The giant, the pen­cil

RO­DOL­FO DOR­DO­NI, ONE OF THE WORLD’S GREATEST AR­CHI­TEC­TS AND DE­SI­GNERS, AL­WAYS DRA­WS FREEHAND, LO­VES «SO­BER COM­FORT» AND DOE­SN’T TRU­ST CUR­VES.

AD (Italy) - - English Texts - words RAF­FAE­LE PANIZZA

Long fo­rearms, li­ke the posts of a big foor lamp («no shirts of the rack for me», he says). The lamp­sha­de might be his right hand, whi­ch turns on new ideas on pa­per, with an as­si­duou­sly shar­pe­ned pen­cil: «I’ve never done a ren­de­ring in my life. I ju­st use pen­cils», Ro­dol­fo Dor­do­ni says. We spent two sur­pri­sing hours in the Mi­la­ne­se spa­ces of Dor­do­ni Ar­chi­tet­ti, di­sco­ve­ring a mu­ch less re­ti­cent per­so­na­li­ty that people usual­ly ima­gi­ne. He is a ge­ne­rous sto­ry­tel­ler, re­ser­ved but ready to di­scuss life. Dor­do­ni is the ar­ti­stic di­rec­tor of Mi­not­ti and Ro­da, and crea­tes for Flos, Fo­sca­ri­ni, Fon­ta­naAr­te, Poliform, Cas­si­na and many others. His calm air di­sgui­ses lo­ts of ener­gy, ready to ex­plo­de in­to ac­tion. «I’m a Vir­go with Scor­pio ri­sing», he says, thou­gh he al­so claims not to know mu­ch about astro­lo­gy. It is ju­st a way to gi­ve na­mes to the two crea­tu­res that swim in op­po­si­te di­rec­tions inside his per­so­na­li­ty.

Do you think your face is mo­re li­ke a bo­xer or a wri­ter?

«Bo­th. And their op­po­si­tes. I don’t wri­te, but I li­ke to com­po­se no­vels with words, gab­bing. I’m no bo­xer be­cau­se I de­spi­se vio­len­ce, in fact I am a bit ti­mo­rous. But I do know how to fght for what I ca­re about, al­so in terms of the pro­fes­sion».

How mu­ch does your body have to do with what you de­si­gn?

«It starts with an idea, mo­ves on to a sket­ch, then the pro­to­ty­pe and the pro­duct te­sting. And you te­st it fr­st of all on your­self, on your pro­por­tions,

your an­gles. So the things I do are def­ni­te­ly con­nec­ted with my body ».

How tall are you?

«1.86 m».

Weight?

«77 or 78 ki­los».

Why so pre­ci­se?

«I li­ke to keep an eye on things». What ob­ject have you crea­ted on whi­ch you par­ti­cu­lar­ly li­ke to sit or lie do­wn? «The ben­ch I did for Mi­not­ti, whi­ch I have at home. A ty­pi­cal pro­jec­tion of my thin­king: ra­tio­nal, lo­gi­cal, few cur­ves».

Smi­th

Cur­ves ma­ke you swer­ve?

«Not ne­ces­sa­ri­ly, but I ca­re about a cer­tain idea of com­fort that might be cal­led “so­ber con­tem­po­ra­ry”. It’s not that I dislike things de­si­gned for pi­le-ups of six people, but su­ch ideas ju­st don’t come to me».

What’s the most pro­mi­scuous thing you’ve de­si­gned?

«My­self».

It doe­sn’t look that way… T-shirt, jeans, snea­kers.

«From the end of art school in Bre­ra to gra­dua­tion from the Mi­lan Po­ly­tech­nic, I on­ly wo­re be­spo­ke suits. I li­ked to have eve­ry­thing made, from ties to shoes, whi­ch co­st me over 400,000 li­re, si­ze 44. I still have them at home».

Is a shoe on a par with a de­si­gn ob­ject?

«I respect shoes, they are works of craf­tsman­ship, cult ob­jec­ts. I wo­re on­ly suits with waist­coa­ts, whi­ch ma­kes me lau­gh to­day, sin­ce I’m no lon­ger com­for­ta­ble in a suit. I was fn­ding my­self: then I chan­ged, I be­ca­me less showy ».

Your pa­ren­ts we­re ri­ch?

