P74. LINGUISTIC AFFINITIES
photos Efrem Raimondi – text Cristina Morozzi
Qeeboo, the new company created by Stefano Giovannoni, launches its first collection, by an international group of designers sharing a narrative approach
For some time, Stefano Giovannoni had been thinking about a new kind of industrial strategy, given the changes in the context.
Accustomed to commercial success, he wanted to shift that experience into an initiative to make emotional, communicative objects capable of directly reaching the widest possible audience. So he thought about a completely new company, far from the usual stylistic standardization,with great figurative identity, to exist on the Internet, exploiting the enormous potential of that medium to rapidly reach international markets, simplifying distribution. He focused on product design, but firstof all on the design of the firm, constructing the entire chain from production to sales to communication, crafting each of the details.
In 2016 he has launched Qeeboo, a name that suggests the wonder of new originality. To create a company with traditional methods calls for big investments and staff. Giovannoni has built his company around alternative methods, simplifying processes and inverting the usual relationship between distribution and production. Instead of what usually happens, even today, the retail distribution will be complementary to web sales, delegated to an external structure that takes charge of the website and the warehouse. He points out that Qeeboo is a true industrial company that produces molded objects, mostly in plastic. It is a company invented in Italy, capable of spreading objects in the world that represent our way of living, happy objects that express Italian character at an affordable price. The structure is light and quick, achieving the democratic ideal that formed the underpinnings of industrial design. The communication, based on a simple immediate language, relies on word of mouth and social networks, taking advantage of the followers system and the media grapevine.
The designers (Andrea Branzi, Richard Hutten, Front, Marcel Wanders and Nika Zupanc) called in for the first collection were chosen on the basis of more emotional than rational affinities, of an expressive nature. “I chose the ones who are closest to my way of thinking,” Giovannoni says, “with a narrative approach to design, also inviting creative talents who have not yet operated in an industrial context. One example is Nika Zupanc, a designer-artist for whom this is the first experience of serial production.”
The team is formed of personalities of different ages, origins, backgrounds and approaches, with a balance of genders. Each designer has been encouraged to free express their ideas, to construct a versatile whole held together not by style but by linguistic authenticity.
Among the products, those that best illustrate the figurative character of the collection are the Rabbit Chair, designed by Stefano Giovannoni, and Cherries, a suspension lamp composed of two large cherries, created by Nika Zupanc. The only constraint is functional quality: not just figures created to surprise, but products that offer an efficient service.
The Rabbit Chair is not a big toy, but a comfortable rabbit-shaped seat with long ears that function as the back. Besides the production and distribution method, the most important novelty here is the creative model, set up by Stefano Giovannoni by looking at the fashion system.
Instead of coordinates, the ‘mantra’ of contemporary furniture production, this company focuses on linguistic pluralism, the result of the individualities of the creative group, including a wide range of intellectual and visual shadings. Andrea Branzi, the prophet of the group, has written his thoughts on Qeeboo, entitled “Il dolce Stil Novo,” inspired by the Florentine movement of the same name from the 1300s, to underline the figurative-narrative matrix, different from that of design for big markets, but perhaps more incisive, conveying a new feminine and masculine sensibility.
captions: pag. 74 From left: Gabriele Chiave, creative director of Studio Marcel Wanders; Nika Zupanc, Stefano Giovannoni, Richard Hutten; Andrea Branzi; Sofia Lagerkvist and Anna Lindgren, the two members of the studio
Front. pag. 76 To the side: table and chair from the B.B. collection designed by Marcel Wanders. Above; the Ribbon chair by Nika Zupanc. Right: Rabbit
Chairs by Stefano Giovannoni. pag. 77 From left: the Pitagora lamp by Richard Hutten; the Pupa armchair and Korall vase by Andrea Branzi; the
Loop chair by Front.