On the occasion of the recent Brera Design Days in Milan at the beginning of October, which is filled with events, exhibitions, workshops and meetings, I once again had the pleasure and the honor of enriching myself professionally and personally with experiences that I will never forget.
In particular, I want to focus on an event that I attended on October 12th, in a sunny road called Via Tortona, in the splendid and eclectic location of Archiproducts Milano, where you can breath in design 24 hours a day.
I was invited there by Linvisibile, a company I’ve already talked about here. It was a splendid afternoon where between chatting, laughing and some serious conversations, along with some drinks and toasts, I had the pleasure of interviewing two people that you definitely do not meet every day: an accountant who has become an engineer and an “almost engineer” who instead became a designer (among other things), as they like to jokingly say between themselves.
The first is Antonio Menegatti, general manager of Linvisibile and the second is Matteo Ragni, creative director of the company.
Antonio is a brilliant, ironic, extremely clever and sharp person who has come into design thanks to the Arab investment fund he works for. With the Linvisible project this fund has found itself in one of the highest design contents currently available on the market.
Elegant in his dark suit, he said that he does not understand anything about design or creativity (which I doubt!), even if for him “creativity is something that has to do with people’s personality” a way to express themselves and their intimacies.
When I asked him which Linvisibile product was his favorite, he told me that he didn’t have a favorite product at all, but that every one of them has a story behind it that he loves, here’s the concept:
"A door is like a moment of transition and transformation and I'm a big fan of change. Change is the sure and constant element in each of our lives. The threshold of the door, is a change from one place to another, an entry to an exit or vice versa, and this is a beautiful concept for me."
Antonio, you play a role in this company Linvisibile, which represents all that is associated with Made in Italy, so for you, what do you think of the concept of Made in Italy?
Made in Italy is in my DNA, I’m Italian, and I think it’s a beautiful thing, but I wonder how long we will be able to carry it forward. Because I believe that the Made in Italy that we want to talk about is no longer new to these times, but part of something that has passed. The craftsmen, the people who work with their own hands, are something precious that are found less and less.
How can we save Made in Italy?
With humility! Humility to work with your hands and your heart, that is something that we are truly missing. People, young people, who are fascinated by the world of work must do something that they like, and that they are passionate about.
Antonio, with a broad panorama of professionals, how did Linvisibile come into the hands of Matteo Ragni? Why him?
When I joined the company in 2013, Linvisibile was under the creative direction of Marco Viola, who had given a certain type of image to the brand, which remained intact until the end of 2014.
However we needed radical change, it was necessary to go and find someone who could capture the new feel of Linvisibile. Without taking anything away from Marco, we needed another person, another hand, another head. Among the professionals we took into consideration, Matteo impressed us for his pragmatic approach, his easy going nature and informality, but at the same time his extreem elegance.
On reflection can you say it was the right choice?
Absolutely and our new catalogue is undoubtedly one of the best of our collaboration.
So can you say it was the right choice?
Absolutely and our new catalogue is undoubtedly one of the best in our collaboration.
So now, Linvisibile has the image you dreamed it would have, is that correct?
Well suffice to say that Linvisibile before Matteo came along was “L’Invisibile” with the apostrophe, and now it is all attached, Linvisibile. Matteo removed the apostrophe. He is absolutely brilliant, it was a bullseye hit, and we are very happy.
What are your plans for the near future?
Matteo, as you know, is among other things a product designer, so I can tell you now that we are developing something together, a product. It’s something very beautiful that is being created and it reflects the elegance of Matteo’s style along with Linvisibile style. We will probably present it next year.
Matteo Ragni, from the class of 1972, he is one of the most prominent designers on the international scene and head of a design studio, he is also the winner of two Compasso d’Oro awards. An interesting person, with a simple and calm manner, his gentle ways allow a great professionalism and mastery to shine through.
Matteo, what do you do for Linvisibile? What does your job consist of?
I listen. The art director is kind of a psychologist, not only for entrepreneurs but for the entire company. It is important to understand where an idea comes from, to understand its history and where the idea will go. We share common goals. The art director helps the entrepreneur and the company to look a bit beyond their daily activities. We help them to dream a little.
What was the first thing you did with Linvisibile?
We started off with rebranding the brand. As Antonio said, at first Linvisibile was written with an apostrophe. We did a very subtle but very powerful operation: we took away this apostrophe and it made the company name change from an adjective to a noun. And it has become a main name in a particular product category. It has led us to an attitude change in the market. Linvisibile is an international brand oriented towards customization. The company has design partners and it is no longer just a company that sells doors.
So what was the second step?
Secondly, once the rebranding was complete, we involved the international designer Giullio Cappellini, who designed two door systems for us, which we presented at the Salone del Mobile last April.
Matteo, what did you see in Linvisibile that won you over and made you decide to take part in this collaboration?
Behind the companies there are people, the human factor for me is fundamental and there are times when there are powerful synergies and alchemies between an entrepreneur and a designer, as there are in this case. You know, I’m a little romantic and I like to think of great masters of design like Magistretti, Castiglioni and Giò Ponti who I think is the greatest art director of all time, who always worked hand in hand with businessmen.
Magistretti said that making design is like making love, there must be at least two.
I say ‘at least’, in the sense that today there is also marketing and so it has become a little more outgoing.
Design, what is it for you?
Design is a science but it is also poetry and emotion. So in our projects we try to develop with the companies, we put in a lot of the human factor. Just think we made a video for Linvisibile last year, where you can barely see a door. To do this you need to meet open minded companies like Linvisibile. Even the catalogue we have created is no longer an abacus of products but a range of proposals and suggestions that can also help and inspire designers.
Meeting two professionals like Antonio and Matteo is a unique opportunity for those who do my job. I am happy to share these meetings and interviews with you.
Now let’s keep our eyes out this coming year: a new product designed by Matteo Ragni for Linvisibile is coming out! #staytuned
What do you think about this interview? Did you like it? Did you already know Linvisibile’s history? Was there something in this “story” that really struck you? What are your thoughts about the change they made in Linvisibile’s name?
©photos: CB Team – Giulia Grilli
Watch the interview teaser