Author Archives: Valentina Cavicchiolo

Interview with Harry Owen, designer of the Joynt chair

Born on the Isle of Wight, Harry Owen is the designer of the Joynt chair, which won an Honourable Mention at Compasso d’Oro this year. It is an innovative, surprising chair that will treat you to an unexpected experience.

sedia joynt

Harry, your chair just won a honorable mention for Compasso d’Oro this year…how do you feel about it?

It’s a great privilege for me to see Joynt recognized alongside some of the industries leading projects. My thanks go to Lago Studio for the opportunity they provide for young designers, and also to my tutors at Bucks New University for their support whilst developing the project.

Harry, tell us something more about the concept of the Joynt chair. How did you come up with the idea of a joynt?

Initially the idea developed whilst exploring a traditional chair making process called steam bending, where strips of wood are heated using a steam box. The applied heat and moisture allows the timber to become flexible and bend to a specific shape. However that process is both costly and time consuming, and I wanted to explore other opportunities to bend a timber frame and provide comfort. The key feature of the Joynt chair is the flexible rubber in the backrest, which is a commonly used component from the automotive industry.

Harry Owen sedia Joynt

Which needs does the Joynt chair solve?

Naturally people are always moving, and the flexible back rest provides movement and support in a similar way to a complex office chair. Ideally it can be used in locations ranging from public spaces and offices, to schools and waiting rooms. I still have a couple of the early prototypes around my desk at home.

How important is the ergonomics when designing a chair?

Ergonomics and the understanding of interaction among the user is essential when designing anything. A number of prototypes early in the development allowed us to determine comfort before deciding details of how we wanted it to look. The coloured backrest is intended to indicate to the user that something is going to happen, but many people still seem surprised when they first sit down.

Do you think the ergonomics is an essentials or a plus today?

I think many factors including ergonomics are essential and should influence the development of a product. Costs, materials, proportions and forms are perhaps equally important. I think what we tried to do with the Joynt chair however was to make something innovative, playful, and of course comfortable.

Your chair in three words?

Innovative. Fun. Flexible.

LAGO INSIDE @ Nike We Own The Night

On Friday, 30 May, 7,500 women and girls will invade the streets of Milan for an after-dark 10k run organised by Nike. “We Own The Night” is a women’s race created by Nike to promote safety in the city for female runners all over the world.

The Milan race will take up the baton passed on by London, the first city in this series of runs, which will then continue in Berlin, Amsterdam and Paris. Each “We Own the Night” event reflects the energy, style and culture of its host city, so Milan will be mixing sports, music and design.

lounge lago

We couldn’t not participate in the design capital with our project LAGO INSIDE, which aims to improve spaces and places with Lago design. For this event, we are setting up the Lounge Nike and the Village with colourful, unexpected seating, like the Lastika and Huggy armchairs and Air sofas.

Lastika Nike Lounge

In the weeks leading up to the race, we hosted a few of our friends from Nike for training and yoga sessions led by Master Trainer Sayonara Motta in Appartamento LAGO Brera.

allenamenti nike appartamento lago brera

The LAGO runners are ready too! We just received the complete kit for the race, which will start at Piazza Gae Aulenti then pass through Arena Civica, Parco Sempione, Piazza del Duomo and the Indro Montanelli public gardens to arrive back at Piazza Gae Aulenti.

We Own The Night

The race will start at 9.30 p.m. We will be following the race up close, posting photos and videos of the event on our social network pages: Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Stay tuned!


Interview with Luca de Bona, designer of the Dangla chair

Today we meet Luca de Bona, designer of the Dangla chair. Luca took part in the 2010 edition of  LAGO STUDIO and he designed a chair that likes its clothes to fit like a glove, perfect for the living room and the kitchen. Enjoy!

Living Lago con sedia Dangla

What was the guiding concept for the design of Dangla?

I wanted a feminine chair: an elegant body to be dressed and undressed in a single gesture, as well as sturdy and cradling. But I also wanted a chair that could adapt to various contexts and times, not one that follows trends. I thought that designing a chair that meets all of my personal and aesthetic needs (including swinging) would make Dangla something that everyone could find one or more affinities with.

Sedia Dangla_4

Why did you decide to design specifically a chair?

