Based in the northern Italian town of Ivrea, Design MID [Manifattura Italiana Design] was founded in 2012 to produce a diverse range of work in product, interior and graphic design. Rather than being driven by any particular inspiration or icon, it focuses on research and context, fascinated by an incredibly social yet personal method of expression. “Design MID was born as a container of experiences – specialities are not dominant, rather there is a freedom that allows thought for better and unexpected solutions,” says the firm.
Design MID is fronted by its three founders, Lapo Germasi, Francesco Massimello and Victor Pukhov, who all work from the Ivrea studio. Germasi is quick to attribute their creativity to the town, where leading design company Olivetti was also born. “It’s a place full of know-how and skills that offers daily stimulus and support,” he says. It’s perhaps this constant stimulus that ensures their work is instantly unique and recognisable – where else would you find a light stand balanced on three artichoke stalks, giant puzzle lamps or pendant lights mixed with balls of cotton?
A common theme in their work is user interaction and fun. “We try to make our projects lively and spontaneous, so that they develop an intimacy and something ‘alive’ for users to discover. Creative processes are always stimulating, but the ideal is presenting the beauty in the unexpected and hidden. The Babele puzzle lamp was one of our favourite projects to work on,” says Germasi.
When asked what they make of Italy as a design destination, there is a clear sense of optimism. “Italy and its design are going through a crisis of aesthetic identity at the moment – though they can be considered excellent, they are suffering the same problems as others. However, I believe that its aversion to rules and its in-built anti-conformism will ensure that Italy remains a dynamic and
varied environment.” As for the rest of the world, they profess a love of Tokyo and its creativity, Northern Europe for tradition and taste, Germany for school, France for designers and lastly London for the media, its rich cultural ferment and the fact that it hosts one of Europe’s most attractive design festivals.
However, their focus remains on their homeland as they concentrate on the run-up to the 2014 Milan Fuorisalone Design Week in April, as well as a project for an undisclosed Italian company. All the while they take each day as it comes. “The way we work comes from a dowry of different experiences, so it‘s difficult to say what will come up tomorrow.”
Lapo, what inspired you to start a career in design?
Rather than an inspiration, it was a need created by the fascination of design as a personal but also social method of expression, and its force of invention and impact on reality.
Did any designer, architect or artist influence you?
All art and design forms continually influence us but I believe such influences are guided more by ground-breaking approaches than certain personalities.
What does design mean to you?
Design is mankind’s natural approach; an ingrained trend to adapt to what surrounds us but to our own favour. Its role is to improve our behaviours and create new experiences by cultivating man’s desire to learn.
What different elements would you say each of you bring to the company?
I'd say we are all complementary and in someway indispensable for MID’s operation.
What iconic piece of design are you envious of or wish you had designed yourself?
The Bialetti coffee machine - a must for everybody.
What inspires you daily?
I find ideas just about everywhere: in people, art and memories.
Where do you live?
I live in a little township at the feat of the Alps, just a few kilometres from Turin, which means I can completely change my environment in a very short period: from the countryside to the mountains and to the town.
How do you relax?
A pause, good food, nice people and good music.
Design MID; designmid.it