Skitsch is a new way of doing design, not a style, but the many expressions of contemporary creativity guaranteed by the signing of established and emerging designers. Skitsch offers furniture, accessories that combine function and emotion. Think of the different types of home, indoor and outdoor, the variety of tastes, the duties neglected, the useful and the leisure. Innovation becomes workaday and you can create a personal environment
Skitsch is now a three time Salone company, and opens up at the Salone del Mobile 2011 with plenty of new items. The collection, expands further its aesthetic touch and accessibility.
Two years after their debut at Salone del Mobile 2009, Italian design retailer Skitsch kicked off this year’s fair with a blowout party in their Milan store.
Featuring among the 18 novelties that Skitsch is showcasing during this year’s Salone are designs such as Alessandra Baldereschi’s “Fil de Fer” outdoor family: chairs made of metal, which in their ornate manner allude to lounge chairs but eventually transpire to be not so much humorous reference than fatuous wire frames.
Standout pieces from their new collection include Jean-Marie Massaud’s AKA line of polycarbonate/oak stools and chairs, the “Skylight” pendant lamp and Marco Dessi’s stackable powder coated aluminum “Dakar” chair. These new projects have been created to fill the typological gaps, making the Skitsch collection more complete and efficient.
Investment in anti-kitsch
Launched two years ago, the Italian label “Skitsch” presents itself in a completely different way – with less idealism and a stronger focus on sales.
Skitsch decided against experimental ventures and a strict selection and instead opted for the widest possible product range and “multi-channel stores” to win the market. “We simply wanted to go all out for it,” says Massimiliano Moschini, managing director at Skitsch.
We want our range to appeal to a widely diversified audience and cater to various market segments. Accordingly, Borek Shipek’s “Kicker” table priced at EUR 3,500 features in the Skitch catalog alongside Marc Sadler’s “Madeira” chair at just EUR 120.
In English, the label’s name roughly translates as “anti-kitsch” which stands for the naïve and romantic designs by the young Italian designer Alessandra Baldereschi just as much as it does of the industry’s doyens and famous stars, including Marcel Wanders and Jean-Marie Massaud.
The label’s art director Cristina Moschini, design journalist, curator and critic, pursues no clear line. With its own “multi-channel store” in Milan’s Via Monte di Pietà, a second store in London and franchises in Beirut and – as of June– in São Paulo, Skitsch pursues an aggressive market strategy and employs a sales network comprising 25 agencies in 400 stores across Europe. “Ultimately, we are aiming for around 800 to 1,000 stores,” says Massimo Moschini, content with what they have achieved to date.
The concept for the collection is deliberately left open and is intended to appeal to young and mature consumers alike. Rather than limiting itself to a single language, Skitsch seeks to cater to all tastes and budgets, leaving the designers the greatest possible freedom as a result. The diversified audience is part of the “branding” strategy, as are the different materials – from crystal plant to wood, and porcelain to plastic.
Following the acquisition of the company, the glass objects by Dovetusai were integrated in the Skitsch universe, just as the furniture by Magis or other producers was sold in the stores to promote impulse buying. “We don’t intend to have our own signature but intend to offer something for everyone,” Moschini says, pointing out that nowadays eclecticism is such a widespread phenomenon that such a market strategy indeed makes sense.
The Skitsch collection now comprises 350 product families overall, including sofas and chairs, clocks and tables, bookshelves by Front Design and luminaires by the Campana brothers. It is kind of a general store that does not always present itself in the right light:
The question remains as to how Skitsch can be ultimately be classified: As a general store that happens to sell furniture? Or as a treasure trove for affordable design?
About Skitsch by Domus Design
Skitsch might be described more as a publisher than a manufacturer, was founded in 2009 by a number of financiers.
Sufficiently external or transversal to the old world of Italian furniture making, they were looking to invest in a new scheme of production and distribution in the furniture sector. To coordinate this initiative they turned to Cristina Morozzi for her reliable and expert creative supervision as art director. If a work is born, according to Filarete’s principles, of a father and a mother (i.e. the client and the designer), here it must be said that the self-made entrepreneur-publisher no longer exists (and for that matter this figure is increasingly rare, nay, almost extinct even in the most historic places). Instead we have a group (an increasingly recurrent formula) consisting of a board of directors who interface with an art director. In turn, this individual builds a “vision” where diverse voices and lines of thought are made to converge, all united by elective affinities.
