She is from an Italian town Pavia, he is from Singapore. Francesca Lanzavecchia and Hunn Wai met while studying at the design academy in Eindhoven. Now, they are based in their hometowns and their studio works at a long distance.
We visited Lanzavecchia’s studio in ancient Pavia in scorching heat that broke some weather records. In the shade of thick old walls, we thought about furniture as an extension of a human body and its function. This is also a topic that the Italian-Singaporean couple deal with in their work.
Tactility and the idea of furniture as an extension of human body played a strong role already in their early collaboration on Spaziale collection of shelves. “Feminine & masculine, fluid & rigid, lightness & mass, expression & function, tactile pleasure from usage, the Spaziale family would like to invite themselves into your lives and homes, and perhaps have a little fun together,” says Francesca.
“This is a family of domestic creatures that will live with you and your possessions. By breaking out of the rigid mechanical boxes that inhabit in our spaces and store our lives today, they react to what and how much you put in them, openings that behave like mouths and even allow you to hide in them.”
The interest in soft forms and body sensuality continues also in an award-winning collection of furniture and accessories No Country for Old Men, which focuses on the habits of old people to help them to move around the apartment. “The aging process brings about a natural decline in muscle tone and bone density that contributes to decreased mobility, stability, strength and endurance. Actions that are taken for granted can become more difficult with age. Simply standing up from a chair is difficult for some seniors due to muscle mass and strength losses. This aggravated by our increasingly sedentary work-and-lifestyles,” Francesca explains the idea behind the kinetic-like Assunta chair, which uses user’s own body weight as leverage by stepping on the foot bar and as well as assures stability by having arm-rests that follow this tilting motion.
Another great invention is MonoLight, which doubles as a magnifying glass. “MonoLight is a handsome table lamp with a magnifying screen and LED components housed in a CNC- machined aluminum enclosure, anchored to a dodecagon-profiled marble base, to enable various degrees of viewing angles,” says Francesca.
Recently, the duo started to work with several bigger companies including Cappellini, Antolini, Mirage, BOSA, Alcantara and more. Even the commercial projects are still characterized by original understanding of human body and its movement.
Interview & text: Adam Štěch
Text edit: Helena Kardová
Photo: Tomáš Souček