04 May 2015

Giampaolo Benedini and the Importance of Tape Measure

In occasion of Salone del Mobile, the showroom Agape12 opened in Milan on the 17th of April, being the first concept-store of the Mantova based company. Its innovative idea combines the furniture shop with the space dedicated to the development of the creative ideas, making this showroom exhibition gallery and design centre at the same time. An exclusive offer wanted and chosen by Agape, which is a reference for the high end furniture for the bathroom since the 70s. Located in the heart of Brera, the Milan district with the highest density of galleries, showrooms, and spaces dedicated to design and contemporary art, Agape12 is intended to become, since the beginning, integral part of the design culture of Milan. We were at the opening and we have met the designers who contributed the the latest Agape collection 2015.

We start our interviews tour meeting Giampaolo Benedini, art director of Agape, company he founded in Mantova in 1973 together with is brother Emanuele, who is the CEO. Later in 1999 Giampaolo founded with Bibi and Camilla Benedini, the Benedini Associati studio, which develops design, furniture and exhibition projects, with more than 600 products on the market today. Ten years later he also launched a new studio, Benedini&Partners, which covers the areas of architecture with new builds and the renovation of historical buildings.

How can you combine together the different creative sectors you and your studios are busy with?

In my studios we develop architecture, interior design and furniture design, each project is developed according a concept of continuity from the shell to the smallest detail. The furniture pieces are often made bespoke for the interior, according to the needs the project has.

What is the object you consider essential for a designer’s work?

I believe the necessary object for a designer today is the tape measure: an essential element for nowadays designers, because we are facing a loss of dimension awareness, and that is due to the fact we all work on screen. Before, the action of hand drawing was communicating the relationship with the product dimensions, and this allowed a deep development and a great attention for detail, there was the possibility to go into the project, to understand it in a better way, while today technology pushes more on the representation rather than on the development. Today we face the complexity of the project in a very easy way, with a sort of simplification dictated by the computer.

Furthermore, for a designer’s job, it is important to keep considering the contamination with other cultures, the observation of needs and lifestyles, which are always changing, and the contact with yourself, because your way of you design will change with your age. Moreover the function remains the main element to develop a project, coming always before the aesthetic factor.

What is missing in the contemporary Italian architecture today?

In Italy there is not idea of how the communicate the innovation of contemporary new builds, which is necessary to promote the news in architecture, very often the new buildings are not promoted in any way, and that does not happen abroad. For example the ancient monuments are always there, and you can always postpone your visit, you know they are cultural destination and you will end up there at some point of your life. On the other side the new architecture buildings are linked to the entertainment sector today, they become cult locations, places of interest for everyone, both for their uniqueness and also for their eventual defects, they attract visitors, and that is why it would be useful to create a marketing action and audience around the new buildings, symbols of the new Italian architecture.