalet style. Now that PlusDesign has based its practice in the heart of the Swiss Alps, this was the perfect piece to display something new in the traditional mountain interiors. There are many other pieces from Boca do Lobo that I love, and I’ve just spotted a new amazing dining table displayed at the last Maison & Objet 2016…