Thursday, 24 February 2011

Italian designer

“Contemporary primitivism”

That’s how her work has been described, but let me explain.

While on the prowl for new/old talent I found the Designer Giada Barbieri, so if you haven’t heard about her let me introduce you.

Born in Italy/Milan where she still lives, her father was a famous writer and her uncle is a well known fashion photographer (she calls him  “my inspiration teacher”). At 21 she takes a year off to go and live in Bali (are you jealous now? Well I was) where she developed a love for wood and with the help of some artisans creations start taking shape.

Java has become her second home and the source of most of her materials.

Giada’s dominant material is BENAO, a wood chosen with great care from the tropical forests of vast Indonesia. Tooled and carved by hand, she then gives shape and meticulously studied proportions to the tree trunks. White stone or lava stone and treated iron often complement some of the pieces of the collection.

She creates techniques of metal fusion, inlayed in the natural cracks of wood, as well as ‘seams ‘ by means of hand forged metal cramps onto the wood making it stronger, as well as giving them a modern feel.  Many are ‘one-off’ pieces.

This month Giada’s apartment was featured on Marie Claire Maison and it portraits her style. The fireplace is in lava stone of a volcano in Java designed and hand carved by her, all the objects are pieces collected after years of travelling and working abroad, all are part of emotions of an intense life. The mirror in the bathroom is from forged iron produce by her, all the leather including the sofa was designed, produced by her and was custom made for the apartment.

As Giada says “The apartment mirrors me, it is a refuge of my soul, it reflects the intimate relationship that I developed to the places I love the most, with a touch of modern.”   I agree: Giada has a house that appears to mirror and reflect her personality.  It has become her and she comes across as feeling relaxed in her own space. I really love her apartment, she played with textures creating an amazing visual without the need to use  strong colours and don’t get me wrong I do love strong and vibrant colours but there is a time and place for them.

Giada is environmentally conscious. She only works with materials that comply with the Washington convention on the use of protected species hence why she uses Benao from Sulawesi, a soft blond wood which grows quickly and expands, suffocating other floral species and Salubin, hard, heavy and compact, which comes from yearly renewable plantations.

She takes inspiration from minimalism (Japan-Africa and Milan design) so the result is furniture with clean lines and an unmistakable exotic feel. Giada describes her style as minimal-new tribal and her work is no stanger to several design magazines i.e. Elle DecorAD Architectural DigestDobre Wnetrze and many others.
The book Bali Houses described her saying “Milanese designer Giada Barbieri abandons superfluous detail when shaping the raw material. Imbued with tribal strength, yet with their shape and volume in the style of contemporary minimalism, her pieces achieve a logically improbable yet successful fusion; the art of African and Bornean tribes and that of Romanian sculptor Constantin Brâncuşi. “

I admire her passion and her use of textures and ethnic materials speaks to me. I hope it does to you.

1 comment:

  1. It acknowledges that Primitivism, as it was once understood, is no longer a convincing framework to evaluate and compare art from different cultures, and reexamines it from the perspective of the 21st century.
     Italian Centerpieces