Giuseppe Dondoni attended the Art High School in Bergamo and the Faculty of Architecture of the Polytechnic University of Milan. He designed the first disco bars in Italy, becoming one of the most famous designers on the Italian nightlife scene thanks to the discos, clubs and nightspots he designed.
In your project, Kanji Light, how much weight did the choice of porcelain stoneware carry in creating the overall mood?
Within a visionary project such as Kanji Light, which contemplates not only furnishings, but elements, content, shapes and signs that are the expression of an idea, of a story being told, everything takes on a reflected significance. The floor of the vaulted room, which plays a central role in the whole project, was intended to mimic the cobblestones typical of old-style Milan courtyards: an indoor/outdoor space with a historical memory of its own, yet at the same time with a dynamic texture. The colour and shapes yielded an excellent result in line with the perfect mood that was intended.
How would you judge your relationship with ceramics in the project design?
In the last few years in particular, there has been a major evolution in ceramic materials both for interiors and for architecture. I’m interested not only in a new interpretation of materials able to mimic the likes of stone, iron and wood, but also in technological artifices, using a variety of materials and light effects. Ceramics has enormous potential; it’s like a large canvas able to express a huge variety of content and images. It boasts exceptional performance, and the opportunities it offers for backlighting, transparencies, three-dimensional effects and structures mean it is able to make a major impact both indoors and outdoors.
What relationship is there today between architecture, interior design and ceramics, and how do you believe it will evolve in the future?
Ceramics is something Italy has to be immensely proud of, and which has an important role to play in accompanying creative ideas along new paths, creating increasingly proactive dynamics, also from the point of view of versatility and product customisation. I believe that in the future, ceramics will be more than just a covering material; it will become a skin blended seamlessly with the structure of the project.
More generally, what do you believe are the prospects and opportunities to be grasped for architecture and designing spaces in the near future, and what new challenges will it have to face up to?
A more free-thinking approach to the new conception of the city. More than just building and speculating, but bringing together ideas to promote an architectural and urban project culture, in order to make new buildings more liveable, more accurately proportioned to the time we have available and to a future that offers a wealth of new spaces and new ways of life.
What can you tell us about your future projects or those currently under way?
I’m continually conducting research, and my ideas on innovation and the sense of wonder with which I approach projects brings me into contact with a range of different places and projects. A new ristobar with a small disco inside a historical building, a new sales outlet with a restaurant and bar abroad, in Russia, where we can transmit our management values and craftsmanship. Another nightspot that prompts us to experiment with light and different stage effects, featuring different components, yet always maintaining a coherent project method able to yield innovative new results every time.