Andrea Borgogni

Andrea Borgogni

He immediately rose to prominence once he started working for himself in 2011, and has won one prize after another, including the 2013 SaloneSatellite Award. With experience in many different design fields, his great passions are chairs, which he designs very cleverly, and well made things. He is focused on craftsmanship, rather than the future, he is particularly concerned about the present day, believing that it is our duty to act as responsibly as possible. Without further ado.

In 2013 your project for the Maybe chair, presented at SaloneSatellite, earned a Special Mention at the SaloneSatellite Award and the Red Dot Design Award. Have you managed to bring this highly innovative project to fruition?
This chair is currently the most complicated project I’ve ever embarked upon, triggered by an idea but with no actual client in mind, and managing to produce it even as a sample for exhibit was a huge financial and design effort. I’ve learnt a lot, though, especially that the best ideas often do win prizes, as in this case, but that just as often companies are afraid of paying for the production. I trained as an industrial designer, and for me replicability, usability, ethics, durability, form and function are what form the basis for a good product, beautiful or ugly as it may be. So, so far, I have decided to look for funding on the crowdfunding platforms so that I can produce a project myself that will respect the environment, be durable, easily shipped, robust and generally attractive.

You have a penchant for designing seating, chairs in particular. What fascinates you about this archetype, which represents ‘the’ design challenge for many designers? With great results in your case, given that you are always picking up prizes at international level.
I love chairs, every year since I’ve worked as an independent designer I’ve designed and produced or had produced at least one chair. It’s a passion that took hold of me when I was little and some passions can’t be explained, just indulged, and I do it every day. I showcased two chairs at the 2019 Salone del Mobile too.

Industrial or ‘handmade’- which field do you prefer to work in?
I think industry today has changed radically since I was a student. It no longer exists, or at least, the manufacturers have moved into contract furnishing to boost their margins, and then often have go back to handmade because the editions of the pieces or the design are so exacting that there’s no other option, and here I have to say that developing my own products has helped me a great deal, in fact I often act as a go-between for industrial clients and craftsmen, resolving problems.

You started off in 2005, working in other people’s studios, and set up your own studio in 2011. What stage are you at in your career?
’m happy about my career path, even though I couldn’t really tell you what precise point I’m at. Perhaps, in some ways, this is the best point because I have a great desire to experiment, improve and work. Perhaps, in others, it’s the worst point because it is still hard gaining a foothold in some well-trodden paths … and I sense a great saturation, which often makes me wonder if all this can last or whether it’s already time to look to the future from a fresh perspective.

You’ve chosen to go down a traditional route in design practice. What do you think we will need to live as well as possible - and in peaceful co-existence - in the future?
The future is so close that we really need to take on board the fact that we can’t keep putting off improvements or that classic upgrade until later. We must not lose sight now of our ethical and environmental values, as so often in the past. So I believe that peaceful co-existence will also see a new tradition in terms of designing and making things.