Mario Ferrarini: I listen

Pragmatic and visionary. Theatrical, yet discreet. Focused on the brand and marketing. Many labels have been applied to Mario Ferrarini. But the designer, who was born in Como in 1978, says he only has one trick up his sleeve: lending his ears

Three adjectives to describe your design approach.
Synergistic, seductive and timeless.

Can you explain them?
The idea is an element that migrates with the customer to a market. The synergy between a designer and a company is the main element and is part of the project.
Products must seduce. Aesthetics, details, technologies, materials, solutions, photos and the relationship with the setting must result in a product that enthrals the public. This is also part of the project.
Timelessness is always a beautiful thing to hope for…

What is your design process?
The classic approach: sketches, research, details, rendering, models and the customer. The process can also happen in reverse.

Spaces with furniture to accessories, household appliances and beer dispensing pumps. What creative principle underlies everything you do?
I always find it necessary to start with the same principle, both in the creative act and in relations with customers, namely always demonstrating a clear willingness to listen.

Every customer communicates a language, a business philosophy, qualities and skills, market goals and desires. For our part, we have the opportunity to act on these factors by coming up with new solutions connected to both the product and the process, solutions that follow an established path or very often mark out a new one. A project is therefore not a design with purely aesthetic characteristics that is generally well-received. It is a goal that analytically considers different aspects, whether they are oriented more towards commercial results or based on communication of corporate identity.

Reyvarsur Tukuur, design Mario Ferrarini

Do you have a favourite product type?
Since my university days, I have always been fascinated by themes that combine functionality and wellness in the bathroom, and these are still a major element of the firm’s work. I am also intrigued by what supposedly lies outside of the furniture world. For example, the projects for Franke, the beer dispensing taps made with Spanish partner Reyvasur, and the modular fireplaces by Antoniolupi demonstrate how one can think of innovative solutions without necessarily having previously studied the product type. In this regard, I have to say that lack of knowledge about certain subjects – along with a grasp of how to convey it in the project – can lead to very interesting results.

Recently, as a firm we are consolidating major collaborations and expanding our horizons with partners in the furniture sector such as Desalto and DeSede at the last Salone del Mobile. We are moving towards sectors linked to the product, in the hope of growing steadily and defining dedicated divisions that can form mutual synergies.

Franke Crystal Line, design Mario Ferrarini
Antoniolupi Skema, design Mario Ferrarini

What materials do you love working with and why?
We have created a collection of sofas with DeSede, working very hard on the latest rubber technologies. In collaboration with a partner we have redesigned the construction of every single cushion at least ten times, I believe. Thanks to our continuous pursuit of detail and proportions, we have managed to produce an extremely comfortable sofa made entirely from rubber, which, surprisingly, does not contain feathers, but has the typical appearance that only down can create.

We like working with many materials, conscious that, in such a highly skilled and competitive market, it is inevitably important for companies to invest in technology. All this requires a great deal of effort, but it enables products to be reproduced in series and leads to results in terms of competitive prices.

DS 610 DeSede, design Mario Ferrarini

You have worked with Italian and foreign companies. What are the differences between them and what lessons have you learned from them?
Generally, there are no differences when there is dialogue and this dialogue leads to rewarding results for both parties. At the same time, all companies differ from each other, regardless of country and language.

Tell us about the companies you’ve worked with lately. What are the new products?
With Desalto, this year’s important collaboration, we have developed a collection of tables, ‘solving’ the corner with an approach that is always linked to formal reduction, yet paradoxically is somewhat decorative. The intersection between the crosspiece and the legs is the central element of the design, which is far from simple to resolve due to the reduced sections, defining its identity and recognizability in a market that is flooded with products.

Desalto Beam, design Mario Ferrarini
Desalto Beam, design Mario Ferrarini

We are even more excited about the Myg series, a collection of stackable stools in three different heights, featuring a unique triangular design that boasts incredible comfort due to its correct body weight distribution. It is a product that is also recognizable, functional and industrial, distinguished by its harmonious graphic interpretation. It is a piece that very much identifies our design vision.

Desalto MYG, design Mario Ferrarini

2018 was also a fundamental year thanks to our historic partner Antoniolupi, with whom we created Atelier: a universal system, a piece of furniture based on the principle of freedom, for the customer and the architect, to create different combinations through the use of very few elements. This large, articulated program fully falls within the company’s logic of maximum personalization.

Antoniolupi Atelier, design Mario Ferrarini