FABRIZIO CRISA / ELICA S.P.A.
IDA 2017 PRODUCT DESIGN OF YEAR WINNER
You were born and raised in Italy. How do you think the Italian mentality shaped your life, your work and your creative process?
I was born in a little town in the south of Italy where I spent the first 20 years of my life, before moving to Rome where my career as a designer started. As you might already know, Italians are well known for their creativity and their tendency to not respect the given rules. I can define myself Italian in that sense. I’m not a rebel but I always question rules and limits to obtain the best product possible. Plus, I pay great attention to detail.
How did you discover that you wanted to work in the design / product planning field?
I was always a curious kid. I liked to disassemble toys and appliances, and I spent lots of time helping my dad repair things. Growing up I was really into music and therefore hi-fi systems. I couldn’t buy the latest models, so I used to fix the broken ones. Same with personal computers, I quickly learnt how to assemble my own PC. At that time, my desk was full of hardware and I spent my time modelling objects, as far as was possible at that time. My first choice for university was to study engineering, but I soon realized that something was missing so I swapped to product design and I simply knew it was the right choice for me.
Where do you get your ideas and inspiration from, how do you decide if you want to take on a certain project?
I always try to be curious about everything that surrounds me. Despite my busy work schedule, I always leave time for traveling. I visit fairs related to different industries, from interior design to products and technology. There is also a constant exchange with other professionals in my network. I frequently take time to have a chat with them and keep my knowledge of their specific industry up to date.
Tell us a bit about your workflow. What are the most important factors you take into account when bringing a project to success? What makes you stand out from the crowd?
Intuition and flair are essential for a product to work. No product will ever stand out from the crowd if it just answers a series of market requests. Design answers a question nobody asked. It is the design and the vision that you put into it that makes the difference. Ultimately, an obsessive attention to detail makes the difference.
Your winning project, Lullaby, is a ceiling hood that combines architecture and light. What do you think is the role of lighting in interior design and architecture. Why is it so important?
Light is the hardest material to define and work with, but it is the most important medium for comfort and well being when designing architecture, interiors or even products. Light can make the same space cosy and comfortable or uninviting and cold. Unlike most other materials, light has the ability to change and reshape space rather quickly. Lullaby is the perfect union of design and lighting, between innovation and technology in all its splendour.
How would you characterize your winning project, Lullaby? What is the main idea behind it, and why do you think it deserved the recognition of this award?
Lullaby is a ceiling hood that overtakes the concept of the hood and becomes an architectural element blended into the domestic environment. It is characterised aesthetically by a thick frame in wood with an integrated light panel that provides functional lighting, allowing adjustment of colour temperature and intensity, according to the mood or the activity. The frame comes in aged oak, offering warmth to any interior, and soft-touch white lacquered wood, as smooth to the touch as it is to the eye. It is a product that offers a high possibility of customization, meeting the needs of the owner and the space in which it is installed. The main inspiration behind the product is natural light and the natural element inside homes.
What does this award mean to you, and why do you think these initiatives are important?
Winning a design award represents the moment when every doubt about the product you designed magically disappears. It is a confirmation of having done a good job and a celebration of all the effort involved. Being positively judged by an international jury of highly skilled professionals in the design industry is the ultimate confirmation of success and drives you to do even better in the next project.
What are you working on now? What is in the pipeline for you and/or Elica, the company you work at?
We are currently developing concepts and investigating the feasibility of a whole new family of products that is going to be presented at Eurocucina next year. We did a huge amount of work with the 2017 products and now I am pouring myself into bettering them, bringing innovation, technology and design to the new products. Stay tuned to see what Elica is capable of.
What is your ultimate goal? If you had to dream big, what would you wish for yourself and your career?
I would like to be able to make a livelihood just out of my dreams. Being a dreamer has always been a significant part of me, but if I must be more rational, my ultimate goal is to keep the motivation, the drive I feel to deliver good products as high as possible. Also, I really would like to always find the inspiration and the excitement to keep up with my career and the challenges I have to confront.