by Paolo Ferrarini of Future Concept Lab
In Milan it's unusual to find "non-Milaneseâ design, meaning design that's not linear, clean or somehow a reinterpretation of classic pieces and brands. Decidedly untraditional, Wozzup Mutazionidinterni is the refreshing exception to this rule.
Former set designer Luca Porcelli and Maurizio Duranti, an ex-graphic designer, founded Wozzup in 2007. They work and exhibit their furniture, paintings and objects in the neighborhood of Porta Venezia. Not easy to define, their style incorporates elements from traditional pieces and graffiti, silk and leather, wood and steel, manga and baroque. Is it Grandeur Pop? Or maybe Rococo Comics?
CH met the two designers in their Milan store to get a handle on the sources of their inspiration and the origins of their unconventional approach.
How was Wozzup born?
We come from the worlds of theater and communication and we had the idea of doing something that could help us to freely express our creativity while having fun. The objects and the furniture we have in our showroom are our "business cards." These pieces of furniture and decoration are conceived for the elite, since we use precious materials (from rare woods to leathers and fur), which come from all over Italy.
The majority of our products are made-to-measure and one of a kind. Usually the customers come to us, fall in love with a piece, which is then made brand new for them, with colors, materials, processes and finishing in harmony with their own space. Everything is fine-tuned on the needs and taste of our client.
Read the rest of the interview and see more images after the jump.
Why do your products look so differnt from the average Milanese style?
We don't care about following the main trends or styles in design. In Milan it seems there's only Armani or Ikea, too linear and essentially similar. Even kitsch here in Italy is not interesting, since it's too heavy and vulgar and often is industrial production. For us it's different. If we like a project, we put it together—even if it takes weeks of working, even if we know it's going to be very hard to sell it. For this reason it's impossible for our designs to be mass-produced.
As a result our taste is unique. It can be defined as kitsch or baroque, but essentially it's a splash of energy into your home. Everything here is handmade and unrepeatable.
Do you guys work directly on your objects?
We design and produce here. We have a big laboratory in the basement, where we make most parts of the work. Of course we have a network of carpenters, blacksmiths, tanners, weavers. The raw pieces and materials are delivered here and we modify and finalize the projects. In this way we are also able to guarantee the highest quality.
Have you ever worked on entire houses or apartments?
We mostly work on small areas of a space, but we also put together entire rooms. Recently we have designed and furnished a teenager's room. His passions are swords and he has a small collection of toy rifles. The leitmotif is steel, with which we have made the prison-like door, a closet with a handle in the shape of a sword and a panel with the rifles. Since he wanted to add a street style touch, a small TV table has been painted with a '80s style portable stereo.
In general, if our clients have clear ideas, we are pleased to develop them together, otherwise we feel free to suggest and give directions. We don't want to play the part of those architects and interior decorators that impose their vision. If the clients want something we don't really like, we do it anyway. If they are satisfied with their choice, we are happy too.
Where do you take your inspiration?
Our inspirations are quite diverse, including movies like "The Forbidden City," natural elements, ad campaigns, TV series, circuses, comics and music. Life itself is our inspiration. Even if Wozzup is rare and unique, the starting point is always daily life. This is the reason why each one of our products has a name, tells a story or recalls a memory.
We never forget that our objects have to be used and experienced. When asked to make chairs for the kitchen we avoid using real leather, since it would be difficult to keep it clean. It's not only about style, but also practicality.
Of course, we are always attracted by the hidden details, like the closets with the back side covered with studded leather. It can be a secret, but in this way a cabinet could become another wall in the room. We also have other pieces of furniture, which are pink and mirrored on the outside and covered with a precious red leather on the inside.
Surprise, narration, fun—could we say these are the keywords for Wozzup?
Everything people buy for their homes is not only for self-satisfaction, but also for friends. We love the idea of our designs being told and described by those who saw, wanted, co-created and bought them. As an example, we have found a very rare transparent snakeskin. The production process is very difficult and now forbidden as it's very dangerous for the tanners. That's real piton skin, but if you do not tell the entire story it can be considered cheap and banal since it can look like plastic.
Who's your typical client?
There's not an average customer in our store. We sold to a young couple who saved money to buy a Lady Oscar painting, to VIPs, to millionaires and to old Milanese women. We've been surprised by the amount of over-60 clients. We started addressing to a young clientele, but we have made many projects for the elderly and probably the craziest ones. We don't have to forget that Milan is the least conservative city in Italy, which is still a conservative Country—in particular when it comes to design and interior decoration. Considering this context, we have been really surprised by the requests of seniors, in particular by those of women.
Check out Wozzup Mutazionidinterni' site for more information on products and ordering.
Viale Tunisia, 14
20124 Milano, Italy map
tel. +39 02 201276