Master Class


Jerry Chery, CEO of Italian furniture house BiancoBianco, shares an exclusive conversation with iconic architect and designer Piero Lissoni.

Lissoni himself. Photo by Matthias Ziegler.

Piero Lissoni, truly one of the most prolific architects and designers of our time, for over 30 years has designed significant structures and worked with notable brands including B&B Italia, Cassina, De Padova, Boffi, Living Divani and Glas Italia on historic collections. His portfolio and level of excellence have allowed him to see changes in various markets and provided him the tools needed to revolutionize design conceptualization and realization. When beginning my conversation with the legendary Italian architect and visionary about Salone del Mobile 2020, not much time was spent on small talk before Lissoni eloquently guided the narrative to his thoughts about California design and culture.

How do you feel California has influenced global design?
For years, California was the gold rush region of modern design. Think about the Eames family. Creativity is more or less inside the DNA of the region. The entertainment industry has created incredible global influence. San Francisco is a paradox, because it is such a creative place for tech but at the same time it’s very bourgeoisie. L.A. has more spice and allows people to take risks and discover something different. For me, L.A. is the other capital inside the U.S. and is experiencing the next gold rush for design and architecture.

What should we expect to see at Salone Del Mobile 2020?
Salone is a special magnet where one can discover what’s happening. For me, it’s always about continuity. The expectation of seeing new things is not accurate. The greatness is found in the continuity and the incredible level of discipline with the industrial design and quality. But of course, we do so see many touches of creativity, both throughout the town at special exhibitions and inside the fair.

A piece of the B&B Italia collection designed by Lissoni.

Salone has become the staple trade show for many industries. Is there something you are looking forward to at this edition?
This edition will be more extreme, in many different attitudes. This year a lot of factories will be showing an incredible use of new materials. New surfaces, for example, will be made of artificial materials that are are green in an invisible way. There are new treatments and finishes that have water as the main element. One year ago, these finishes were made of 75 percent water and 25 percent chemicals. Now the properties have changed to 85 to 90 percent water and 10 percent chemicals. For us, sustainability is a mantra—like praying in church—and we do it without any discussion.

Is there anything we can expect to see from you at the show? I have prepared new collections for Boffi, Living Divani, Kartell, B&B Italia, Knoll and more. We will also be presenting a very special exhibit for BMW. For me, the global political atmosphere inspired me to design with a focus on purity and elegance.

Ferro by Piero Lissoni for Porro.

What do you find to be the most challenging—creating the design or finding the material to meet your expectations? We never create anything because the creation is inside the hands of God. We make. We are workers. When I design something, I don’t design it because I like the shape; I design for the evolution of materials, production, style and the combination of it all. Often, the starting point begins with the technologies and how you design around them. We are stylists, not designers.

The Uncollected Collection by Piero Lissoni for Living Divani.

Any thoughts on the overall future of design? I believe the future of design is inside our past. We must have a capacity to respect the past before jumping into the future.

More news: