REVIEWS
last update: 15 February 2016

Magis: a leading company in the design world

Made in Italy, with guarantee of high quality, a group of portuguese journalists accepted the invitation to discover Magis' world.

 

This is the year that one of the most prestigious Italian design brand celebrates 40 years.

Four decades of history, high quality combined with functionality. Originality and modernity.
Celebrating another anniversary of success, Magis invited a group of portuguese journalists and organized a visit to the factory.

The journalist Isabel Salema, coordinator of the Publico newspaper supplements - graduated in history of the art and later journalism - accepted the invitation of Magis and has, in a fascinating article that awakens the desire to know the Italian manufactures, among many others things, what are the future projects and dreams of the designers.

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"Magis want to make carpets that change color according to the place of the observer. Therefore invited the designer Ron Gilad ever worked with textiles. This is the recipe for making something new in design.

We come to the factory Rik Fer and it is like inside a Piranesi engraving, a version dedicated to wrought iron monuments. Are all gates of the world together, stairs, handrails, serving as a showcase for future full-size customers. As the imagined worlds of the Venetian artist, the gates do not open to nowhere, or rather to open other doors, and stairs end with the last step suspended in the air.

A man from another time is cap in hand waiting for us. "Buenasera" presents "maestro" Antonio, as everyone calls him, adding that has 60 + 20 + 30 years and only stop working when you play Udinesi, your football club. We're in front of a furnace at 850 degrees centigrade and a worker handles a rod of iron to 20 mm thick. Fabio Moretto, who began working here for 15 years and is now a man with white hair already, it is to let the stick stay on fire for two minutes after getting hit iron for the Officina line of chairs. It is the mallet - a machine that has not undergone many changes since the sixteenth century - the stick will still pass.

The workers of this factory an hour from Venice says is accurate ten different operations to form a Officina chair, designed by the brothers Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec and produced since last year by the Italian brand of Magis design.

This factory specializes in wrought iron work is the second largest production in Italy and the master Antonio has not recovered from losing to another rival in order to make dozens of gates to the Roman Colosseum. Since the 2008 real estate crisis, never again to charge the same, and the work for Magis the first running pieces designed by contemporary designers.

The Magis, this year celebrating 40 years, organized the visit to the factory of a group of Portuguese journalists to show the manufacturing process of the Officina line furnishings - joining manufacturing and industrial processes - and as the Italian design brand's philosophy produce 100% in Italy.

A few hours earlier, at the headquarters of Magis in Torre di Mosto, during an interview with Eugenio Perazza, the founder of the company presented the Officina line as a new focus of Magis to work a traditional material, such as wrought iron, forward-looking . "There is nothing like it in the market." It is indeed an opposite sign of the death of the design Eugenio Perazza had announced over lunch with several members of his team.
 

"In my opinion, the design is in a major crisis. Companies produce the same things. It is reduced to pure exercise in style. Good design has to start with a strong idea, something out of the box, a new direction. "

 

The notoriety of the French brothers, or other designers who work for Magis, is not a competition to brand visibility, is not how we speak of crisis when it comes to design with the patriarch of Perazza. "The Magis controls the design. It is always the Magis who discovers the direction, not the designer. Why it Magis giving specific briefing. We are always in contact with them every day for advice. Yesterday I received ten calls from Bouroullec. "

The Magis has pieces in the permanent collections of the MoMA in New York, the V & A in London and the Pompidou in Paris - as Spun-carving chair Thomas Heatherwick or bottle rack of Jasper Morrison. More than bestsellers, are interested in long-runners. They give the example of one of the last icons, the Chair-One, Konstantin Grcic, who took time to be adopted by the public after having been launched in 2003. Only when he was chosen by architects such as Herzog & de Meuron to furnish a chapel Forum in Barcelona in 2004 that it began to sell well, making it a piece very copied with their standard of triangles. The beauty of this chair, we will hear later, we are in lack, the void, and in contrast to the full base in cement.

Optical carpet
When we arrived at the headquarters of Magis, Perazza the family and some employees are in brainstormingcom one of its latest fads, the Israeli designer Ron Gilad. Looks like something out of a manual to help you be creative: meeting a chill out space to the view of passers-by, material like wool samples scattered everywhere, many heads to contemplate mini-mats resting on the ground, a garden outside covered by winter fog.

What are you doing? "We do not know," quips Ron Gilad. Eugenio Perazza question if you do not know the designer's work for Flos brand: "I'm superconvencido that will be a star. We are still in the first phase of the project "Enric Perin, the brand design manager, says it was not easy to find a new direction,".. When you have the idea, we have 50% of the project "Everybody's looking for mini -carpets with strong colors. Alberto Perazza, only son of the founder, explains that the idea is Magis enter the area rugs. They began six months ago when they met the designer to tell you what they sought.

The idea is to make a carpet that explores how the op art optical illusions. The carpet may vary in color according to the position that is looked at. "The problem is that, as the blue is behind the red, is completely black," laments Ron Gilad, explaining that they had chosen the colors for the test with a bad light. Began with the primary colors to explore the optical effects to the maximum, explains Enric Perin, but the goal is to make mats with pastel colors, soft colors. And, for now, they succeeded - small samples vary in color according to the place of the observer.

