Barometro Lamps is the first collection signed by young Tuscan designer Giacomo Ravagli exclusively for Edizioni Nilufar at the occasion of Milano Design Week 2011.
Barometro Lamps is a family of table and floor lamps composed by a rare Italian marble base. Giacomo Ravagli has chosen for its beauty, the marvel of the tones as well as the rarefaction of its quarrying. The lampshades are formed by unexpectedly twisted and cut lamina of noble metals at which the designer assigns, time by time, a controlled ageing grade.
Giacomo Ravagli, was born in Tuscany in 1981.
He started making sculpture when he was 18 : he didn’t apply for a fine art academy or for a sculpture course but arranged to do apprenticeships in the best artisanal marble workshops located in Pietrasanta (Lucca, Tuscany), the heart of marble quarries and industry in the world together with the other Tuscan city, Carrara.
His first teacher, the craftsman Sergio, was more than double his years. Sergio taught him all he knew but without words. To teach he had to show how to carve: as marble processing is both noisy and highly dusty – so speaking was almost impossible and unnecessary according to Sergio.
It is enough to carefully observe, try and try again, in order to slowly start to learn how to build, how to dominate the element. Drenched in the natural light of the day – from sunrise to sunshine.
Ten years were spent by Giacomo Ravagli working behind the scenes – his backdrop the stunning lunar landscape of Alpi Apuane chain of mountains – by making monumental works on behalf of famous International artists (from Pietro Cascella to Knut Steel, from Nelly Sarmiento to Louise Bourgeois).
He gradually acquired great style and ability in the furniture and jewellery design thanks to commissions from private collectors.
He interrupted his hand-to-hand combat with the stone, in 2008 when he left Italy for New York where he collaborated as a decorator and interior design consultant with some major US firms.
In 2010 he acted on the plan to create fine art sculpture and started to also make contemporary design.
Thr Barometro Lamps is his first official collection, bought with world exclusive from Nilufar for its fine catalogue, Edizioni Nilufar.
PR /Undercover interviewed Giacomo Ravagli
20th feb, 2011
How did you start to make design?
Actually it came out quite naturally and I never thought I would have done this kind of things. I just followed the opportunity that life and work gave to me, and I started to be interested in design and making furniture because basically I needed to work and make money while I was in NY. Then I started to enjoy it.
Barometro Lamps is your first collection. How difficult is to design and make, all by hands, a lamp? How does the idea arise in you? How do you prepare the model from which realizing the finished piece? How do you choose the materials? How many pieces did you prepare to show to the International fairs you’ve been invited to?
The idea of realizing a lamp collection started while I was in NY and I met Paul Johnson of Johnson Trading Gallery, a well know design gallery. Paul told me he needed for lamps so I started to think about it, and about how to put together my long experience as a marble sculptor and a new idea of a design product. After research and study of materials and sources in order to reach new conclusion, in December 2010 I actually decided to physically realize something.
If I don’t have to work with companies or delegate the execution of the work to somebody else I never make preparatory drawings and I prefer to work directly the marble, or maybe just realize a little model or maquette in plaster or paper just to fix the idea. I like to discover the work during the process, and be inspired from the materials. You have to be flexible if you work this way, but I find out that I do the best when I just listen for where I’m trying to go with it, and where I can go, and not try to rush it. Not try to make up things, but just let them come out. Then I’m a lot better of.
In the end it’s all about problem solving. And this is the case of Barometro lamps. In the beginning I didn’t have much money to invest, and the marble is expensive, you know. So I decided to work on some leftover of rosso levanto marble I had from a previous commission. What I did is basically give a rational shape to the irrational and irregular form of the row pieces, then sanded and polished, like diamonds. For the copper lampshades I decided the form and size in an endless game of golden proportion with the marble base.
So far I realized 18 pieces, 16 for the fairs in Paris and Milano and 2 artist proof.
Before Barometro Lamps collection, which objects or designs you’ve produced?
None. Barometro Lamps is my first design collection.
Which is your relation with marble and other stones? Which kind of material would you like to work with to make furniture if you imagine to born again?
Marble is a noble material. It’s something that you have to deeply understand and love. Marble teaches you a lot: imagination, patience and stubbornness. And guts. You have to be brave, daring with marble. You have to drop your inhibitions to reign over the marble, modify it, soften it, deflate it, even kill it.
I work also with other materials, but I prefer marble because is more versatile compared with granite, for example, or onyx. I like the idea of making design in marble and I would probably do the same.
What your next project will be?
My next project, Uscio Fasullo, is a curtain made of little pieces out of marble for the Design Biennale in Carrara in May 2011. I cannot say much about it, I suggest you to see the exhibition.
The work title comes out from a text by Bruno Munari.
What I can only say is that it’s a really funky project, very colourful and a little kitschy. It looks like the plastic curtains that my grand mother used to have in the kitchen to prevent flies. I’m sure children would love