In the history of furnishing, there have always been chairs. And, in a certain way, the chair has reflected the styles and uses of every age in its forms. More than any other piece of furniture, it has the task of being both aesthetically pleasing and comfortable. Designing this type of chair is a kind of challenge: I wanted to show how it is still possible to invent a chair that has never existed before and offer a timeless solution, a chair that is a little bit magical, one that changes its appearance with a single gesture and its shape with the weight of the body.

Sedia Dangla_3

The Dangla chair can be customised with three different fabrics. How important is it today to give the consumer the opportunity to create a personal design?

Today, people’s ways of living, travelling and working follow rhythms and habits that are increasingly heterogeneous and dynamic. This makes their taste more broad, aware and intermittent. They know design, but they want it to be flexibly adaptable to their own needs and environment. In this period of transformations, even the hierarchies of living and work space are undergoing unimaginable revolutions. Dangla perfectly satisfies its practical and ergonomic role, but thanks to its sinuous silhouette, it can also be either elegantly or casually ‘dressed’, becoming a chair for the kitchen, the living room or the office.


Which Dangla would you choose?

I live in a small house, with spaces distributed around a living area that functions are a place for eating, working, relaxing and getting together with friends. Around the big table, which acts as a hub for all of the main activities in my home, I would like six Dangla chairs, each dressed in a different way: fabric, leather, smooth, textured, with a zip and exposed stitching, so that each person can instinctively choose where to sit.

dangla chair

What do you think the fabric for the new millennium will be?

I imagine it will be a synthetic fabric, produced by a loom that combines tradition and cutting-edge technology: an ecological use of natural fibres interwoven with innovative, sustainable materials that can warm, illuminate and change colour but that is also easy for anyone to work with, embroider and customise according to their personal style and taste. We are projected towards the future, and this lets us achieve exceptional goals, but we are also human beings with ancestral sensory requirements to satisfy, as well as a congenital need to leave a trace through marks and decoration.

For more info about LAGO STUDIO and to apply for next workshop: The deadline to apply for the second workshop is 25th May.

Interview with Jennifer Rieker, designer of 3Dots Wallpaper

We met Jennifer Rieker at the first 2013 Lagostudio workshop. And this year she was the winner of the Lagostudio ‘Young Contest’. We were working on children’s rooms and asked the Lagostudio creatives to design some wallpaper for kids. Jennifer’s design, 3Dots Wallpaper, came in first. It is simple and amazing, just as design for children should be.

Jennifer Rieker

Hi Jennifer. How did you come up with the idea of 3Dots Wallpaper? Tell us more about the concept.

First I tried to remember the wallpaper that I had in my room when I was a child. It was completely white. But it had a kind of relief structure made of small dots. So to me as a child it was not only a white wall, I was discovering silhouettes like animals, people or objects in the random structure. Secondly I was inspired by an article I read about the fact that we tend to see faces in everything. The basic elements we need to recognize a face are two dots aligned horizontally over a nose or a mouth. This lead to the idea of the 3Dots wallpaper.

It’s a dotted pattern, in which you can find different animals by spotting the 3 black dots, which make the faces. So to adults it may be just a random pattern, but to children it can be a forest full of animals.

3Dots Wallpaper

Which aspects should be taken into account when designing for children?

Just ask them or ask yourself and remember what you liked or disliked when you where a child. Don’t take it too serious, design should make you smile.

Are there some needs that the designers or the companies do not have yet understood?

Design for children should be also adorable for adults. The best example would be a design that you want to have in your office or living room as well as in the kids room.

An essential fot the kids’ room?

A hide-away. A place in the room, that feels like your own tree house or cave. A place where you can hide, read or play, alone or with a friend.

How was your room when you were a child?

It was only 9m2, that’s why I had a loft bed. Underneath it was a space to hide or play with friends. The wallpaper was white, with a dotted relief and I had a wooden seagull hanging from the ceiling.

Camerette Lago

Giovanni Casellato, from architecture to craftmanship

Today we meet Giovanni Casellato, LAGO maker and author of Filodolce Collection (LAGO Objects), a series of objects made by him, shaping an iron wire that forms its core.

Giovanni Casellato

“The iron is a dirt and heavy material, difficult to work. This is what attracts me the most and it has become my challenge”.

