With the occasion of the recent Brera Design Days in Milan in the beginning of October, 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.
However, I want to focus on the event I attended on October 12th, on a sunny road called Via Tortona, in the splendid and eclectic location of Archiproducts Milano, where design is breathed day in day out.
I was there invited by Linvisibile, the company I’ve already talked about here. It was a gorgeous afternoon where between chatting, laughing and some serious conversations, along with some drinks and toasts, and 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 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 to design thanks to the Arab investment fund he works for. This fund has found itself in one of the highest design contents currently available on the market with the Linvisibile project.
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 the personality of people” to express themselves and their intimacy.
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 like a moment of transition, transformation. I'm a big fan of change. Change is the sure and constant element in each of our lives. The threshold, the door, is change from one place to another, one entry to an exit or vice versa, and this for me is a beautiful concept."
Antonio, you play a role in a company like Linvisibile, that represents all that is associated with the concept Made in Italy, so you, coming from Made in Italy, what do you think of it?
Made in Italy is in my DNA, I’m Italian, and I think it’s an amazing 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 craftsmanship, the person who works with his own hands, is something that is happening less and less.
How can we save Made in Italy?
With humility! The humility to work with your hands and your heart, that is something that we are truly losing. People, the young people, are fixated on a working world where you must do something that you like, your passion.
Antonio, in 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. But we needed radical renewal, it was necessary to go and find someone who could capture the new Linvisibile taste. Without taking anything away from Marco, he needed another person, another hand, another head. Among the professionals we have taken into consideration, Matteo has impressed us for his pragmatic approach, his cheerfulness and his informality, but elegance at the same time.
So can you say it was the right choice?
Absolutely and our new catalogue is undoubtedly one of the best in our collaboration.
So Linvisibile has the image you dreamed it would have today, is that correct?
Well really all you have to know is that, Linvisibile before Matteo came along was “L’ Invisibile” (ed. The Invisible in english) with the apostrophe, and now it is all attached, Linvisibile. Matteo removed the apostrophe. It is absolutely brilliant, it was a bullseye hit, and we are very happy.
What are your projects 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. Something very amazing is being created and it reflects even further the elegance of Matteo’s style along with Linvisibile. We will probably present it next year.
Matteo Ragni, from the class of 1972, is one of the most prominent designers in the international scene at the head of the design studio, also the winner of two Compasso d’Oro awards. He is an interesting person, with a simple and peaceful attitude, from his gentle ways can be seen great professionalism.
What do you do for Linvisibile? What is your job?
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 a reality comes from, to understand its history and at what point they want to arrive at. We share common goals. Art helps the entrepreneur and the company look a bit beyond the daily activity. We help them to dream a little more.
What was the first thing you did with Linvisibile?
We started off with brand rebranding. As Antonio said, 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 change from an adjective to a noun. And it has become a main character in the product sector. It has changed its position in the market. Linvisibile is an international brand oriented towards customization. Even the company is a design partner, it is no longer just a company that sells doors.
So what was the second step?
Secondly, once the rebranding was over, we were involved with the international designer Giulio Cappellini, who designed two door systems for us last April at the Salone del Mobile.
Matteo, what did you see in Linvisibile that won you over, who made you decide to take part in a collaboration?
Behind the companies there are people, the human factor for me is crucial and there are times when there are powerful synergies and alchemies, between an entrepreneur and a designer, as in this case. You know, I’m a bit of a romantic and I like to think of great design masters like Magistretti, Castiglioni, Giò Ponti, who I think is the greatest art director of all time, who always worked with businessmen.
Magistretti said that design is like making love, there must be at least two people
I say ‘at least’ in the sense that today there is also marketing and so it has become a bit more extroverted.
What is design for you?
Design is a science but it is also poetry and emotion. So in the projects we try to develop with the companies, we put in a lot of the human factor. We made a video for Linvisibile last year, where you can barely see a door. To do this you need to meet companies like Linvisibile. Even the catalogue we have created is no longer an abacus of products but a range of proposals and influences 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