In some ways, Morozzi’s gathering and interweaving is reminiscent of many exemplary stories of Italian design. For example, Paolo Tilche’s primordial work with Arform, the exemplary publishing enterprises run by Bruno Danese, the maieutic role of Francesco Binfaré (over which hovered the unfailingly sharp eye of Cesare Cassina) at the Cassina Research Centre, but also the more recent roles of Mendini for Alessi, or of Giulio Cappellini for his company of the same name in its early stages. These are very diverse cases. However, in one way or another they have always been shaped by the classic figure of the industrialist born and bred in that circle with a passion for constructing a precise identity. It is widely believed that this historical model is now out of date and unviable. But we think that a contemporary restatement of that old value, of that awareness of “doing”, is precisely what should be very carefully sought.
Perhaps it may also in part be re-read among the “pages” or “narrations” of the case discussed here. On first looking at the Skitsch collection, through its numerous traces in the media, one has the strange impression of something very similar to the collections of “design objects” displayed in the shops of the world’s most aristocratic design museums; or to the range of quintessential objects to be seen in certain chic and trendy shops which offer select things that are of undoubtedly good quality but also socially gratifying. These collections are clearly not the outcome of a new vision by an identity-related design and productive enterprise. Rather, they result from the selection markedly self-referential objects. They are offered in a focused and guaranteed aura of discrimination, as if motivated by some sort of certification sanctioned by an indisputable arbiter of taste like that of a design museum. Naturally there is nothing wrong with this, a priori. Indeed it carries some interesting aspects of induced quality. Nevertheless, it also harbours a latent reminder of the status symbol principle. A trifle mystifying, if it gets out of hand it can pose a limit to a collection’s potential to offer an interesting and renewed concept of refined interior design publishing.
Still in terms of a review, it may be interesting to define this collection as a literary genre. At the most we might call it prose, at times with one or two theatrical notes, and rare poetic accents, written for the most part in the narrative form of a short story. To borrow a buzz word from corporate communications, its “emotional design” covers a range of entertainment literature with a richly fascinating array of texts. For example, one finds the “adventure” genre (exotic pieces by the Campana brothers, Borek Sipek, Marc Sadler, Konstantin Grcic and Palomba and Serafini); the “fantastic” (with vases by Paolo Ulian, furniture and trompe-l’oeil sets of glasses by the Front group, the “Alice in Wonderland” porcelains by Maarten Baas, the “pumpkin” pouf by Todd Bracher, the disconnected furniture by Philippe Nigro, the table-games by Sipek and Pagani and Perversi, the aubergine-coffee table by Grandi and Bossi); as well as a few hints of “fantasy” (cardboard furniture by Giles Miller, oneiric clocks by Kiki van Eijk, decorated sideboards by Alessandra Baldereschi, the buttoned sofa by Ditte Hammerstrom, flounced tables by Xavier Lust). But there is also the “horror” genre (the coathanger hand à la “Adams family”, the ironic lamp-skull by Stefano Giovannoni), or the “comic-ludic” with “ironic” traits (the iconic floor lamp by Ding 3000, the “fish eats fish” vase by Baldereschi, the childlike, origami- style boat-lamp by Pagani and Perversi).
Certainly, we realise these definitions of genres are not applicable to all the items in the catalogue, some of which belong to a more serious genre, tending towards minimalism (the seating by Luca Nichetto, the cubist armchair by Jeffrey Bernett, the benchbed and coffee tables by Pagani and Perversi, the hammock by Inghua Ting, the low tables by Nigro). Nevertheless, comprehensively they all have in common a sense of “fantastic-emotional”.
By and large, this is a publisher’s collection of very mixed texts, all more or less agreeable, though perhaps too many to be read all at once and therefore a tad redundant. Outstanding, however, are a number of more inspired stories, where stronger and more consolidated characters can be recognised, as in the lamps of the Campana brothers, in Sipek’s vases and in the seating by Grcic, Sadler and Palomba and Serafini, or in the floor lamp by Ding 3000. These objects exude a mood of “adventure” which, although in some cases liable to wear out, still bears the charm of good fiction. Interesting narrative points of departure can also be read in the diverse genres proposed by Ulian, Fabio Bortolani, Nichetto, Giles Miller, and Pagani and Perversi. Meanwhile, we won’t bother judging a few other pieces, mainly in the attractive sector for children and chosen from other current productions, such as the delightful expanded polypropylene chair by Enzo Mari for Magis. Of course these items too, borrowed from other productions, heighten that sense of a collection of collections.
The final impression is that in a larger selection of pieces from the next collections, we ought to try to highlight not just the right quota of first stories by the younger generations (especially the Italians, who could do with the benefit), but also a new and more organic section of product-texts in the shape of novels. These might be more committed perhaps, more visionary in their urge to interpret the forms of our time and of the near future. In any case, Skitsch is to be commended for its effort to brighten the panorama of Italian design