Coming from a family that has been smiths for two generations, after graduating in Architecture Giovanni leaves the career go and became a craftman. In the video below he tells us his life choice and his passion for iron. Enjoy!

From 2nd to 5th October you can have a look to the collection and to other products by LAGO at MADE Expo, Hall 7, Booth C1 D10 “This is my Listone Giordano & partners”.

MADE Expo 2013

CERSAIE 2013, Depth Basin Special Edition

A fresh reassessment of the Depth basin, integrated with a 4-metre Air Wildwood table. This is the design conceived exclusively for the Listone Giordano booth at CERSAIE. Created by Daniele Lago, it offers a teaser of Lago’s first Bathroom catalogue, which will be available in October.

Tavolo Air Wildwood con lavabo Depth integrato

With this collaboration, LAGO is further reinforcing its synergy with Listone Giordano, the complement of which can be found at the MADE EXPO, in a booth jointly designed by Listone Giordano and Daniele Lago.

A wide range of new ideas and solutions for the bathroom, which is the perfect space for developing the “LAGO Interior” project. In the catalogue, you will find the new basins presented at the 2013 Salone and LAGO mirrors and lighting. Refined, special settings where surfaces, materials, objects and emotions combine in perfect balance and in accordance with each individual’s sensibility. A way of understanding design that puts objects and interiors in tune and lets you design a space for wellness according to your own needs.




Interview with Brit Leissler, designer of Huggy armchair

brit_huggy_first_protoBrit Leissler is an old friend of Lago. In December 2006, she attended Lagostudio for the first time, while she was still a student at the Royal College of Art in London. She came back in summer 2007 (after graduating from the Royal College of Art in London with a Master Degree in Product Design) and gave birth to the Huggy armchair. Formerly she studied design at the International School of Design in Cologne, as well as the California College of the Arts in San Francisco. For several years she also worked as a designer for various companies in Germany and Switzerland.

But who is Brit Leissler? German, she has been living in London since 2005. In her website, she says about herself: “Brit travels a lot, loves all forms of eccentricity, joins up the dots and enjoys to get into interesting conversations with all kinds of weird and wonderful people. She doesn’t eat animals, is hot for cheese, loves the Kensington Squirrels, robotic dance moves and life enhancing ideas”.

Valentina: Hi Brit. Happy to see you again. Let’s start with Huggy, the armchair you designed for Lago. Tell me, how did you come up with this idea?

Brit Leissler: I was in Lagostudio. It was in 2007. I was just playing around with materials, trying to create shapes. Basically I had this piece of foam (representing a mattress) and tried to figure out how I could bring it into a shape. I noticed that when I rolled it together, then fixed and held the bottom side, the top would open, in a way like a flower blossom…and that this shape would work very well as a seat. When Daniele Lago saw it in my presentation, even at that early stage, he realised the potential of the idea and asked me to develop it further. So I went out to buy a huge piece of foam. It was a fun little adventure, transporting that mattress on top of the roof of the Lagostudio car…an old rusty Fiat, which always kept breaking down…I remember it as a very fun afternoon!

First drawings of Huggy armchair - September 2007

First hand drawings of Huggy armchair – September 2007

V: I can imagine! Did you find difficult to turn the concept into production?

B: Well… I had to go through sooooo many different prototypes, because it happened that whenever I changed one parameter, I had to change the other ones as well. At such an early stage of development it is all a bit “trial & error”…you kind of guess, what might work. I had to try so many different densities of materials, various diameters for the cylinder, thicknesses of the mattress…because all these things are connected in the Huggy design. The mattress has to work as a bed in terms of its length and density and thickness. But rolled up it also has to work as a comfortable seat. And in the end I wanted the product to look very simple…like a mattress stuffed in a ring. Anyway, I made a simple structure out of wood in which I squeezed that mattress – and it worked! It was still far from a finished product but it worked. One could sit in it and it showed to all of us that this could be turned into a real, working product. That was, in a way, the starting point…That’s what most people don’t realise about design – the main part of it is invisible. You don’t see it in the end product.

