CREATIVITY OUT OF NECESSITY

Federico Peri’s work is designed to be practical and playful, and always with the end user in mind. Many of Peri’s furniture and lighting designs have a niche quality, making him something of a creative risk-taker with a wonderfully avant-garde perspective.

Federico Peri established his own interior design practice in 2011 and began working on product design in 2014. With a certain idiosyncratic approach to his work, Peri fuses contemporary interests with historic Italian artistic movements such as baroque. Same sentence as in the sub - perhaps remove from here. Or create a new subhead.

Earlier this year, having been nominated by Luca Nichetto, Peri got the ‘rising talent award’ at Maison&Objet. “I’ve noticed in his work a natural inclination to design products as a way to create an experience through materials or the environment produced by the objects themselves,” Italian designer Luca Nichetto commented. “It is this type of completely instinctual process that makes Federico particularly interesting on the Italian scene. But it’s also what gives him immense potential abroad. I am especially curious to see how his approach will evolve as he shifts towards more industrial processes. The result will most likely be very moving.” 

Q&A

How would you describe yourself?

I’m reflective, curious and honest. And I love to be surrounded by positive people.

What made you choose this career?

As a child, I would often play in my grandparents’ factory with metal offcuts I found everywhere. I would spend whole afternoons running around the place, completely oblivious to the passage of time. During my studies, I realised that it was a passion, that blossomed over these last few years. And now that I think of my life, facing new challenges every day, I think to myself that it was exactly what I expected from this job.

How would you describe your work, and what influences your distinctive aesthetic?

It's a mix between different elements, I love Bauhaus and Rationalism, at the same time there's some Italian design Masters like Carlo Scarpa, Osvaldo Borsani or Ico Parisi who have influenced my work.

Working with authentic materials, aged, that tell a story of craftsmanship isn’t simply a standard of beauty but represent a real design-belief by which I start any kind of project, whether it is furniture, installation or interior.

What does a typical day at work involve for you?

I'm lucky because every day is different from others so I can't tell you exactly what is a typical day.

Generally I prefer to divide work in two different moments: early morning and late afternoon/night for concepts because the telephone is not ringing, there is no email, and I can dedicate all my energy to find new ideas.

The second moment is about developing concepts into "paper", more related to the executive phase.

This represent my -best- typical day.

How did you react when you learnt that you had been selected fo the RISING TALENT AWARDS ITALY?

I was ecstatic! MAISON&OBJET is a major industry event and I was absolutely thrilled to be nominated by a great figure like Luca Nichetto, whom I don’t know personally, but for whom I have tremendous respect and admiration. In my opinion, he is nothing short of a model for the new generation of designers, a future 'great master'.

Three words to define your work?

Research, function and context.

What, in your opinion, makes a good designer?

Quite simply, be honest with yourself—that’s the only way to define a proper path.

Your furniture pieces have a wonderfully curious aspect—they’re appealing, whimsical, engaging and fun. What is your creative process?

My creative process starts from a need, but in the end I'm really interested in the interaction between an object and the final user. For example, 'Biblioteca Itinerante' came about because I wanted to create an area in my apartment where I could simply read or relax. I then identified a common place that could represent this idea and settled on a library. I designed a product with all of the functionality that you expect to find in a library: a comfortable armchair, a seat, removable shelves and dedicated lighting. The Biblioteca Itinerante can be used and adapted according to personal needs — you might change the position of the shelves and lamp, or move the unit to another area, thanks to its wheels. Someone did ask me if it was a reinterpretation of a psychiatrist’s bed and that was fun.

Works such as 'Living in a Chair' and 'Shapes' have an artistic edge and quality. What are your thoughts on the perceived divide between art and design?

I would like to be considered a designer. I love art in general; I love the intention to communicate a feeling, and that’s what art does. Design relates more to functionality and proportion; it has a different disposition. My intention is always to join together function and emotion.

Nowadays, design and art are becoming increasingly related (when compared with the past), and this is evidenced by the growing number of design galleries selling unique or limited edition works. So my 'Living in a Chair' and 'Shapes' designs are sold as limited edition pieces by Nilufar gallery in Milan. However, most importantly, these projects are functional: Living in a Chair, with its seat, shelves, cabinet and book holder, is characteristic of compact living. With Shapes, the primary function is to illuminate a space.

In many ways, Italy is synonymous with high-end, showy and traditional design. As a younger, fresh and independent Italian designer, how do you find your niche in the Italian market and beyond?

You are right when you talk about Italian design—tradition and craftsmanship are two fundamental keywords, but at the same time there is also innovation. During the last three to four years, something has changed. There is now more attention on younger designers—with the 'Rising Talent Award' for example—and this helps so much of our work. Personally, I’m very grateful to Nina Yashar, the owner of Nilufar gallery, who believes in and invests in my work. Thanks to this, I realized there is a market for my work in the USA, UK and France in particular.

What have been one or two favorite recent projects?

I could say Shapes lighting fixture designed for Nilufar gallery, especially "Circle" and "Grid" exhibited last year.

The second one is an upcoming project that will be presented in April at Milan design week, it's a suspended lamp inspired by Bauhaus architecture.

It seems like that the boundary between outdoor living and indoor living is getting, blurred could you tell us some of your opinions on this trend.

I agree with this. Outdoor living is becoming more important than ever.

In the beginning this fact was most related to hospitality, commercial spaces but nowadays there's many design brands that are implementing their outdoor furniture collection.

Conviviality is one of the keywords about modern living, that's why areas like the kitchen and living room act as an important role. The exterior has the same importance; companies understood this aspect and designers worked in order to make outdoor living like a continuation of internal living,. That's why, I guess, the boundary is getting blurred.