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  • Doing it Italian Style
  • April 12, 2019
  • Willie Duggan

Italy – the land of la dolce vita, gastronomic delights, stunning countryside, stylish cities, centuries old architecture and sunny days on holiday. In addition Italy is also a big player on the design scene. From the glory days of the 1950’s right through the 60’s, 70’s and to today. Italy has always had an original and super stylish contribution to make to the international design conversation. In my mind Italian designers have two approaches; those approaching design with a nod to the past and reverence to historical detail and those who eschew the past and look to the future with clean lines and innovative ideas. When in Italy the over the top approaches to design are everywhere – architecture, big jewellery, flashy interiors with overdone cornicing and gilt. There is then the other side, a considered approach, paring down of elements to a stylish but simple object, less visible but very important.

In the lighting world there are plenty of big players, super brands who dominate the interiors shows and produce dazzlingly good collections with lots of desirable product. Established in Venice in 1950, Studio Italia has flourished to become a key player in the Italian design scene. We have represented Studio Italia in Ireland exclusively for the past ten years- partnering their products with some of the best hospitality and interiors projects in the country. Often, as is the case with brands that have been around for a long time, we forget how good they are at making beautiful objects.

The Range
Their range is concise and easy to understand, there is no duplication of product, the choices are clear and easy to use. This is a boon when working with designers and interior architects who want a smaller range with an excellent variety.

Usability The collections produced by Studio Italia are practical – elements work with each other, they are easy to assemble, position and the length of a pendant drop are all negotiable. This makes for versatility which is a super asset to have with any project.

In the age of fast fashion its refreshing to see a brand that is so solid in terms of its ability to age well. Studio Italia fittings look good when used but also, because of the lack of pretence or unnecessary detail they age perfectly. Finishes are excellent, there’s no tarnish, cords stay unfrayed, light output remains undiminished – in short the fittings last well and deliver trouble-free use that makes commissioning clients and the designer happy.

Focus on Random

Random is an iconic Studio Italia fitting first developed in 2017 by designer Chia-Ying. Speaking at the presentation of the collection at the 2017 Salone del Mobile in Milan she outlined her inspiration as being led by the vision of ‘a group of bubbles dancing freely in the wind’. Aside from the poetic inspiration there is also a logical reason for her design choices: ‘to make an interesting modular system there has to be a simple way for people to arrange the light and get good results quickly. So I was looking for a basic unit which is interesting by itself and gives large variations when grouped together. After some experiments I found this formation fits the description’

Random therefore is comprised of units of three spheres, each suspended from a central thin steel wire making them appear to float. The fittings originate from a central plate, the plate has some customisation available in that there can be 1- 3 sets of spheres attached to the central plate making the effort of installing multiple fittings much easier.

The fittings can also be hung at different heights giving a staggered effect if so desired, or a vaulted effect or a curved linear effect and so on. There is lots of choice with this fitting.

There are a number of colour finishes available to complement any interior scheme:

Crystal – the clear glass effect will work well when placed in a room where there is a dark background against which it can be seen well; giving a really pleasing bubble like effect.

The rose gold finish is almost copper in tone, which fits well with dark wood and particularly works well with navy blue or high detail schemes. Of all the finishes it is probably the warmest and works incredibly well across interior schemes. I have seen it used in a long portrait window where it’s reflection and light effect made it stand out as a sculptural statement.

The warm gold is beautifully bronzy, warm and inviting. It is excellent if paired with grey, dark wood and is exceptionally good with bright, primary colours that zing – mandarin orange, canary yellow, blue – it creates a feeling of modernity if it’s used with these colours, in a bold and decisive way.

The final colourway is chrome. This is the option for pairing with cooler colours, sky blues, bright whites and silvers. Its highly reflective and adds a bright punctuation mark in any scheme. This also works well with darker colours or bold patterns if you want to create high drama.

In short Studio Italia Random is a superb choice for a residential or commercial space, it offers good looks, versatility, durability and could just be the way to bring a little Italian style into your life.

To view the Studio Italia range online, click here.

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About Willie Duggan

Willie grew up in the family business, stacking boxes, wiring fittings and making deliveries. He went on to study engineering and then lighting design. After working as a lighting designer in London he returned to lead our design team. You can also find Willie chasing a ball round the rugby pitch, at a gig or threading the boards on stage.

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