First sketch model of Huggy armchair

First sketch model of Huggy armchair – September 2007

V: Yeah, I think that the “work in progress” is quite interesting though…and sometimes obstacles can bring us to new solutions which are better than those we thought at the beginning…

B: Yes, you are absolutely right! It is important to keep a clear vision along the way. You have to be open-minded and accept, that what you have in mind might not exactly work out, so you have to be open for new solutions. But sometimes people become too obsessed with an idea and try to push it through by any means, regardless of glaringly obvious reality that clearly show it doesn’t and won’t work. Sometimes this creates overcomplicated designs; certainly over styled ones…I am not in any sense a stylist (hence my name: Shoot the Stylist!). I believe in beauty, but I find beauty in simplicity, not in over-decoration.

second prototype Huggy armchair

Second prototype of Huggy armchair – December 2007

V: Actually Huggy is very simple, even in the possibility to transform it into a bed. This double function solves so many problems, when you have guests at home and you do not know where to place them! It’s like design helping everyday life, not complicating it.

B: Yes, I am very proud of the product. Very simple…I am a big fan of simplicity and a “what you see is what you get” approach. Some people might find the outcome of that approach a “non-design” approach. Because it doesn’t really involve styling. It is more about letting a concept realise itself…I don’t like complicated mechanisms…I believe design is about finding the essence of an idea and then this idea will realise itself… This is also very much a Lago approach. So I feel that is a wonderful ground for a working relationship between company and a designer!

How to use Huggy

The Huggy armchair becomes a comfortable emergency bed

V: This kind of non-design approach…I think it suits well with our society, so liquid…always changing, where nothing is on the same way…we can say that your Huggy is the daughter of this hyper changing world! It also won the Good Design Award 2009…

B: Yeah, the Good Design Award was a nice official recognition of my design! I feel design always has to have an emotional component. And somehow Huggy touches people emotionally. Also because it creates such an intimate, cosy seating situation.

V: Brit, I’m curious…tell me why you called your studio “Shoot the Stylist”.

B: You know, a lot of people mistake design as the styling of surfaces. But it goes way beyond that! Ideally it should involve a concept, or a whole philosophy. My philosophy is, if you like, “emotional environmentalism”… if that makes sense.

V: What do you mean with it?

B: I believe design should create ways, more than just more and more stuff! In fact, design can also create intangible things, material-less…it can just provide a structure, or a service or even a situation. That’s what I want to create…design for living, providing a benefit. And in all of this way of thinking there are many ethics involved. You were talking about the times we live in…I think the times we live in are certainly not very ethically sound…It seems that the rule is: “As long as you get away with it, everything is allowed”. So these days the most tasteless, greedy, vulgar and artless people seem to make and have the most money… nevertheless this is the driving principle of now… and has been for some time. So, to oppose this, I try to be about “ethical design”.

Punch and Cuddle by Brit Leissler - Example of emotional furniture

Punch and Cuddle by Brit Leissler – Example of emotional furniture

V: I’m interviewing other young designers…ethic seems to be a recurrent word…I think this crisis is pushing enterprises, designers, everyone to re-think their attitude towards the environment!

B: You know, when you design you should consider not only the production costs… of course they are important, otherwise you will not be able to produce something and make it feasible, however you also have to consider the environmental and even the socio-cultural costs of your product. If you just create ugly stuff, you contribute to make the world ugly. And I am not only talking about how things look… I am talking about what they represent as a value system. I am not for gimmicks! But I am not against light-heartedness in design! It can be fun, even silly… the main thing for me is that it touches people in one way or another… and provides a certain benefit. And I feel there are many, many needs that people have out there that are not being addressed by designers. With Lago I feel there is great environment to create products on a big scale, reaching many people,and therefore create a “silent impact” in people’s everyday lives.

V: A silent impact in our lives…

B: Yes. That’s what I feel that design can do ideally – create a change in the way we live. I don’t mean I want to be a “design dictator”… I mean more that, as a designer, you have to be able to read sensitively the way people live, the everyday interactions they have, etc. I do think as a designer you can also create, in a way, the context for your product… you can even create your own world for it… if it is a world that people can identify with, you will always find a “market” for it. I don’t believe in marketing… I believe in really touching people’s emotions, not artificially trying to convince them to buy something that they don’t really need. So, if people feel they identify with your “world” and the things you design for it, they will participate in it… hopefully this makes sense? Quite abstract, I know… but you were asking about my philosophy… I think it is very important to have a certain feeling of responsibility, as a designer. Because you have a great responsibility, when you create stuff for other people.