5 questions with Eleonore Cavalli, Art Director, Visionnaire

JUL 13, 2020 | By Anamika Butalia
(L-R) Eleonore Cavalli, Art Director, Visionnaire; Pavone Arm Chair by Visionnaire
Amos Dining Room by Visionnaire
Bastian Bedroom By Visionnaire
Douglas Living Room by Visionnaire
Kerwan Dining Room By Visionnaire
Montparnasse Living Room by Visionnaire
Osborne Wall Unit By Visionnaire

Since Visionnaire’s inception in 2004, its Art Director, Eleonore Cavalli has emphasised the brand’s inclination towards art and art forms, excellence in craftsmanship and the superior production that Italian ateliers are known for. In this exclusive conversation with ELLE DECOR India, the multifaceted honcho articulates the story behind Beauty 2020 collection, the Italian label’s newest release…

Tell us about Beauty…
It is dedicated to the wellbeing of the mind and body in the housing space. It is most relevant now although we began conceptualising this series back in May 2019. It includes more than 80 novelties that are developed in collaboration with Marco Piva, Mauro Lipparini, Draga & Aurel, Alessandro La Spada, Gupica and Steve Leung.

The search for wellbeing is expressed in many aspects—both in the design of living spaces and of products. We look at various atmospheric aspects such as natural and artificial lighting, presence of greenery, air quality and, above all, the attention to sustainability, traceability of woods and search for high-performance fabrics.

What are the key features of this collection?
I would say the art design lexicon, experimentation with materials, and technological and sustainable innovations. These factors as well as ensuring artisanal expertise of our craftsmen who test, perfect and define new material solutions, make each product unique, inimitable yet reproducible.

Which materials did you most enjoy working with?
One of them is Iris, a new textile made using polyester threads by recycling plastic bottles found in our oceans. This indoor and outdoor material represents a novel technological and sustainable milestone. It has a circular lifecycle, being 100 percent recycled as well as recyclable. Entirely produced in Italy, Iris guarantees a significant reduction of CO2 emissions and energy savings of over 60 percent in comparison with normal production processes.

The other is the range of new Assam fabrics—a combination of synthetic and natural fibres. Along with the possibility of lowering body heat and decreasing sweating and resting heart rate, it also helps absorb humidity in the environment. This means minimising the need for artificial air conditioning! The material is processed without any toxic chemicals.

And finally, there’s another special fabric for the Petra armchair by Alessandro La Spada, which is a semicircular padded shell, upholstered in Bansky velvet.

Do you have any favourites from the Beauty collection?
The new capsule collection by Draga & Aurel is the one that inspires me the most. The mood board for the dining table is titled ‘I don’t want the moon’ after the famous song by Fiordaliso. The designers reference the greatest dream of humanity that has been realised i.e. landing on the Moon. That’s the reason why the name ‘Amos’ was chosen. It is a symbol of greatness and strength but it is also the name of one of the satellites launched into space. It has two metal armrests shaped by molding in sand for a lunar effect and a concrete base that’s poured into a reinforced form and subjected to an exclusive erosion technique.

The others that come to mind are: The Lego console and low table for their contrasting combination of two materials in different finishes—the glowing gold of the metal and the matte black of the concrete. Then, there’s the Sputnik architectural light sculptures made of multiple rhomboidal parts that produce an origami metal composition and cast theatrical shadows.

Two other products that I’d like to mention are the Arkady dining table by Alessandro La Spada and the Osborne wall unit by Mauro Lipparini. The former features a sculptural slab of Crema Marfil stone that’s crafted by hand and stands on metallic legs with a hammered effect. Meanwhile, the latter is loved for its curved panels, grooves and coplanar surfaces that are paced by linear shelves, generating a graphic game of shadows and highlights.

Tell us what Visionnaire’s being busy with for last few months… 
During the lockdown, we employed smart working practices by closing the Milan and Bologna offices, so that our design and marketing teams could work seamlessly. We resumed production as soon as we could, and completed over 80 products, arranged photoshoots and readied catalogues by mid-June. In fact, Visionnaire revealed Beauty collection 2020 with a live event, spread across three days, becoming one of the first of its kind to define a real television format that combines content with entertainment and music, redefining the brand’s horizons of continuous evolution. Plus, we’ve also opened our flagship store in Milan since the lockdown lifted!