The studio entrance is at the top of an ornate marble staircase, and opens up to a bright office with high ceilings that, according to Mario, "let you fill the room with ideas from the top of your head."
He is an animated man with round glasses and frequent hand gestures. His passion and energy for his work is apparent as he tells us, "we are not eternal, but most of the objects we design are," and, "some of the best designs use humor" (another theme for the week).
He shared several of his designs with us, explaining how they went from concept (which he comes up with and draws by hand) to production (which is done with the aid of a computer and his Swiss assistant, Didier) and package design (which he also has a hand in). By way of example, he explained how as a boy in Sicily he was fond of playing cards. When the Scirocco winds blew off the coast of North Africa, they not only deposited Sahara dust on everything, they also caused his cards to flutter through the air. This image led to the "La Stanza Dello Scirocco" collection of stainless steel, geometrically irregular items like the below fruit basket: First he sketches his ideas.
Then they design a prototype with the aid of a computer.
The design gets manufactured. Not only is it functional, but it's a thing of beauty, where even the shadows it projects become part of the design.
Lastly, packaging is designed with the same level of attention as the product itself.
This was another great example of how everyday items can be beautifully designed. And how visually interesting work spaces can provide a lot of creative energy.