The eclectic and colorful Italian designer Paola Navone has had her hands on just about everything: interiors, lamps, furnishings, clothing, fabric—you name it, she’s probably done a version of it, including a series of much lauded furnishings collections for Crate and Barrel. This week she's headed to New York for an exclusive conversation with Docservis and guests at the HBF showroom during Check-In to 200 Lex on April 23. In anticipation of the event, Navone took a few moments to answer our five questions on the here and now in the world of a famous creator.
Docservis: Can you tell us about any current projects you’re working on that you’re excited about?
Paola Navone: I am finishing two challenging projects for COMO on the opposite sides of the world: Point Yamu luxury resort in Phuket and the hotel Metropolitan by COMO, Miami Beach. I had the chance to design spaces that could contain the special COMO philosophy, sharing with COMO the idea that luxury today can appreciate simplicity, respect traditions, be contemporary and not create an aggressive environment.
I just completed the last of three collections for Crate and Barrel, the second of which is now in the shop and is about outdoor living, from furniture to accessories. And two new extensive collections for Baxter and Gervasoni have been presented a few weeks ago during Milan Design Week.
ID: Are there any specific locales that inspire you?
PN: The world around me is my endless source of inspiration. No matter where I am, I can catch inspiration. Something special can also be found in that small shop just around the corner. I keep “collecting” images, colors, materials, energy, tastes, crafts—probably acting more like an eccentric “anthropologist of objects” than a designer.
ID: What aspect of design do you enjoy the most?
PN: In this period interior design is the most interesting aspect of my work. My office has two sides. One works on product design—furniture, accessories, textiles, objects—following all the rules of the industrial production, with a more controlled energy. The second works on interior design—public projects, exhibitions, “ephemeral” production—projects where it is possible to “push” in creativity.
ID: What technological advancements in design are you most excited about using in your own work?
In my work I like to mix things that come from different worlds in space and time. I enjoy combining in the same project the poetry of craftsmanship and the power of digital techniques, the ancient and rough beauty of handmade things with ideas, materials, techniques coming from the future. I'm always searching for new ways of creating “contamination” between things.
In my work I appreciate simplicity and promote imperfection. Giving a second chance of life to things that are already in use is to me a natural and powerful motion to creativity. I like to communicate a relaxing atmosphere and positive energy in everything I do.
ID: Is there an area of design you've yet to tackle but would like to?
I have never designed interiors for boats or cruise ships. I believe that hotels have some kind of “connection” with the location in which they are. Boats are floating in the sea but they are designed like urban hotels. I would like to design interiors of a boat that makes people feeling exactly where they are—floating in the ocean.