Ron Gilad, this is a great challenge because it is not "definitely" a textile designer. "It is very difficult to create a story without three dimensions, a flat story. I create structures. "A carpet is basically an object in two dimensions, length and width.

All stress that the project is at a very early stage. The idea can be tested among peers at the International Exhibition of Milan Furniture already in April, but in practice are working for a product that may appear in the collection 2019-20.
In addition to the Hall of Milan, do four shows, such as the Stockholm within two weeks, or Shanghai. Just come from Cologne, where besides the Officina line had a large table Philippe Starck aluminum, which stores two extensions under the top and wheeled in both legs, an outdoor chair Konstantin Grcic inspired by the comic and even Happy Bird, a collection of toy-chairs made by Finnish designer Eero Aarnio, among other products.

"We work with many different designers for many years. We have short relationships with designers. There is a project and you're done. We have a project this year and one in three years, "said Alberto Pezarra, the day after brainstorming, during an interview with the PUBLIC. "All the projects we do are a new challenge in terms of materials, technology. As you saw, it's a process that takes time from idea to market. Usually we developed the idea internally, a concept for a new project, and then speak with the designer we think is best suited to develop the idea. That is, we do not draw, we generate ideas and talk with the designers and then they come back with a proposal. So we started a dialogue, an intensive communication back and forth. It is a relationship which is very important the role of engineers, who makes prototypes, production partners. "

Ron Galid was chosen because it knew the work he had done for other companies. "After we liked him very much as a person. What is very important because now, because there has to be a fit with Magis. We do not like the way some companies are working, they get something from the designer and without feedback go into production."

When a project is born, usually I take a product home and like to test it as a consumer

Barbara Minetto

 

When asked why they chose a designer who does not work with textiles to develop future area rugs company, responds Barbara Minetto, Alberto's wife, who also works in the company as marketing director. "Because he is very open. As it has no experience, it is possible to do something new, different from what is on the market today. If you give something to a child, it is open as a white sheet of paper. It's much better. "It will be difficult at first, because you have to realize the technical things, but in the end" is positive. "

One of the objectives is to develop carpets abroad, in addition to living rooms or dining - "We thought it might be a good opportunity to do great facilities at a fair or in the garden." The blue and pastel green, like water or grass, presented at the meeting of the previous day are abroad. "It can be a very beautiful facility if you only have a garden with 20 square meters. It is very poetic. Has another dimension in a very small space, "says Barbara Minetto.

Carpets abroad may mix polyamide and polyester. "You can combine the wire. But we are still far from it. We are looking for the right colors and the best possible effect of optical illusion that causes the color change. "Probably, says Alberto, will have none of it ready for Milan." Maybe it's postponed, only show when we're ready. "
At home, use the Magis products, account managers of this family business. "We have some and changed often. We have a large presence of Bouroullec brothers and parts of Konstantin Grcic, "says Barbara Minetto. "When a project is born, usually take a product home and like to test it as a consumer to realize that feeling gives, if there are some problems." Therefore, change often enough chairs in the kitchen.

Two sons call, by the way, the objects in your business name. The lamp, for example, is Glo-Ball (Jasper Morrison). "First of all are very critical," says the mother, "speak of colors, function, but it is quite normal because the design is part of their lives."

It was because of Anna granddaughter Eugenio Perazza started the Me Too collection in 2001. "When she was two, I sought a chair and had many difficulties in finding something of quality. I thought, why not develop a collection for children from two to six years "Today, the collection represents 10% of the results of Magis?.

In Portugal, there are already present 35 years, but only since 2014 is working with a new distributor (http://www.heldergoncalves.pt/). "Despite the crisis, the economic situation, runs well, speaking in general," said Alberto, a growth that attaches to businesses that are organized around the holidays and they need to qualify.

One of the chairs that sell well in Portugal is Air-Chair, Jasper Morrison, in the version with arms, perhaps because it is similar to the terrace chair Gonçalo. There is indeed a before and after Jasper Morrison, who began working with Magis in early 1990. Air-Chair, dated 2000, is the first one-piece plastic chair which uses injection molding gas, resulting a massive appearance but with a hollow interior.

Milá chair
It was not easy to draw a chair using injection molding gas after the Air-Chair. "It had to be very elegant, very different. After a year, we came here inspired by Gaudí, the modernist architect of Barcelona, ​​"says Enric Perin, design manager, showing six prototypes of a chair with many curves that will go into production within weeks.

Will reach the Hall of Milan with Mila chair, because the Magis divides the year by design fair. It is made in six colors: white, beige, green, black, red and mustard yellow. Enric Perin is stroking the chair delighted with the soft touch that managed to obtain. "It has a silky touch. It is treated with something, a secret ... "

Last year, they showed the prototypes made by Spanish designer Jaime Haiyón now lead-in ready for orders. Enric Perin and Alberto Perazza estimate have made an investment of 300 000 euros in this chair.

We will be able to buy it for 170 or 180 euros, the price is not right, because until April there is still one detail or another to hit

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