This is Stefano Giovannoni, Italian architect, interiors and product designer – though you could be forgiven for thinking he would actually be more at home in ‘The Sopranos’. He’s been designing for decades. In 1978, he graduated with an Architecture degree in Florence. In 1980, he won first prize at the “Shinchenchiku Residential Design Competition” judged by Kisho Kurokawa. He’s been hugely successful ever since and he specializes in plastic product design.
This is his spanking new (2016) ‘Rabbit Chair’ – in both adult and baby versions. A lot of his contemporary stuff could be described as ‘cute’, but this is cute with cutting edge style – and definitely quirky. The inspiration for the plastic chair came from – well obviously, a rabbit! – though in particular from its silhouette. The bunny’s back is the seat, the ears are the backrest of the chair. Though you can also straddle it and lean forwards onto the ears. According to the online intro to the ‘Rabbit Chair’ , at Giovannoni’s ‘Queeboo’ online store – ‘The rabbit is a gentle animal, lovable and tender. In Western and Eastern culture it symbolizes love and fertility, it is a sweet and auspicious object that brings good fortune and good wishes’. The chair comes in many colors – violet, white, light grey, grey, dove grey, light green, pink, orange…and gold.
It’s also a lamp.
Award winning designer Giovannoni lives and works in Milan – conceivably the product design capital of the world. He has an impressive record of collaboration with famous Italian designer brands, notably Alessi and Fiat. Above, in characteristic ‘whacky’ mode, his head pops up from a steel pan – one of the ‘Mami’ range which he designed for Alessi.
Constructed using two identical plastic shapes – each one a cube, together with an elongated rectangle – the ‘Twoo’ table lamp designed for ‘Flos’ in 2003 is simple, but striking. Giovannoni effortlessly pulls off cute without kitsch, and definitely without schmaltz.
Here’s proof positive in fact – these colorful creatures epitomise cute, but with cutting edge. It’s Alessi’s collection of OrienTales, plastic, bone china and metal table accessories, designed by Giovannoni in collaboration with Rumiko Takeda.
The ‘Vanity’ Chair was designed for Magis in 2009. Modelled on Regency furniture, it’s regal yet colorful, fun even. The see-through plastic structure gives lightness to the traditional heaviness associated with Regency chairs.
It’s a sofa, (though you’d have to squeeze tight!) – it’s a chair, it’s a chaise-longue – you just curl the arms up or down, in or out, to decide how to use this piece, designed for Domodinamica in 2003.
OK here comes that word again – this is so cute!! This sofa, designed by Giovannoni together with Rodrigo Torres, looks anthropomorphic, cuddly – and its twin ‘head’ lamps are very useful for reading too
He doesn’t just use bright, ‘poppy’ colors. The ‘Pillow’ range of outdoor furniture, designed in collaboration with Elisa Gargan looks comfy, luxurious, pure and inviting – like bouncing on clouds. Giovannoni is pretty cool – the guy may look like an elder member of the Mafiosi, but he’s actually adept at injecting fun into ordinary life.