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Rossana Orlandi

During Salone Internazionale del Mobile in Milan, there is one person that everyone watches: Rossana.

Rossana Orlandi portrait by Leslie Williamson
During Salone Internazionale Del Mobile in Milan, all eyes are on Rossana Orlandi.

Summertime collection by Nika Zupanc
Spazio Rossana Orlandi is a sprawling space, a former tie factory that now holds a series of rooms, each one outfitted by a different designer. In one area, Slovenian designer Nika Zupanc’s blown-glass pendants hang above her Summertime collection.
What led you to create your gallery, Spazio Rossana Orlandi, 12 years ago?
I’ve always been a collector. I’ve followed design since I was very young. But there’s a difference between art and design. Some design pieces can become art, become sculpture. But I am not interested in having an art gallery, but rather, a design gallery. Sometimes it’s difficult to say if it’s a piece of design or art. For instance, Nacho Carbonell. He started as a designer, but from my point of view, he’s not simply a designer anymore. His work is art.
You must be bombarded at all times by designers who want you to see their work. How do you decide?
When something is good, I feel excitement. Sometimes it’s not immediate, I have to think about it. It depends on the project. Sketches and the realization, there is always a big difference. The sketches make it possible to understand what is in the designer’s mind, but you don’t know if the project will be as good as the idea. Because sketches are sketches. I always like to see, to touch, and to try. I was once a fashion designer, specializing in knitwear. That background has taught me to keep my eyes very open, and to find a sense of
affinity, an understanding of how two things go together.

Furniture by Jaime Hayon and Damien Langlois-Meurinne for Sé
In another area, pieces by Jaime Hayon and Damien Langlois-Meurinne for Sé.
How has the design scene in Milan changed over the past five years?

Whatever has happened is because of the financial crisis, but the mentality of the designer has changed a bit. They are more concrete in the resolution of their ideas; they are looking more closely at price and quality. Ideas of eco-sustainability are very important, but that’s a term that’s been employed too much and in the wrong way. Because much of what is purported to be sustainable is a lie. A designer must always respect the way of the material, must think about waste and how to use things the right way. The transport problem is also very important. How to make things that are not breakable, items that can make journeys of great distance. Now designers must be very clever and look very carefully at what they do.
Is it harder to find people emerging with pure ideas, or is everyone just copying everyone else?
“Copy” is one word and to feel the influence of other things is a different thing. Copy is horrible. Copy means to have no respect for anyone else. If a designer copies someone else, then they have no creativity, and so better that they change their line of work.

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