After working together on a few different design projects in New York, Architect Tina Manis involved Design-Apart and its Partner Berto in a unique project which requires designing a custom sofa for a special client’s living room. After a meeting between us in NYC right before summer, together with Filippo Berto we decided to invite Tina Manis in Italy. Here, she would be able to envision and refine the new product in details with the possibility to touch and experience our production facilities. This visit would be key to develop something innovative and organic in all aspects in a condensed amount of time.
Tina Manis landed in Milan on a Tuesday, and within hours of landing, she was inspired to start a diary of her visit. Rich with pictures, encounters with workers and places she had seen, we were so excited to indulge in her experience that we knew how valuable it would be to others.
We decided to share some of it and ask her to tell us more about this experience. This is what she wrote us…
“Design is an intimate experience; a process of making something that intricately relates to both spatial and human scales. In the making of furniture specifically, the calibration of these two scales requires execution of impeccable craft and knowledge gained only through experience. Anything can be made anywhere but as a serious and passionate designer, I feel what is ultimately produced is a legacy that carries forward one’s reputation, not just personal gratification. In Meda, Italy, the equivalent passion is found in the making of furniture, combined with decades of experience guaranteeing a designer’s vision to be executed in the highest quality and craft. This level of craft and knowledge can’t simply be found anywhere, its history is imbedded over generations there, in that one place in Italy. Amazingly, despite globalization, craft has remained a steady constant in Italy; other countries try to regain or reinvent this craft, here, it is just the standard.
Recently, I had an incredible experience working with Berto, with over 40 years of tradition, history and craftsmanship in furniture making, the intimate process of creating and fabricating my sectional design was a natural process for everyone. Each step of the sofa’s fabrication, we worked as a team in real time, at full scale, refining the prototype through sketching, discussions, try outs, and immediate modifications; each component’s fabricator added their expertise to establish immediate effects in the final comfort, look and feel of the piece. Filippo Berto’s energy and excitement adds to the process keeping the fruition of the final piece in mind for the client. He worked tirelessly with me until almost all details had been satisfied. He was as passionate about the process as I was myself, something that is missing today in large business fabrication. The final result will be seeing the satisfaction on the client’s face when it is placed within their newly renovated home!”