aola Navone may be 64 years old, but her creations are refreshingly modern, quirky and have stood the test of time. Spirited and young at heart, her unique design aesthetic reflects her lifetime of travel, commitment to handcraft and passion for global culture. An exception on the Italian design scene, for the past 40 years she has been one of the rare women working among an otherwise male-dominated Italian design elite, making a name for herself by breathing new life into designs from the past, turning to traditional artisanal techniques and producing contemporary forms. Always in search of new ways of combining things, she blends design, craftsmanship and the most advanced industrial processes in the same project, bringing together the raw beauty of handmade objects with forwardthinking ideas, materials and technology. Valuing balance, simplicity, imperfection and uniqueness, whether using ceramics, hand-blown glass, hammered aluminium or bamboo, she gives a second chance to flawed items that she transforms into collectors’ pieces, thus allowing her full creativity to emerge. She aims to design joyful, friendly and non-aggressive products that somehow sneak into our houses and give us the feeling that they’ve been there for a long time.
Working in a wide variety of disciplines, the architect, designer, art director, interior decorator and consultant to furniture and material manufacturers has created everything from furniture, lighting, tableware and fabrics to clothing, jewellery, exhibitions and events. You name it, she’s probably worked on it. Her client list is full of famous names: Armani Casa, Knoll International, Natuzzi, Alessi, Driade, Emu, Casamilano, Poliform, Gervasoni, Roche Bobois, Swarovski and Molteni, among others. Her work method consists of the accumulation of ideas and concepts in the analysis phase, then the few elements necessary for the realisation of the project surface in the synthesis phase. She concentrates on these and discards the rest. SAINT-LOUIS HULOTTE LAMP Working with crystal, a material that is quite distant from her world, Navone obtained the poetic traits of a tawny owl by asking the Saint-louis artisans, accustomed to regular and symmetrical cuts, for asymmetrical cuts, which produced specific optical effects. Available in clear or coloured (dark blue, amethyst, flannel grey) crystal or white enamel. “I love the production process,” she says. “I like to observe it. I’m very curious and sometimes when they ask me to do something, I start from an idea and then there is a meeting between my idea and the unit that’s going to produce it. At that magic moment, they give me something and I give them something. And if this combination works, the product comes out very fast. But my idea doesn’t come out of nothing. My idea comes when I see the place where they produce. I start to put together concepts when I know where this concept can be applied, and the idea comes from meeting these people. I don’t dream about a chair. If I have nothing to do, I don’t design. If I have nothing to do, I go to the beach or cook pasta for my friends.”