While some designers prefer to work solo, Marco Dessi believes that the best designs come from collaboration. “My inspirations are very diverse”, he says Home business. “Each project has its own origin and evolution, whether through technical skills, conversations with experienced makers or the legacy of a company.”
Max Manavi Huber
Growing up in South Tyrol, a province in northern Italy, Dessi dreamed of becoming a dentist. However, after completing an apprenticeship at a dental technology company in college, he decided to take a few design classes as a creative outlet. “I immediately found the drawing very liberating,” he explains. “So I studied design in Vienna (at Die Angewandte) to find a way to make a career out of it.”
In 2008, he launched Studio Dessí in Vienna with just two products: Prater, a simple stackable wooden chair designed for German furniture company Richard Lampert, and an elegant glassware set for Lobmeyr called TS 281. design is an interactive process, weaving various inspirations and production methods into the process,” he says. “I like to reinterpret classic typologies and give them a contemporary update.”
Although he was working alone at the time, Dessi found that collaborating with different brands on bespoke pieces allowed him to infuse his industrial sensibility into old-school designs in an accessible, yet innovative way. “I like to consider customers as the best possible partner for the execution of the idea,” he explains. “Commissioned design work always begins with an immediate study of the client, their respective production methods, and the potential inherent in those methods.”
Courtesy of Lodes
Dessi says his designs are best understood as practical and interactive, and more importantly, not limited to any particular style, material or production process. “The way an object is produced has a direct influence on its aesthetic appearance and the story it tells,” he explains.
Although his designs are not tied to any specific material, there are certain attributes he gravitates towards. “I like materials with an authentic natural look, and I like to associate them with each other to create contrasts, even subtle ones”, he specifies. “Monolithic and heavy designs don’t set me apart, so the quality of an object is mainly determined by the choice of the right material and the production process – my goal is to find the best material to execute my idea.”
Courtesy of Lodes
His recent design for Italian lighting brand Lodes is a compelling example. Named after a nautical rope, Cima is a pendant lamp that attaches to the ceiling and runs to the floor thanks to a finely woven (and colored) cord. Although the light is simple in appearance, the lamp body can be rotated to direct light in specific directions to maximize space and functionality. “Cima for Lodes is a very personal project, because it was born from a self-initiated project in my studio”, he explains. “The lamp is very particular in its typology, but when its scope is properly communicated, the user is inspired by the possibilities. I think we have created a very modern and user-friendly product.
Currently, Dessi is working hard on an upcoming collaboration with German brand Tecta. “It will consist of a lounge chair and an ottoman inspired by the company’s Bauhaus heritage,” he explains. “It will be a very light and modern design.”
Going forward, he plans to continue partnering with big-name manufacturers on separate projects, while creating custom commissions for individual clients around the world. “Even my self-initiated projects serve as a way to experiment with materials and processes that can then be applied to commercial projects,” he says.