An architect, art director, and designer, Milan-based Piero Lissoni is renowned for his minimalist style in projects ranging from furnishings and accessories to hotels and art galleries. He has worked with top brands the world over, including Kartell, Knoll, and Alessi. Here, he shares his inspirations and design favorites.
YLiving: You work on everything from architecture and interiors to product and graphic design. Is there one you enjoy one more than the others?
Piero Lissoni: I've designed homes, factories, chairs, kitchens, watches, towers, and books and I still love to create everything from an aesthetic point of view.
YV: What is the common thread in your designs?
PL: Simplified forms with simple signs, geometries, and shapes. An aesthetic vision based on consistency and simplification. All products are the result of subtraction above all. I only create buildings and interiors that are human in scale. My kitchens gracefully marry wood, steel and stone; my bathrooms are spare, yet serene sanctuaries.
YV: Do you have a favorite material? You use a lot of plastics with Kartell — how does that material impact the final design?
PL: There is no favorite material, there is just the right material used for each specific project. For Kartell I used plastic because it was required for each specific object, but I have used metal for chairs and tables, too.
YV: Can you share some furniture and product designs that you admire?
PL: Above all I admire Le Corbusier for his LC2 armchair. It's the perfect object for any room, any place.
YV: Do you have a favorite design that you’ve created?
PL: My favorite projects are the ones that carry some sort of imperfection in their DNA.
YV: What are a few of your favorite places to shop?
PL: Antique shops and bookstores all over the world. Also, Natura e in Milan. It is not a toy store, it’s a collection of objects and books about the earth, the sea, and the outdoors, aimed at naturalists or people curious about natural phenomena.
YV: Favorite restaurants?
PL: I always love Harry’s Bar in Venice. It’s a historical place with the perfect Martini. I adore Italian food so I think those are the best restaurants in the world. I have many friends who are chefs, like Davide Oldani and Carlo Cracco in Milan, Filippo La Mantia in Rome, and Massimo Bottura in Modena.
YV: Anything new that you’re working on with Kartell on the horizon?
PL: I am always working on something new for Kartell, but I must keep it secret...
YV: What’s exciting to you in the world of design these days?
PL: Exploring new materials with tactile qualities, dynamism, and a little sense of humor. The stone collection by Salvatori is an example.
YV: What are some of your favorite products on YLiving?
PL: Those from Kartell.