Designer Giulio Iacchetti has been commissioned to design the bathroom furnishing halls at this year’s Cersaie. His approach to designing is unique in the sense that he sees research into everyday objects as an opportunity to reinvent them or create new types of products.

The aim is to give the bathroom furnishing spaces a highly distinctive look with clean, elegantly designed horizontal and vertical surfaces. These will consist specifically of a purpose-designed carpet for the walkways and a glamorous, visually appealing wall covering which together extend over a total surface area of more than 12 000 square metres in Halls 21, 29, 30 and 31. The second largest exhibition segment at Cersaie, the bathroom furnishing sector is represented by more than 200 leading Italian and international companies and stands out for the strong design content of both the exhibited products and the display stands.

When embarking on the design of an object, Giulio first asks himself some questions and then concentrates on the “idea” in order to create concrete and functional forms that are imbued with symbolic value. His projects “give shape” to an idea and it seems as if his reasoning is always based on a methodological approach that embraces doubt. His objects are based on the critical analysis he carries out and he once said that he “allows an idea to emerge”.

“A project is a path, the outcome of a process. As designers, we often deal with product types that have been explored in great depth and interpreted in many different ways. So in order to be able to say anything original, we have to first rediscover meaning. We need to ask ourselves why something exists rather than throwing ourselves headlong into the creation of more or less abstract forms that provide a more or less ‘gestural’ solution to a project. We need to set ourselves the primary goal of understanding the ‘why’ of our actions, the ‘meaning’ rather than the ‘method’,” says Giulio.

Giulio adds that there’s always a new way to do something but we first have to discover it. To make an authentic contribution to the design of existing objects, designers need to proceed by trial and error to allow an idea to emerge.

“In other words, the project already exists but you have to get there, and this is a work of exploration and of investigation. Over time, everything of value ‘emerges’ and returns to the surface. Noise, dirt, uselessness, complexity and redundancy all disappear, and in the best case, only the idea remains. But to arrive at the idea you need to stir the waters, ask questions, try different approaches and make mistakes,” says Giulio.

When asked to tell a story about one of his objects that he feels is emblematic, Giulio says he always ends up talking about the Lingotto ice tray that he designed for Guzzini, because it is an object that contains many small stories that he is fond of.

“I was asked to design an object linked to water that would promote an awareness of its value as an essential and universal resource. So I thought of designing an ice tray which would produce small ingots with the word GOLD written on them instead of classic ice cubes,” says Giulio.

“For me an object must be direct, it must be accessible to everyone – a form of widespread participation that is part and parcel of democracy. Obviously, it would be ideal if the price tag reflected this intention, but that’s not always possible. Unfortunately, design is often associated with the words luxury and exclusivity. However, we need to make people understand that an object is expensive because it is well made and will last a long time,” concludes Giulio.

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