In Conversation With

In Conversation With Roberto Palomba

17 Apr , 2018  

With Salone del Mobile.Milano 2018 currently underway, we thought it’s a good idea to grab some Italian design inspiration. We had the opportunity to spend some time with Poltrona Frau Group product designer, Roberto Palomba, at the Group’s recent showroom launch in Umm Suqeim.

As sought-after architects and designers, Roberto Palomba and his wife, Ludovica, established Palomba Serafini Associati in Milan, 24 years ago. They collaborate with the most prestigious design brands all over the world; and the majority of their products, designed since 1994, are still in production. Numerous awards such as Compasso D’Oro, Red Dot Award, Design Plus Award, Product Innovation Award, German Design Award, Elle Decoration International Design Award attest to the passion that goes into their work. As a design powerhouse, their goal is to design projects where they’re able to interact in an evident and immediate way, with people who choose them for their particular approach. For them, their success is measured by how many people have chosen to share their lives intimately with their products.

Art and design are clearly essential elements in your life. Where do you find inspiration as a designer?

In everything and in nothing! Inspiration is not something you can control… it’s a bang in your stomach that comes when you don’t expect it. I think I’m very curious, and I make sure to open all my “doors” and look around me to allow things to enter my mind. When that happens, I begin to see the connections; and step by step, with experience, it all grows with me through the years to create my inspiration.

What makes a design stand out to you?

I used to be a good student and am a good one to this day, but I have a bad memory! So, what was produced by the great masters in the past have influenced me, but I forget! It’s somewhere in the back of my mind, but it doesn’t come out as a concrete rip-off from one specific source. The best design for me would be one that looks ahead into the future! The past is very important, but we are living in the present and we need to design for the future. Our roots are important as well, but we need to develop it so we can move in the right direction. Replicating the past in itself is not a bad thing as there’s value in celebrating heritage, but there would be no progress until we keep the future firmly in mind.

What are your thoughts on Dubai as world city?

The most creative people in Europe come to Dubai for various reasons, and that in itself says a lot. Dubai is interesting in terms of creating what is considered “new”, both from an architectural and design aspect. Here, they try to replicate what is inspirational from the past, but they also add new elements and ideas to make it advanced and future-oriented. They’ve tried to develop their own culture by taking inspiration from the past, like many amazing cultures and civilizations. What was done over the course of a century, Dubai tries to do in a decade. Only in Dubai!

From the extensive list of products you’ve developed as part of Palomba Serafini, which product is your favourite?

My daughter is my muse and could be described as my favourite creation!

What advice would you give young designers?

Travel, travel, and travel some more! In my younger days, it was not easy and economical to travel. People were more conservative, not interested in being connected, and of course, no internet. Today, with technology readily available, it has all become easier and more convenient.

Young designers should see and experience the world! Stop looking at catalogues and magazines! Open your mind and change your outlook…everything and everyone has a style and attitude. As much as I respect the attitude of others, it’s not mine and therefore not unique in terms of my personal approach. What I create should reflect my attitude. And if you must do that, it has to come from within you! Your work is a part of you and comes from within, not outside.

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