“My products have to talk to the world.”

A 2011 graduate of the Istituto Europeo di Design, Federica Biasi worked with various design firms in Milan until 2014, when she decided to move to Amsterdam to hone her style and complete her projects, largely inspired by the simple lines of Northern European design. Since her return to Italy, she has worked as Art Director for Mingardo, while collaborating as a Creative Consultant with various brands, including Fratelli Guzzini. In addition to her consulting work for specific brands, focusing mainly on colour palettes, materials and finishes, she also creates ceramic pieces, decorative items and textile products as a way to celebrate the excellence of italian artisanship.

Federica Biasi, born in Milan, graduated with honours from IED. From 2011 to 2013 she worked with  several design agencies based in Milan. In 2014 she moved to Amsterdam to observe and understand the nordic design and the emerging trends, focusing on the aesthetic beauty and the formal simplicity which has inspired her personal style. 

Currently she became art director of the italian company Mingardo, meanwhile she collaborates as creative consultant  with well known design  companies  as Fratelli Guzzini, focusing on worldwide trends research and forecasting: colour, material and finishing, carefully analyzing the knowhow of every company she’s collaborating with.

With a strong belief in the strength of the handcrafted products, she also develops ceramic tableware, textile products and furniture.

Federica is a 360° designer, her philosophy is based on a clean aesthetic approach: nothing is left to chance, every detail has a careful goal whether it refers to a product, or an art direction work.

Since 2017 she has been teaching and lecturing in IED Milano and Marangoni in product design courses and Masters.

In January 2018 she was nominated by the master Andrea Branzi, and awarded in Paris, during Maison&Objet as one of six Italian Rising Talent. Now she is designing for companies such Gallotti&Radice, CC-tapis, Mingardo, My home Collection; and also art directs and consults for brands such as Mingardo, Fratelli Guzzini, Capo d’Opera.

Q&A

Where does your inspiration come from ?

The process  often starts with an  inspiration taken from the past or from nature . I like the existing objects that man has created over the past time.  Those objects of the present collect in our memory and our history in an increasingly technological world.

For me, research is fundamental for creating  an object, I do not stop and I find inspiration in any field.

With my projects I want to move, to touch the customer,  this is my aim. In a world where we are full of products, I need my products to say something, they have to talk to the world and transmit peace and elegance.

Do you think you have a certain style ?

It depends, I try to always have my style, a delicate, feminine touch, but often I find myself mediating between my style and the brand - we are not artists, we have to follow the dynamics of the market and trends, but that is not a bad thing.

Why did you choose to be a designer?

I didn't choose in a specific moment, I studied art in high school and I was already passionate about design and architecture. During university I studied interior design, it’s only after that , when I was in Amsterdam, that I understood that I loved objects more than spaces.

You’ve spent some time in Amsterdam to concentrate on Nordic design. How did you live (living and working) in Amsterdam and what did you bring home to Milan from the Netherlands?

I spent almost two years in Amsterdam, at the beginning I was going back and forth for love…for a man.. but once I arrived I fell in love with the city also. I worked as a freelancer, but mostly I looked, I planned my future mentally, I went to take flowers and bread at the Westerstraat market in the Joradaan where I lived, I absorbed as much beauty and serenity this country could give me - and now I’m slowly releasing this beauty  in my products. (I did the sponge for two years hahaha)

Can you tell me something about your work for Mingardo? And what kind of company is Mingardo?

Mingardo is a Metal Carpentry business founded  in 1970 by Mingardo Ilario, who had almost twenty years’ experience in the metal processing field. The production initially focused on simple carpentry works for the construction industry. Over time it has become more refined, enabling the company to collaborate with internationally renowned companies and architects such as Carlo Scarpa.

Daniele Mingardo the son, in 2013, launched his own brand, to combine his passion for craftsmanship with his love for design: he produces small limited-edition collections of home furniture and accessories where metals are the main characters. In 2016 he asked me to design for the company some products, when he saw the products he asked  me also to take on the art direction.

At the beginning it was difficult, because he could not do lot’s of industrial works and processes, so I had to show to every designer that I chose for the collection  our possibilities. The name of the collection that followed was called "the iconic handicraft".

I worked closely with the designers to create a product able to communicate the ‘Mingardo’ style and at the same time to express the style of each designer. In each product I have tried to infuse conciseness and a distinctive style. Collaborations, know-how, capabilities, and the dialogue between the company and designers have helped to create unique products, which make me very proud of the work we are doing on with Daniele Mingardo.

What is your age and where did you grow up?

I am 28 years old, I was born in 1989 in June in a small town near Milan (Saronno: famous for the liquor “DI SARONNO”)

I grew up there, but as soon as I could, I went to the city for highschool, despite the fact that we were surrounded by schools, I wanted to go to Milan, so every morning I used to commute by train for one hour to study art at high school. I have a beautiful family, one sister one brother, two amazing  parents and a 22 years old cat. My parents have always said  to me, to do and study what I wanted. The deal was that whatever I did I had to do it as best I could, with so much passion; so I decided with extreme freedom to study design in Milan after highschool.

Are you satisfied with your career so far? It seems to me that you have already done many interesting projects, from interior design to product and consulting.

I’m really happy and satisfied, but the way is long, and I have just taken the first  step; I love to match different kind of projects and fields, from product to interior, and from colour consulting to art direction.

Sometimes I’m worried about the future  because this job takes your time, conquers your heart, and it asks your mind everytime, it’s really demanding. 

What are your goals and your dreams for the future, say in ten years?

I never do strict programs, let’s see what life suggests for me. In ten years I would like to do the same job, but I want to become a businesswomen, I’m too busy for free time. I wish to create a design studio of ten people maximum. I really believe in family, so I also would like to have a house with two children and a lovely partner (that I already have). The final aim will be always the happiness.

Do you have a favourite design icon, a design or a designer?

I do not tend to idolize anyone, there are some personalities that I like very much, I admire a lot professionals from the present such as the Bouroullec brothers, Patricia Urquiola, Stefan Diaz, and from the past such as Achille Castiglioni, Lella Vignelli..the list is too long. But I try not to put myself too much in the paths of others.