Guglielmo Poletti, tension to evolve

Born in 1987, after taking a degree at Design Academy Eindhoven he has gained acclaim for his experimentation and projects tensed to the limit. Today he works with design firms, including Desalto, and private galleries. His dream? “To come to terms with the world of architecture”

Guglielmo Poletti - Photo © Emanuele Zamponi
Guglielmo Poletti - Photo © Emanuele Zamponi

He is fascinated by materials taken to their limits, to extremes, like sturdy metal objects that seem fragile and unbalanced: “Exploring the limits of materials in relation to their structural properties is a very stimulating theme; in my work, we might say that form often follows structure, of which function is a consequence,” says Guglielmo Poletti, a designer from Milan, born in 1987. He trained at Design Academy Eindhoven, with a degree thesis titled Equilibrium, which opened the doors of the world of design: “It was a starting point for me, and it embodied many of the aspects found in my work today.

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Rossana Orlandi and Nathalie Assi of Seeds London noticed the Equilibrium collection at the Graduation Show in 2016, and asked me if they could make editions. For me, Rossana Orlandi is a figure to whom I am indebted, since she gave me a chance to consolidate my language.”

It was precisely at her gallery that Gordon Guillaumier, art director of Desalto, discovered Poletti’s work: “I was looking for a company to interpret my creations on an industrial scale, without compromise. This was an attitude only a few companies are inclined to accept, because such an approach can be riskier in commercial terms. But Desalto has always been a reference point, in this sense, and I think getting away from preset boundaries was stimulating for both of us. My background outside the industry has allowed me to interface with them in a free way, while remaining consistent.”

Void by Desalto, Design Guglielmo Poletti - Photo © Andrea Ferrari
Void by Desalto, Design Guglielmo Poletti – Photo © Andrea Ferrari

The resulting projects shorten the distance between experimentation and the industrial dimension: “Like Void, the result of a series of structural studies on the ribbing of curved metal, a collection that creates a void of perspective, due to the dialogue between two pieces of curved sheet metal and a rectangular top.

Then comes MM8, a table initially created for a private client, with a top that is just 6 mm thick; the company liked it enough to engineer it, with the right compromises, such as taking the top to 8 mm, with powder coating instead of the special patina.”

MM8 by Desalto, Design Guglielmo Poletti - Photo © Andrea Ferrari
MM8 by Desalto, Design Guglielmo Poletti – Photo © Andrea Ferrari

This was followed by the L45 tables, with a joint between the leg and the top where contact is reduced to an absolute minimum, based on the encounter of the respective tips: “A construction obtained by combining two L-shaped sections cut at 45° to be joined at 90°, forming the leg of the table and its crosspiece. The latter, rotated by 45° with respect to the flat surface, forms an empty segment that is associated with a removed portion of material. The resulting geometry creates the impression that the extremities of the top are precariously perched on four single points, suggesting a fragile balance in terms of perception.”

L45 by Desalto, Design Guglielmo Poletti
L45 by Desalto, Design Guglielmo Poletti

In this moment “I am developing several new pieces with Desalto, as well as collaborations with industrial firms and a new gallery. I’m also completing my studio in Milan: there will be a workshop where I can develop any idea, and also a ‘box in the box,’ a self-supporting structure entirely in plywood, used as an office and archive, and also including a small bedroom zone for use when needed, my first true work of architecture.”

His dream? “To keep an independent, crosswise approach that leads to increasingly solid collaborations with the industry, and experimental collaborations with the gallery. My inner dream is to come to grips with the world of architecture, to develop a personal vision of space through experimental projects on a limited scale, or exhibit designs for the world of art.”