Vittorio Bifulco Troubetzkoy is a young designer who I met last September, at the event “Daunoacento” at the Homi Milan. Immediately I was struck by the elegance of his geometric creations.
Investigating was only the right thing to do … so I interviewed him to understand his creative world and to introduce you to his interesting design vision, and his plans and aspirations. I don’t want to get ahead of myself though, so here was our discussion:
Hello Vittorio! So tell us: who is Vittorio Bifulco Troubetzkoy? What is your story and how did you happen to enter the world of design?
I am a lover of design. I am fascinated by the mental path that starts with an idea, that then is shaped and refined by the mind, and then you have to get out a pencil! I started in architecture, going on to visual communication, and then the world of design. Here ideas become reality – they are molded and are placed around us. My professional research is focused on the individual-form relationship.
I know that for you the relationship between form and individuality is very important, as is the balance between full and empty. What is your poem, you tell me it?
As I said, I have studied for some time the relationship between form and individual. I like to use a few, strict, and strong lines, highlighting the structure, an exoskeleton that becomes the product itself.
In my projects often I look for, as you say, a balance with emptiness. Emptiness is very important, the void is all around us, you can’t avoid it, its presence is everywhere, but it is equal to that of fullness. Emptiness is equal to an iron material, of wood, of brass, with the difference being that emptiness can’t decide not to use it. I really like to try to circumscribe, delimit, and incorporate them into simple lines. In doing so, it creates matter.
The void is not absence but presence.
I often give the minimalist, sure, I try to use a few items and no frills, but very empty and therefore I paradoxically use my products that are very “full.” You speak to me of poetry, but mostly I look for an elegant rationality … I “play” with the materials to give them different meanings and simple structures.
How charming! Speaking of, do you want to talk about the line “Frame 15” you presented at last Homi exhibition? Personally, as soon as I saw “Lightframe” the lamp, I was immediately struck. Can we know where you got the inspiration? How was it created?
As often happens in my work, the “Frame15” line was created unwantedly. I was doing pencil sketches for a ceiling sculpture for private clients and wanted a simple element, easily duplicable, that would allow me a free composition. The tubular framework 15mm was perfect. I did the work, satisfied the customer, and then I thought I’d try a line consistent with this material and so, step by step, I came to “Frame15”. The first piece was precisely the “Lightframe” lamp and I wanted to create a simple sculpture with an extra function. So, after several attempts, supported by the lighting company Virdemlux of Sant’Ilario d’Enza, we were able to switch on the light in sections coming to a double refined functional sculpture / lamp. The intertwining I was doing with the facilities, I could recreate by balancing light and shade. From there the line was developed with seating tables, wall lamps, bookcases, benches, and so on.
In this collection is there a piece that is your most memorable or one that you’re most fond of?
Undoubtedly “Lightframe”. It’s the founder. It was a challenge and I think it represents the correct summary of my professional research.
Personally I think that in every project, in every product that we create, there’s a part of us. In your products, not only in this collection, what piece do we find of you?
The summary, to give and to say what’s true, what you need, and without too many side dishes.
Tell us about Diecidecimi, the project in collaboration with Gumdesign.
Diecidecimi is the brand of my producer. I was very fortunate to know people like David Simon (Diecidecimi) who jumped immediately to new challenges with will and professionalism. Thanks to him, my ideas take shape (it’s always nice for me). Gumdesign immediately believed in the potential of Diecidecimi and is a key partner.
Daunoacento, the exhibition project by Gumdesign, of which you are part, wants to bring the focus on craftsmanship and Made in Italy. Which do you think is the next step we should take to innovate and promote Made in Italy?
Gumdesign has been very far-sighted! Italy needs projects like Daunoacento that help others to understand who and how we are! The step has been taken: the group makes a difference, now it is just to go ahead.
The public, outside personnel, how do they react to your product? What do they think, what do they say?
The external comparison is always exciting, I like to hear people’s opinions. About “Frame15”, the feedback was very positive across the various categories of people. This has really motivated me.
Is there any designer, artist, movement culture that inspires you for your work?
I’m very fascinated by Japanese culture, their way of seeing, from the way they care for and synthesize art (sumi-e) in addition to the ability to see beauty where many would turn their head (kintsugi).
Effectively, your passion is understood also by the search for balance between fullness and emptiness, typical of Japanese culture.
Do you have a favorite designer product?
Not exactly a product as you may think, but for me nothing is like the profile of the Porsche 911. A line that, since 1963, has remained almost unchanged. The best for a designer.
What projects and aspirations do you see for the future?
Many projects, I’m always fascinated by materials and how they can change over time; I am now experimenting with new combinations for new lines.
Aspirations … useless and obvious perhaps, but I’ll tell you the same, the true aspiration is to design what is not there yet…
(He has a vision in mind…we’ll have to wait and see …) ?
Here is the line “Frame15” presented at Homi-Milan