Best Interior Designers: Exclusive Interview with Piero Lissoni ⇒ Piero Lissoni is considered one of the best interior designers, with a vision for spaces, ambiences and time. He was born in 1956 and is one of Italy’s Golden Boys. He is a world-famous architect and designer who graduated in 1978 from the very prestigious Politecnico di Milano. In 1986 He opened Lissoni Associates with Nicoletta Canesi and ever since that he has lead groundbreaking projects. Today his design studio is made of a staff of over 60 people and has projects that cover all design fields such as architecture, interiors, industrial design and graphics project. Today, Best Design Guides brings you an exclusive interview with the designer, in partnership with CovetED Magazine.
Question – Your portfolio is quite versatile – it stretches across architecture, furniture, interiors, and graphic design – is there one field that you prefer over the others?
Piero Lissoni – Culturally speaking, it’s a tradition in Milan to be versatile. When you study at the Politecnico di Milano, you have to be an architect, an engineer, a designer, a graphic designer… It’s a humanistic approach and culture, for me it’s not possible to disconnects these different worlds. Architecture means you design a building; after that, you design the space inside the building; after that, you design something to put inside the space that’s inside the building. That’s the culture, you know? Then you have to be a good communicator, to communicate the building, space and the pieces inside. Everything is connected
Question – What was the moment that marked your career?
Piero Lissoni – Tomorrow morning will for sure be an unforgettable moment because that’s when I will discover something new to do.
Question – What can we expect from Piero Lissoni Design for the future?
Piero Lissoni – Nothing. I never expect to do something. I’m very lucky but I also work a lot. You need to be a worker, that’s the secret. And you need a bit of luck.
Question – If you have to choose one project from your portfolio, which one would it be?
Piero Lissoni – I choose a beautiful project by Philippe Starck or Antonio Citterio that’s inside my personal catalogue, because, first of all, I think that I design everything wrong and I need to start again tomorrow to design something more accurate. But I never choose something because it’s like with family, it’s impossible to choose one favourite child.
Question – Can you tell us a little bit about your creative process?
Piero Lissoni – If you take away the classical, romantic point of view and the level of free creativity, I’m inside the process. Process means it’s a long, day-by-day discussion with a different team of workers. If I’m doing something for Knoll, we start discussing together years before we start to do something together. When I design a new sofa, the sofa was designed 2 years ago but not on the paper. We start to discuss in what way it’s possible to design a new sofa, how to have something with clean lines that’s not classic, and then the process begins.
Question – Tell us more about your collaboration with Knoll.
Piero Lissoni – We started working together over 15 years ago. It’s like a love affair, it’s a good relationship. I never choose because I don’t want to choose people for functionality, I choose people for love. I was more or less in love with the company, the people, the project, the proposals and then we started. For me, it’s impossible to do anything if I don’t like people. I need people, I don’t need a name or a brand. It’s all about the people. It was a good relationship before and it still is.
Question – Are you working on any new project with any brand?
Piero Lissoni – We present today the new collection of sofas with B&B Italia, the new collection for Living Divani, the new pieces for Kartell, the new lamp collection for Flos, it’s a big day. But I’m very excited about the new projects for Knoll, B&B Italia and Flos.
Question – When it comes to craftsmanship, who do you think is leading the way?
Piero Lissoni – It’s cultural feel, it’s a combination of incredible craftsmen and incredible levels of technology. A combination of research, risks and the human touch. That’s the secret of the Italian life of design. And also factories, not the designers. I hope craftsmanship continues to be popular.
Question – What is the one change you would like to see implemented in the design world in the near future?
Piero Lissoni – I would like to implement more responsibilities. They fake the achievement of responsibility. For example, now everybody talks about recycling, green use of materials, and I think that’s a big mistake. Because we have to design something good, with long durability. You need to offer a long life to your products because that’s the best way of saving resources. We need to be more responsible, purer and cleaner.
Question – What advice would you give to the designers of tomorrow?
Piero Lissoni – You need to respect your tradition, if you don’t do that, you don’t jump to the future. It doesn’t matter if you discuss the technology or other fake problem, the future is culture. You have to improve your culture. You have to put inside it your history, your capacity, and you have to improve with what happened. Without this level of sophisticated knowledge around your history, it’s impossible to figure out what will happen in the future. And after that, anything is possible. You have new technology, new materials, new craftsmen. But without culture, there’s zero success for ideas.
Question – Do you think the new generation of craftsmen will keep the traditional concepts?
Piero Lissoni – For me, it’s not important if you’re very good with your hands, or if you control an incredible machine. It’s the same attitude. If technology helps you to do better, why not? I’m not against it.
We hope you’ve enjoyed this interview with one of the best interior designers!