Serena Confalonieri is a young designer, born in 1980, who has worked over the years in products design, graphic and design of fabrics, getting known by several Italian and foreign companies. In 2014 she received a special mention at the Young&Design Awards and in 2016 she won the prestigious German Design Awards. Some of her works have been published on important magazines such as Ottagono, Elle Décor and Interni. Last year she has started a partnership with Porro, an historic Brianza-based company, one of the most appreciated at international level for wood finishing and processing.
I reached Serena by phone, a Saturday of few weeks ago. The freshness of some of her works reflects the joviality of her person. After the first few minutes of talk and conversations, I asked her to illustrate the first approach with Porro.
I was called by Porro before the last summer, to help the company along the path it had already started in the past Salone del Mobile (2017, ed). A project focused on the storage wardrobe, their strong point and symbolic product. For the Salone 2017 the architect and art director Piero Lissoni had already selected some existing fabrics to cover the storage wardrobe. Porro wanted to do one step more by relying on the suggestions of the R + W studio, its press office. This studio pointed out to me as a designer that could be the right person to thekind of project the company was carrying out. The first idea presented to me was to develop some ad hoc fabrics. Since the first meeting we have decided to graphically rework some of their own furniture products.
Where did your graphic reworking work start from?
First of all, I ran a search on their website, in the integrated area, by downloading all the images and technical drawings of the products. I started working on their most iconic products, adding others that I liked the most. I focused on those that in my opinion were more harmonious and with more contemporary lines. Three of the fabrics I have designed are a review of three projects by the Swedish studio Front, because they are more contemporary, with more easily usable lines.
Have you used mixed techniques for realizations?
I designed three projects starting from photographic images, integrating them with the graphics. For the other two projects I worked on technical drawings, editing the axonometric views of the System storage wardrobe and mixing technical drawings, perspective plans and axonometric drawings of some representative products of the company.
What are the three subjects of the photographic images you have selected?
The Gentle chair, the Ellipse table and a piece of furniture called Balancing Boxes.
What motivated you to focus on these inspirations?
I had also designed a floral theme, but making a self-reference to the company seemed to me the most correct way to celebrate its products and to support a project created ad hoc by Porro.
How would you describe the style of Porro in general?
Porro has a very serious, rigorous style. I am very colorful, imaginative, even fresh, so there was an adjustment. The color palettes and colors that I proposed were many for each design. Then there was a selection from them. Let’s say that we have found quite easily a common point between my work and their style.
When the press office proposed me to work with them, at the beginning they were a bit displaced. When they noticed that my proposals were not so crazy but in line with their previous production, they rightly started to trust a little more and left me more freedom to use pastel colors, especially pink and blue. I must say that on both sides there was a fairly natural adjustment.
When they told me that my work was under the scrutiny of Piero Lissoni, I immediately thought “what will survive of the things I’ve done?”. Now I can say I’m very happy of my work with them.
All your research activity has been rewarded by the trust of the company and its art director, but if you look at your work a little bit from the outside, could you tell me a favorite?
Actually I have more than one, she smiles on the phone.
I really like the one with the Ellipse table motif and the one in gray, obtained from the mix of drawings.
Tell us an interesting fact about your work experience with Porro.
During the selection process, the System Brown fabric was chosen, and I was a bit stunned: among the cheerfulest proposals I had made, it had been chosen the more out-of-tone one. When I saw it applied to the closet, I admitted that it was probably the best one. Working with Porro was gratifying because if on one hand they decided to trust me, on the other hand I also learned to trust their dynamics of choice. When I saw my graphic system mounted on the wardrobe, I thought “well spotted!”.