Design Internship in Italy

By: Petia Stoykova, BA, 2014-2018

Throughout my studies as an Interior Design Major, I have learned the practical and theoretical side of the design process of varying spaces ranging from urban, commercial, residential, exhibit, and many more. However, the most intriguing experience I have had has been within the professional workplace. After learning about the history of Italian design, with a focus on post-modern influence, my professor for the Principles of Product Design took us to the office/showroom of the Florentine company, Poltronova.

design 1

Centro Studi Poltronova is a company that embraces and emphasizes the ideas of radical designers and continually updating and commemorating iconic design during the post-modern age. The initial creative influencer was Ettore Sottsass, who designed the Ultrafragola mirror as well as a collection of wardrobes for the company, among many other designs that revolutionized his creative career. His dedication to the company inspired Florentine design groups such as Superstudio and Archizoom to design with Poltronova creating iconic statement pieces, deconstructing the traditional form of what is considered to be everyday interior elements. The Superonda by Archizoom is one of my favorite pieces developed by Poltronova. Superonda, translated to “super wave” is what inspired the shape of the object. Cut from a single piece of foam, the multifunctional sofa adds a new level of interaction between the user and the object, giving it a level of play and innocence.

design 2

During my time as an intern, I would meet with the director, Roberta Meloni, on a regular basis. The internship took place in Spring 2016, just in season for the Salone del Mobile, one of the world’s biggest design fairs located in Milan. The hectic time period of preparing the products for the exhibition at the Salone del Mobile was met by the deadline to complete the new and updated book, archiving and commemorating the design elements of the studio. I was able to be involved with the process of preparation and time management necessary to effectively execute the simultaneous projects. Weekly, we would go to the factory where handpicked craftsmen would make each design come to life with a series of unique processes involving making an oversized baseball glove out of leather to complete the “Joe” chair to putting together pieces of the “Ultrafragola” mirror. Each design had its own regulations and needs with the process varying and the dedication fundamental in order to have a complete implementation of every detail by the craftsmen. I was able to meet with designers that the company represents and have a complete understanding of the changing design world.

This memorable interaction within the design world has given me an inside look as to how Italian design companies function. Throughout the next years upon completing my senior year I would take into account the precision and organization needed that is fundamental to any project, but also the definition of what it means to stand by one’s design identity and create meaningful design.

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