From furniture to fashion, Milan-based designer Ilaria Marelli has created dozens of products which are simple, but with a contemporary twist.
Every project is a story to tell. Ilaria Marelli, architect and designer crafts stories. Out of project briefs and guidelines, she conjures up spaces and products where “dreams and imagination can run free.”
The Milan-based Marelli founded her design studio in 2004 and has since not only created interiors and products, but has also developed fashion and furniture projects and is heavily invested in the first Italian project of “co-housing”. With names like Cappellini, Zanotta, Coro, Bonaldo, E&Y and Tivoli Audio as clients, the studio is establishing a niche for itself as a rapidly growing design firm.
As a designer, Marelli’s forte so far has been in the creation of edgy, contemporary designs for furniture and lighting. Her range of tables, for example, takes standard geometric shapes and gives them a twist so that they reflect modern design sensibilities and are beautiful while being useful at the same time. The Cappellini Cannot low table (1999), with its sturdy stainless steel base and detachable tabletop is the perfect solution for small spaces – use it as a side or coffee table. The Segreto bedside table for Zanotta (2005), designed in collaboration with Diana Eugeni, is made of a transparent “Segreto methacrylate”. The see-through table has a ‘secret’ drawer for small accessories “to hide our dreams” and is available in black or white.
For Fiam, Marelli (2008) designed a range of tables including the Accordo, a collection of glass-topped tables in different colours and shapes. The legs are detachable 12mm-curved glass, again available in several versions. The Accordo range allowed the “possibility to match manifold shapes, finishes and colours of legs and top.” The Fiam Naxos (2008) takes the concept a step further with “irregular shapes, trapezoid legs and asymmetrical placings.”
In 2009, Marelli created an outdoor furniture collection for Coro called ‘Branch’. Inspired by trunks and branches of trees designed to minimise the visual impact of “human intrusion into nature”, this collection features easily removable fabric seats “seat dresses”. The sunshades, especially, would work beautifully in a backyard or even in a little urban balcony. In contrast, the Bonaldo Nadir armchair (2009) is a sensuous thing to sit on. With a standard or high back rest, this elegant upholstered chair resembles a prism and works equally well in any part of the home.
Marelli has also designed several luxurious beds. The Aloha bed for Orizzonti has a soft headboard with a removable base. Contrasting seams add a touch of hotel luxury and highlight the quality of the product. The Pebble bed for Dorelan consists of a completely upholstered bed and a pouf inspired by the shape of smooth river pebbles. This beautifully shaped bed makes you want to sink into its contours and let the weariness of the day drain away. The enveloping shape of the bed makes one think of a nest. The pouf can be used as a night-table or a seat by itself. The Coat bed for Axil is a fashion statement in itself with its upholstered headboard.
Apart from furniture, Marelli also has a range of lighting to her credit. Her designs for lighting company Nemo (2003) resulted in the Ara, a floor lamp with adjustable diffuser, which also won the “Light of the Future 2004” award promoted by Frankfurt Messe. The Ara MK3 Light has a foot dimmer which regulates the quantity of light. There is also a Wall light version.
The practical Chain lamp (for Nemo, again) is an adjustable task lamp with aluminium and Nylon66 with an “innovative LED lighting system”. The lamp folds flat, accordion style, when not required. The Diapason light for Fabas reminds one of a park bench with its slats, while the Diva collection of wall and floor lights for Variazioni makes a subtle yet dramatic statement.
The Marelli repertoire also consists of other products such as bathroom accessories (the Glass Epoque Cersaie Bathtub and Shower) and the Ruben Casamania Coat hanger which has a playful reindeer shape.
Ilaria Marelli also develops and designs showrooms and private interiors, including some dramatic interiors such as the FMR Art Gallery and Bookshop in Rome.
From fashion to furniture, this creative designer has worked her magic on dozens of items and spaces. Her designs show that dreams and imagination can indeed run free.
Text By Chryselle D’Silva Dias
Photographs Courtesy The Designer