CONVERSATION

Giorgio Bonaguro

The Diary of Giorgio Bonaguro, industrial & interior designer, MM Award 2023 jury member. Welcome to Caleido, an inspirational diary, that narrates many stories: about creative people, trends, travels, objects. / Read the Editor’s letter here

Diary of: @bonagurogiorgio

Giorgio Bonaguro
Courtesy by Giorgio Bonaguro
1. From mechanical engineering to product design. What are the connections between these two disciplines which have intersected your professional life? What is engineering in your design?

I would say that, without a doubt, one of the main points of intersection is research into materials: I like experimenting with them and understanding their characteristics and technical properties to see how they can be applied to products.

Giorgio Bonaguro
Courtesy by Giorgio Bonaguro
2. You work between Italy and Brazil in the field of furniture, interior and exhibition design. What are the contaminations between these 2 worlds?

Brazil is a country rich in culture and folklore born from the union of different peoples. Italianity is certainly one of the ingredients of ‘Brazilianity’, something that has always fascinated me about this country. In my work as a designer ‘between the two shores of the Atlantic’, I try to highlight and strengthen this link, for example, by taking inspiration from Italy to make designs in Brazil and by taking inspiration from tropical culture to develop products in Italy.

Giorgio Bonaguro
Courtesy by Giorgio Bonaguro
Giorgio Bonaguro
Courtesy by Giorgio Bonaguro
3. If you were to conceive ‘your’ Brazil as a moodboard, what images would it consist of? Which contemporary Brazilian designers, architects or artists should we get to know?

‘My’ Brazil in moodboard would have images by Niemeyer, Lina Bo Bardi, Paulo Mendes da Rocha, Sergio Bernardes, Affonso Reidy, Joa Vilanova Artigas, Jorge Zalszupin, Sergio Rodrigues, Jean Gillon, Joaquim Tenreiro, Geraldo de Barros, Henrique Oliveira, Helio Oiticica, Lygia Pape, Sergio Camargo.

Giorgio Bonaguro
Courtesy by Giorgio Bonaguro
4. The figure of the designer can be likened to that of the inventor of the new or to the re-editor of the ‘beautiful design’ of the past. In which of the 2 categories does he place himself? What is his relationship with the new? And with the old?

I think the designer can be an ‘innovator’ of tradition! The Portuguese architectural master Alvaro Siza says that tradition is the foundation of innovation. I think this is an interesting avenue. The ‘old’ is a source of materials, techniques and ideas that can help develop and improve the ‘new’.

Giorgio Bonaguro
Courtesy by Giorgio Bonaguro
5. Do you define yourself as a methodical person? What is a practice that makes you feel good?

I do not consider myself a totally methodical person; sometimes, I let myself be carried away by instinct or external stimuli. For example, when I have to design a new product, I try to follow specific rules to develop my ideas. When I can, I visit exhibitions or places that are culturally and scenically interesting; it helps me to relax on the one hand and to be inspired on the other.

Giorgio Bonaguro
Courtesy by Giorgio Bonaguro
6. Excluding the world of product design for a moment, is there any other field you would like to design for? Something you have never done and would now like to explore?

I would love to design products related to streetwear or sportswear, such as surfboards or sunglasses. I would also like to experiment again in the world of jewellery – something I only did once a few years ago when I was invited to design at the Museum of Jewellery in Vicenza (Italy) opening by the curators themselves -.

 

Giorgio Bonaguro
Courtesy by Giorgio Bonaguro
7. What are your identity elements? Have they always been these, or have they changed over time?

Research into materials, even combining some with different characteristics, respect for tradition and the inspiration that comes from the world of modern architecture and art, which I try to express as much as possible through products characterised by simple and elegant shapes.

Giorgio Bonaguro
Courtesy by Giorgio Bonaguro
8. As a MM Award judge, what characteristics will you look for in the projects of the candidates? What are the characteristics of a creative that make a difference nowadays?

In the projects of the MM Award candidates, I will first look for passion combined as much as possible with design culture and a desire to experiment – always linked to functionality and ‘beauty’. I believe that today a creative person must seek his or her own identity: design is one; as Vignelli used to say, it is an evident discipline, and the difference is made by those who manage to impose their own identity while respecting this discipline.

9. You are a great traveller. If we were to update the concept of the 18th century “Grand Tour” to the present day, what would be the favourite stops on this journey?

In addition to places recognised for their artistic and cultural beauty, I think other stops would be the ‘places of making’, meaning those companies or workshops where exquisite handicrafts are produced, both in Italy and abroad.

Giorgio Bonaguro
Courtesy by Giorgio Bonaguro
Giorgio Bonaguro
Courtesy by Giorgio Bonaguro
10. What is one object in your home that you would never give up? What is the memory attached to it? Would you send us a photo taken by you?

Unfortunately, I cannot answer this question now, as I am moving house. Or rather, I can tell you what I would like my new home to be: for it to be a collection of not only my products but also those of many colleagues and friends whose work I know and appreciate so that I can preserve some of their inspiration and art, and at the same time remember pleasant moments I have experienced with them.

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