Lanzavecchia + Wai Website: We’ve had a great pleasure to talk with amazing Francesca Lanzavecchia, one of the 100 Ambassadors of Italian culture in the world, about our recent collaboration! Francesca is a co-founder of the prestigious Lanzavecchia +Wai studio and we will take care of its new website. This interview is an exclusive chance for you to discover the mindset of this acclaimed creative duo and find out how glueglue starts working on the project!
What do you expect from a website? What would be its main goal?
Our new website must become a tool showcasing the design process behind our projects. We’d like to show that we’re different from many other studios because of two main reasons: the importance of research and the value of beauty. We never start from a given shape or concept but develop our ideas through the exploration of what’s needed; then we focus on applying the beauty into everyday life.
You start the project from the level of no expectations.
Yes, at the beginning we never know where we’ll end up as we always stay open-minded and put our trust in the process. Take the example of the project we’re currently working on – we didn’t know it was going to be a stroller. It could’ve been a scooter or a backpack. And this is how we manage to tweak the product, to turn it around and add some special features. We’re able to wait, having the bigger picture in mind. We’re deeply immersed in all the phases of the design process right from research – ready to face the unexpected conclusions or results – to close monitoring of the manufacture. We don’t speed things up. I like to think we’re brave.
The way you operate definitely takes a lot of courage. What about the second characteristic, the beauty?
We believe in human interaction. Delving deeper into the problems. However, we also like to inject a bit of poetry into people’s lives. We have dealt with social issues like getting older or different disabilities, next year we will tackle the subject of dementia. We want to make people’s lives better and achieve that through ascertaining what’s needed first, and then, use the beauty to make the impact of our work stronger.
I believe this multifaceted approach derives from our academic background. Both my partner in Singapore and I studied first the industrial design. Then we obtained a Master’s degree in conceptual design. So, we exhibit this scientific approach to the project while keeping a poetic perspective. Our aim for the future is to inject the poetry, lightness and the irony. The world is difficult enough.
You’ve created a vast array of fantastic projects that include furniture, toys, back braces or even edible sofas – what is your focus when designing?
The awareness that every project is a journey on its own. An odyssey through an unknown land.
Lanzavecchia + Wai Website will also help you to reposition yourselves.
This is also the right moment for us to define where we’re heading. We would like to position ourselves as a design consultancy. We want to show that we’re capable of tackling the complex issues while still bringing some lightness to the final product. If I had to describe this website one word, it would be the openness.
At the same time, we highly value the conceptual part of our work. We collaborate with numerous cultural institutions such as the galleries and museums which allow us to speculate about the world from a very personal viewpoint and express ourselves on a more abstract level. For example, once we had to design our own talisman or luggage for a nomadic life. In the last case, I created a skirt with a lot of pockets.
If you could describe your studio as an object, what would that be?
That would be a very complex thing, as we’re not about simplicity at all. It would definitely need to be able to move. Maybe a swing or a hot air balloon? One of our focuses is also tactility, so perhaps some soft piece of fabric… the hot air balloon made of soft fabric.
Air and fire combined together.
Yeah, we try to put together the opposites, the unexpected. There’s always a masculine and feminine component of our work, you can find playfulness but also heaviness.
Are there any particular projects you would like to highlight on your Lanzavecchia + Wai Website?
I think we should divide and categorize the more conceptual works from the industrial ones. The Emphasis Grid System might be useful for that! At the same time, it would be great to create connections between our projects because some of them are characterized by certain irony or look. We should think of a good way to conceive such distinctive worlds and bridges between these different realities. It could also work as an introduction to what we’re aiming for the future because we’d like to move into another realm which is the interior design.
Which feature of your website do you consider as the most important?
It needs to have more content and should be more intuitive. I would love to have it long-lasting too. It would also be great to have more clear and specific landing page, so you can find on the spot what you’re looking for, whether you’re interested in consultancy, industrial or conceptual design. The better people get to know us through our website, the more they can learn about our prospective collaboration.
Do you have any particular color palette in mind?
Since our projects involve a lot of colors already, I’d like to keep it simple. I’d like to think of it as the white canvas. My favorite color is indigo, though, so if we are going to use any fil rouge, it could be the indigo-themed white canvas. Very minimal.
How would you define the core values of Lanzavecchia + Wai?
The courage, vigor, liveliness and also the strive for making the world better. I would also add self-expression because it’s the way we communicate. We’re connectors; we connect the dots, the issues, and merge them into new things. We transform our visions into something tangible.
We like to think that we’re living in a brave new world, and our intention of building a studio that is a bridge between Italy and Singapore always keeps us alert, attentive, and curious. We constantly travel, discover, and question the status quo.
What is your biggest accomplishment so far?
I think it would be the relationship established with clients as well as our capability to maintain our own intercontinental and intercultural relation between Italy and Singapore.
What kind of advice would you give to a 20-year-old self?
Trust your gut feeling more.
FRANCESCA LANZAVECCHIA Traveler, dreamer, restless aesthete. To educate her artistic soul, she graduated in Industrial Design at Politecnico in Milan. She also studied manual labor during a Master’s Degree at Design Academy in Eindhoven, graduating with honors. In 2001 she founded Lanzavecchia+Wai studio, together with Hunn Wai, with headquarters in Pavia and Singapore. She received many awards, like Elle Décor International Design Award 2014 for the ‘’Young Designer Talent of the Year’’ category. For Italian Design Day, launched in 2017 by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and of International Cooperation in collaboration with La Triennale in Milan, she was appointed the ambassador of Italian design in the world.