Born at SaloneSatellite
10 September 2018
Alessandra Baldereschi (1975) has a particular gift for reinterpreting nature with the firm intention of disseminating it in all sorts of domestic interiors. She also tries her hand at centuries’ old techniques and cultural inspirations from every age, always coming up with a modern twist for contemporary ideas.
You have a particular propensity towards fairy tales and a predilection for the natural world. Situations, plants, flowers and animals are inspirational motifs, but they are also emulated and evocated in your objects and furnishings, to such an extent that they have become hallmarks of your style. Do you recognise yourself in this?
Yes, nature is a reassuring presence for me, familiar, something inborn and necessary. It’s like a “symbol” that gives character to the object but without becoming intrusive or aggressive; it has to contain inspiration but not to excess. For example, in the Painting screen for De Castelli, the landscape is merely hinted at, so everyone can interpret it using their own imagination.
Your design is also very narrative. It is almost a functional quality that you give to things. How do you put this aspect together, or rather, is it a starting point?
The starting point is usually research into the irrational and sensitive part: the origins of the object or typology, ancient stories, popular beliefs, childhood tales and memories and other things that relate to this sphere become material to be used in the creative process. Working with the emotional aspects or with memory, the story develops spontaneously.
This personal style of yours is much in demand by companies – you collaborate with many of them – but each time you manage to calibrate and calculate it so that the identity of the company shines through. At what point does personal research dovetail with client specifications?
Straightaway, right from the first meeting. I like sharing ideas immediately, I often start making sketches and we discuss the direction we’ll take to create the collections at length. We talk about materials, naturally, and production possibilities and limitations, but often we find ourselves fantasising about the story and on how to calibrate the decoration or the elements that create a story and the identity of the collection. I’ve never forgotten something Alessandro Mendini said on this subject: “Decoration is the story written on things.”
You took part in SaloneSatellite three times between 2001 and 2004. Would you recommend the experience to the upcoming generations?
SaloneSatellite was like a window onto the world of design for me; it gave me the opportunity to start connecting with companies, journalists and other professional figures in the design sector. In those days, it was one of the few places you could show your work at the start of your career. Now, 15 years on, I still think it’s an excellent showcase for the new generations.