“I never give up irony; irony is a serious matter. If a good idea is fun, I cannot resist realising it.” I came across Marcantonio Raimondi Malerba’s work at Salone Satellite, the show at Milan Design Week dedicated to young designers. It is startlingly different – and definitely fun!
Inspired by the connections between man and nature, Malerba tries to work in the way he played as a child – making something from everything he found whether it was stones and twigs or crystals and fossils. He was born in 1976 in Massalombarda, Italy and attended the Art Institute and the Academy of Fine Arts. He’s never attended design school, but after graduating he worked in theatre, with architects and on his own design and art projects, finding inspiration in the intersections between disciplines.
Despite all evidence to the contrary, Malerba doesn’t see his take on furniture design as particularly unusual: “I think my work is normal – it’s just that all the other work is boring! After Chair is one of my favourite products because it is truly a game I played when I was a child, or Table Chair which is really conceptual.”
“I get ideas when I’m with friends, walking in the morning or browsing markets… I think it’s possible to take inspiration everywhere and at any time without really thinking about it. It could be in chaos or in silence, when drunk or when quietly talking with a friend about anything at all. But I like to keep nature around me – nature is the mother of all ideas.”
“I never research what I do, there is never a real beginning. When the ideas come to my mind they are fully formed – for me there are not many different ways to express a concept. But my background in art taught me how to execute ideas with elegance.”
“My design and making process is different in every case. In the production of my own unique pieces, I make the projects by hand exactly as the original idea that I drew. In this case I became the executor of my own ideas. There are some pieces that can only be realised by leaving myself free and improvising step by step; in this case I become more of an experimental artist.”
“In industrial production, I try to do what I think is right for everyone in the company – I think that is the only way. Very often we have to find solutions. Mine are more ideas than products, so I don’t always know what can be done industrially. My reference is always to art more than anything else.”
“I like the beginning and the end of the design process – I like to have the idea and harbor it like a dream, and I also like the part when an idea is realised and I can look at it with detachment. I don’t like the part in the middle – the actual execution of the idea.”
“My friends says my studio is another world; for me it is my nest. I really miss when I’m not there for a few days. It is an internal place. I would love it to be orderly, but is a total mess! My favorite tools are my imagination and then my hands… then you can use a little bit of everything. I really like white wood glue!”
“Every day is different – sometimes I’ll be drawing with watercolors all day long, other days I’m working on email correspondence, or out looking for materials. Some days I work in my studio very physically, or photographing what I have done. I can spend the whole day doing material tests, and for periods of time I dedicate myself entirely to sculpture or just to design. Or I can spend the whole day cleaning the house because it’s been a month since I last did it!”
“My design heroes are Ingo Maurer, Tejo Remy, Campana brothers, but I prefer Bruno Munari, Robert Rauchemberg, Jean Tinguely, Marcel Duchamp, Cy Twombly, Jannis Kounellis… Really I think nature is the only hero – the beauty that people see in the nature. Nature is necessity.”