«No, but they al­ways let me in­dul­ge in my whims. My fa­ther was a ma­na­ger at Ag­fa, the com­pa­ny that made flm. My mo­ther was a ho­me­ma­ker».

People say you are aloof.

«I’m not in­te­re­sted in su­per­f­cial re­la­tion­ships, true, but as in eve­ry­thing el­se I chan­ge, I’m not so pre­dic­ta­ble». Do you li­ke to look at that big gold ring on your fn­ger whi­le you are dra­wing? « I had it made out of a chain my grand­mo­ther ga­ve me for first com­mu­nion. The on­ly act of va­ni­ty I’ve gran­ted my­self over the years».

You real­ly don’t in­dul­ge in va­ni­ty?

«It hap­pe­ned once, af­ter I took so­me ec­sta­sy at a di­sco, a million years ago. I felt so beautiful, and I thought I was a great dan­cer. Luc­ki­ly my body doe­sn’t get along with drugs, so I haven’t done them mu­ch. I tried ma­ri­jua­na in Ja­mai­ca, on a trip with my pa­ren­ts. Af­ter we lan­ded I bought so­me grass from a ta­xi driver, but I must have done too mu­ch: I wo­ke up three days la­ter, my pa­ren­ts al­rea­dy had a tan. Ha­sh ma­kes me want to th­row up».

So whe­re to you look for ine­bria­tion?

«Wi­ne. I know about it, I’m choo­sy, but not a maniac».

Have you ever been a re­bel?

«I am lo­ts of things. The re­vo­lu­tio­na­ry and the eski­mo, the hip­pie, the dan­dy. Eve­ry­thing I’ve come across in life has been grab­bed and tried out. Se­ven­teen years ago I even dyed my hair pla­ti­num blond, and sho­wed up at my fr­st im­por­tant pho­to shoot as art di­rec­tor of Mi­not­ti that way. I don’t do things li­ke that to sur­pri­se people, thou­gh. I ju­st want to “get out”. To over­co­me my shy­ness».

Do you li­ke slee­ping?

«I sleep less than I once used to do, but I do grant my­self the lu­xu­ry of getting up la­ter».

«I CA­RE ABOUT A CER­TAIN IDEA OF COM­FORT THAT MIGHT BE CAL­LED “SO­BER CON­TEM­PO­RA­RY”. NOT THAT I DISLIKE THINGS DE­SI­GNED FOR PI­LE-UPS OF SIX PEOPLE: SU­CH IDEAS JU­ST DON’T COME TO ME».

What about dreams? «Mine are ve­ry rea­li­stic, or mo­re pre­ci­se­ly they are pos­si­ble. Things that could ac­tual­ly hap­pen».

How does it feel to be six­ty?

«Well, I’m happy. I have fewer en­thu­sia­sms that in the pa­st, I must ad­mit. But I li­ke to ref­ne things, to get to the crux».

Do you al­so have a geo­me­tric ap­proa­ch to bad luck?

«Fif­teen years ago they told me I had a tu­mor. I ap­proa­ched it as a pro­blem to be sol­ved, not a mi­sfor­tu­ne or a cur­se. The experience chan­ged me a lot. I feel li­ke I’m 45 years old, ac­tual­ly. Li­ke a se­cond Ro­dol­fo, born in 2000».

What kind of men do you li­ke?

«Tho­se with a ra­re gift».

Ri­gor?

«No. Com­po­su­re».

Are the­re any ob­so­le­te things in your home?

«The light swit­ches. I on­ly use Ma­gic by Bti­ci­no». What have you lear­ned from the Si­ci­lians, sin­ce you of­ten go to your hou­ses in No­to and Ven­di­ca­ri? «To ac­cept con­tra­dic­tion. When I got the­re I was a Mi­la­ne­se who pays his par­king tic­ke­ts. Now I have a di­fe­rent, less fa­na­ti­cal, less de­man­ding attitude. And I can’t stand the cold any­mo­re. Eve­ry­thing is ready: I’m going to ma­ke the def­ni­ti­ve mo­ve the­re soon».

To grow thy­me and mul­lein.

«I’m no good with plan­ts, and I am ter­ri­ble at cooking fsh, thou­gh I do lo­ve cooking. So you might ask: why am I mo­ving to Si­ci­ly?».

To be­co­me the mayor.

«Maybe. For the mo­ment, I’m ju­st the­re to learn».

THE END

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