Paola Navone is a renowned Italian architect, designer, and art director who has made significant contributions in various fields, including interior design, product design, and architecture. She was born in Turin, Italy, in 1950 and obtained an architecture degree from the Turin Polytechnic. Navone has gained worldwide recognition for her unconventional approach and innovative designs, working with several prominent clients on a variety of projects, ranging from furniture and accessory design for companies such as Gervasoni and Crate & Barrel to interior designing for restaurants and hotels worldwide. Navone has received several accolades for her work, including the prestigious Elle Decoration International Design Award, the Osaka International Design Award, the Good Design Award and the Red Dot Design Award among many others. Her style is a fusion of traditional and contemporary elements, and her designs often integrate bold colours, unexpected materials, and playful elements. Her work is acclaimed for being both aesthetically pleasing and functional, and it’s celebrated for its sense of humor and whimsy. Recently, India Design ID had the opportunity to interview Paola Navone during her visit to New Delhi as a speaker at the ID Symposium 2023.
What should be the purpose of good design and a well-designed space?
Feeling and instinct are central to our work. We love places that create a feeling of well-being, places you feel happy to be in. When we design objects for living spaces, we allow ourselves to be guided by the sensations that we love, such as the way we feel when we flop down on a large, soft sofa. Similarly, we believe that well-designed spaces require a certain softness rather than aggressive environments.
How important is it for the past to inform the current and the future when it comes to design? What lessons are important?
I had the opportunity to meet great masters, architects, and designers who represented the anti-academic side of architecture in Italy in the late 1970s. They imagined visionary projects, unsaleable and completely different from the principles of the time. I owe them a lot. Much of my free and unconventional way of thinking about design comes from their extraordinary energy. I learned the rest from my nomadic life, traveling and living in many places around the world.
What advice would you like to share with young architects and designers?
I would tell them to look in infinite directions with free and curious eyes. Technological evolution will make available to their creativity incredible means of expression. They are very lucky they will have creative chances we cannot even imagine today.
What is your best-designed space or a product and why?
At OTTO Studio, each of our projects is a special adventure because it arises from unrepeatable meetings and alchemical processes. It is difficult to choose a project that we love more than others. In product design, we always try to value the know-how of the company we are working with, always in our delicate, eclectic, and unconventional way of thinking about design. In the same way, we love to imagine contemporary, light, and cozy spaces where everyone can always feel at ease and pampered a bit like they are at home, wherever they are.
What is exciting for you currently in the space of interiors and product design?
We are working on the project of the new COMO Hotel & Resort in the south of France and even designing the interiors of a hotel in Greece with a special Mediterranean atmosphere. As for the product design, surprising new collections of objects and furniture are almost ready to be presented to the coming Milano Design Week.
Paola Navone was a speaker at the ID Symposium 2023, organised by India Design ID in New Delhi.