Interviews | April 26, 2018

A Chat with… Filippo Mambretti

Young and Italian but active all over Europe, he is the designer of the new sunglasses collection by .bijouets. We chatted with him about design, 3D printing and that time he met Bruno Munari and decided he would be a designer

words Carolina Saporiti

Hi Filippo, what are you working on at the moment, if you can tell us?

Right now I’m finalising two projects that, together with the new eyewear collection just completed for .bijouets, have completely taken me over. One is a collection of cupboards and sideboards and the other one is men’s chronographs.

Can you tell us how you came to be designing glasses for .bijouets?

The collaboration between my studio and .bijouets has continued with successful results since 2015. Together, we have put our names to the Ray jewellery collection and two rings inspired by Japanese culture, Fujin and Hoseki. This new and renewed collaboration came about from a suggestion and from a design and stylistic need that emerged during an exchange of creative visions with the artistic direction of the company. I gladly accepted the opportunity to embark on this new adventure… and now we have arrived: the .bieye sunglasses collection will be presented soon.

Is there much difference between designing objects for the home and objects for people?

There are definitely differences, but it is everyday life that affects the design diversification that designers come up against. You study, analyse, experiment, make mistakes, learn, criticise yourself and start all over again. Today more than ever the objects that define home furnishings are objects for people.

Is there a difference in designing objects to be created with 3D printing?

Every material and every technology is characterised by specific needs, limitations and potential. In my opinion, certain 3D printing technologies have a major flaw, which is that they make everyone believe they are designers. All it takes is just a couple of clicks, some time and the product is created. For me there are no real differences in the methodological and design approach, we just have to be aware of the difference between amateur and professional work.

A model of the new .bieye collection

3D printing is no longer ‘in the early stages’. How has it changed since it first appeared?

It was originally intended to make prosthetics and prototypes, whereas today it is used for the production of finished objects. Ideally, I think that in a few decades the concept of stock will be overcome or revised, because 3D printing will make overall capillary production possible, meaning items from a catalogue could be produced in delocalized print centres. For example, I could order my glasses from the .bijouets website and pick them up at the print centre closest to me.

What makes the .bieye collection special?

For the new eyewear collection designed for .bijouets, I carried out diversified stylistic research that led me to develop frames that can be considered unisex in many ways. They are defined by multiple stylistic influences that touch on all the epochs and all the functional aesthetic variations that have defined the evolution of frames from the beginning of the 20th century to today

Where does a designer get their ideas from?

I can give you my take on it… Ideas arise from a continuous intermingling of inter and multicultural or disciplinary stimuli. This is all definitely underpinned by curiosity, the desire to dare, culture, mental openness and self-criticism, which are all essential elements.

You have said that it was Bruno Munari who made you decide to follow the path of design as a young boy. What did he say to you to impress you so much?

I was fascinated by his simple and passionate way of being, thinking and communicating. So, armed with healthy adolescent madness, I approached him in a completely informal way and I asked him: “What’s your job?” He replied, “I’m a designer”.