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Stefano Giovannoni is a top Italian interior designer that stands out for his eccentric designs that are recognized at an international level. Born in La Spezia, he lives and works in Milan as an industrial, interior designer and architect. Today, Milan Design Agenda is about to unveil an exclusive interview, where you’re about to read all about this interior designer, that absolutely masters the art of contemporary design.
It was in La Spezia that the talented and emerging artist, Stefano Giovannoni was born to transform the world of interior design. Before taking the industry by storm, he proudly invested in his education in order to establish himself as an amazing designer. To that end, he studied at the University Of Architecture in Florence at the age of 23, where he also taught, and conducted research until 1991. It was in 1984 and 1985 that he collaborated with Ettore Sottsass and Alchimia-Mendini, which were major milestones for the development of his professional journey.
As an industrial designer, interior designer, and architect, he got the opportunity to teach everything he knew at Domus Academy in Milan, SPD Milan, at Universtità del Progetto di Reggio Emilia and at the University of Architecture in Florence and in Genoa. During his career, he’s already achieved many accomplishments, especially the design of some of his masterpieces, that have granted him with many successful awards. It seems an effortless job, but the designer takes on a great pleasure because he’s able to bring all of his creativity into his pieces.
“In my work, I designed everything a designer could want: from objects to furniture, from the bathroom to the kitchen, from appliances to electronics, we recently designed electric scooters, wind turbines, and robots to charge electric cars. We have developed interior and architectural projects, branding projects and art direction projects. What I like best about my work is the possibility of always dealing with different topics. Our context is constantly evolving and consequently our customers and the prerequisites of our work”.
He’s a very well established interior designer, but as every designer that has made his mark in the world, he has shared his amount of professional struggles. “The most difficult period was when I was just over 30 years old. I had just moved to Milan but I had lost my father and the girlfriend I had been with for a decade had left me. Milan was a very expensive city, it was a really tough time. I managed to react with great willpower, and thanks also to Alessandro Mendini who introduced me to Alberto Alessi and to the positive influence of Milan, the city where social lifts still existed, I quickly managed to overcome that period”. Although he has gone through some obstacles, he has been able to overcome them thanks to the mentorship of Alessandro Mendini, Alberto Alessi and of course the magical touch of the city of Milan. It was this city that really improved this designer’s life both personal and professional.
Despite all his ups and downs throughout this personal and professional career, Stefano Giovannoni has had a large number of projects that present themselves through an incredible and eccentric concept. The social issues that occurred have made him stronger as a designer, as well as more open to new challenges and exciting projects. “From the most difficult moments since the end of the 80s, after a decade of intense work and great commercial successes, I reached a stage in which I felt I had arrived. I must say it was a pleasant feeling of omnipotence that lasted a few years. From 2008, on the one hand, the economic crisis was becoming stronger and stronger, changing relationships with our clients, on the other, I felt the need to open new challenges. The relationship with the companies I had been working with for some decades did not satisfy me anymore: in the moments in which I felt the need to relaunch the company with ideas at a strategic level I felt a deep frustration in being limited to the role of designer for which in 2016 I decided to launch my brand: Qeeboo realizing what was my dream for some years”. He firmly states that dreams, hopes, and challenges never end, because we’re always looking for more. “However, each goal achieved becomes the basis for a later stage, so dreams and challenges never end”.
During his design career, Stefano Giovannoni has embraced many projects that have proudly established him as a prestigious interior designer. “In the 90s the East became the most interesting reference point for our work, in the early 2000s I worked a lot with big Japanese companies (NTT Docomo, NEC, and KDDI for mobile phones, Nissan for automotive, Seiko and Pulsar for watches, Kokuio for the office). In the following years with the eclipse of the Japanese economy the design demand moved to Taiwan (where I collaborated with the National Palace Museum) and then to Korea (Samsung for smart box and vacuum cleaner, LG for televisions, air conditioners and refrigerators, Amore Pacific for perfumes, SPC and Baskin Robins for the food industry and Coway for extractors) and finally in China (Jadea for electric scooters, ZTE and Nubia for mobile phones, Envision for wind turbines and robots for charging electric cars)”. Right now, since he created Qeeboo, the interior designer claims he has so much going on, that he’s “no longer interested in collaborating with other companies except in terms of art direction or completely new and exciting technology projects”. This means that Stefano is fully invested in his dear project unless they’re exclusively original projects, that makes sense to him from an art perspective.
According to the top interior designer, Korean companies are his favourite type of client, due to their capacity of perfectly demonstrating the idea they want to reflect on their projects. That affirmation comes from a long time of working with many different companies, that have shown different lines of thought and creative process.
“During my professional career I have had the opportunity to collaborate with many different companies, first of all there is a big difference between Italian companies where the know-how for design is a consolidated factor and the oriental companies that today need our know-how also if they have difficulty in understanding how to direct the project in the right direction. Without a doubt, I prefer Korean companies because they are more evolved and have a clearer idea of what they expect from our work”.
When it came to discussing the trends within interior design, the interior designer believes that today, the market is overwhelmed with a variety of products. “We live in a time when the market is saturated with products of any kind. The question has shifted from the best seller of the past that was the real “product” design where industrialization allowed to bring down the price to reach the large audience towards an increasingly identifying, iconic, strong and exclusive product that tends to combine the imaginary evolved with the assumptions of production and the market. Today the demand is for unique and exceptional products, immediate and recognizable communication products”. He also states that now it’s imperative to request products that feature uniqueness and eccentricity.
As far as craftsmanship goes, the interior designer is sure that “there’s often confusion between industrial projects, which often require large investments that must be offset by the commercial success of the product and limited edition artistic objects with high price targets”. Although there seems to be a confusion on that matter, Stefano Giovannoni makes sure to excel in this industry, creating the most innovative and exciting projects.