BR I L L I ANT wo r k
Founder and creative director of Articolo, Nicci Green has crafted a gallery-like studio in Melbourne to illuminate her range of artisanal lighting.
WPHILOSOPHY AND AESTHETIC? I’ve never been formally trained in design, and I don’t come from a lighting background, so in that sense I’m not restricted by a traditional approach. Instead it’s an innate process, informed by the way I see the world and my life experiences. I have always been drawn to a European design sensibility that celebrates craftsmanship, timelessness and the artisanal. I started my career as a food stylist in Paris, which taught me the process of reduction and simplification. IS THERE A COMMON ELEMENT OR APPROACH THAT RUNS THROUGH ALL ASPECTS OF YOUR WORK? I love the artisanal nature and nuances of mouth-blown glass and solid metals. It’s important that each design reflects the many hands that have produced it. It’s the human element that in many ways we’re losing through mass production, but I strongly believe there’s no substitute for the handmade. WHAT INITIALLY APPEALED TO YOU ABOUT THE SITE OF YOUR STUDIO AND WHAT DID THE ALTERATIONS ENTAIL? Initially it was the location on an unassuming side street in inner-city Richmond. I’ve always found the magic of cities like Milan or Paris is in the backstreets where showrooms and ateliers are stumbled upon. On an emotional level I was immediately taken by the Boston ivy on the facade, and the space just felt ‘right’. We wanted to showcase our lighting in a space more akin to a gallery than a traditional showroom. The result represents my vision for how Articolo pieces beautifully intersect with interior spaces. The floorplan was adapted by repositioning walls to create cohesive spaces that tell the varied stories of our lighting. I worked with architect David Goss of Studio Goss on the project. HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE THE COMPLETED SPACE? It is an exploration of texture and materiality, reflecting our design ethos. It comprises showroom, studio and workshop, so it’s the full Articolo experience. It’s an intimate and quiet space designed to inspire a sense of discovery with a series of design ‘moments’ anchored by the form and luminance of our collections. I work long hours and am often at my desk till late, with our lighting throwing superb shadows, music
playing, a glass of wine, the doors to the upstairs courtyard open and light dancing off the ivy. It is the most creative space I can imagine. WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR FAVOURITE DESIGN ELEMENTS? The space has so many subtle layers. Hard wax plaster, concrete render and a terrazzo floor. Pale wide floorboards bring a sense of calm, and inlaid fine brass panels speak to my love of contrasting materiality. I’m passionate about well-designed and engineered fittings; shadow lines, mouth-blown glass, natural and handcrafted finishes. Nothing in our design process is easy, and we don’t take any shortcuts. WHAT IS THE ETHOS BEHIND YOUR WORK AND HOW IS THIS REFLECTED IN THE DESIGN OF YOUR SPACE? Mixing mediums where there is a simpatico is an important part of our ethos, whether in the showroom design or our products themselves. Shadow play is fundamental. I want our lighting to provide a ‘moment’ that you happen upon. I treat lighting as an art piece. Functional, yes, but so much more. IS THERE A PARTICULAR ARCHITECTURAL ERA OR STYLE THAT RESONATES WITH YOU? I draw inspiration from many styles: Palm Springs modernism for its low-rise style and integration of indoor/ outdoor and focus on natural light; Scandinavian minimalism; and my favourite, Belgian style. It seems to seamlessly marry materiality and restraint with the right amount of detailing and textured finishes. WHICH DESIGNERS AND ARTISTS DO YOU ADMIRE? Vincent Van Duysen has transcended architecture, interior design and product design and excelled in all. Christian Liaigre has had a similar trajectory. I also love the work of Australian artist Sally Ross. Alison Jackson, also Australian, is an extraordinary silversmith. Everywhere I travel I look for local artisans and craftspeople. It introduces me to new thinking, new techniques and new talent. WHAT PROJECTS ARE YOU LOOKING FORWARD TO IN THE COMING
YEAR? ARE THERE ANY NEW DIRECTIONS OR DESIGN CHALLENGES THAT YOU WOULD LIKE TO PURSUE? We are working on a small capsule collection of furniture pieces, manufactured in Australia with our signature Articolo aesthetic. A longer term goal is to collaborate with an architect on a hotel or resort imbued with the Articolo sensibility. A dream I’d love to see come true. articololighting.com