Client, the end user, to rethink the traditional layout of the ҐООт, and to introduce а СІфЬоЗҐСІ that makes the interior not so rigid and geometrical, but more free and unconventional,”

Подпись: The Layout by Michele De Lucchi for Alias utilizes extruded pieces of corrugated aluminum to create a curvaceous, stand-alone shelving unit that opens on both sides and allows a customer to redefine the living space. Credit: Luca Tamburlini says Michele De Lucchi. “This is part of a layout process where you design the room in a totally unexpected way.”

Unlike traditional shelving units that are invariably shoved up against a wall, Layout shelves are to be pulled out, into the room, where they become sculptural pieces that help define space. “The first idea was not to do a cupboard using a corner or wall of the room space, but to do a cupboard independent of the walls,” says De Lucchi. “And I thought, instead of adding a wall, it would be better to add a curtain on the wall. A curtain is not a flat sur­face, but it is softer, and its surface is plastic. The project came out of combining the idea of a curtain with the technological pos­sibilities of extruding aluminum. Because aluminum can be ex­truded in many different ways, this was a very possible and convenient technology.”

The beauty of a Layout unit belies its practicality as a closed-door shelving unit. The system comes in several different sizes and heights, with doors on both sides, or with a flat back that can – in spite of its inspiration —be pushed up against a wall or into a corner. The interior shelves are made of wood painted aluminum, black, or ivory. The undulating aluminum doors have a matte fin­ish and vertical corrugation that reflects light and creates move­ment by casting subtle and interesting shadows. Two structural uprights support the interior shelves and anchor the doors, which have no handles, but are opened with just the most gentle pres­sure on a small ridge that runs the full length of the door edge. The hinges are not only invisible to the exterior, but they also hold the doors open. This feature makes the shelves more easily accessible, and can also transform the unit into a kind of metal curtain, as originally imagined. De Lucchi notes, “Every functional part is invisible. You don’t see hinges or handles. Everything ap­pears as a smooth surface all around. This has been my aim, to make something that does not appear as a conventional cup­board.”

Because the Layout is so unconventional, it serves many pur­poses. According to De Lucchi, “It can also be used as a room di­vider. Also, because it is open all over, you can use both sides; you can use any side. It provides new possibilities for the use and layout of a traditional space. The cupboard is no longer some­thing to hide somewhere, but an object to put in front, to put in evidence, to design the shape of the space. It is not only geo­metrical and rigid, but can be much more rounded with the cup­board.”

Client, the end user, to rethink the traditional layout of the ҐООт, and to introduce а СІфЬоЗҐСІ that makes the interior not so rigid and geometrical, but more free and unconventional,”

Client, the end user, to rethink the traditional layout of the ҐООт, and to introduce а СІфЬоЗҐСІ that makes the interior not so rigid and geometrical, but more free and unconventional,”

The material used also has an effect on how light is perceived and functions in a room. The extrusion process—which De Lucchi describes as being somewhat akin to watching spaghetti emerge from a machine —creates long, sinuous shapes of gently ridged, matte-finished aluminum. “It’s very nice, , the reflections ist has of light,” De Lucchi notes. “A normal cupboard is like a wall, so there is not the possibility of seeing the effect of the material. The Layout is really something that becomes different with the light. It reflects and creates a beautiful effect. Because it is not a flat sur­face, the many different lines, the composition with all the differ­ent lines and the curves makes the light bounce in different ways.”

Подпись: Early sketches reveal De Lucchi’s interest in undulating forms that are reminiscent of curtains. Credit: Michele De Lucchi Подпись:De Lucchi points out that Layout has become an entire system of furniture, rather than just a single unit. “It’s a number of elements that can be composed in a number of variations. Right now we’ve developed the cupboard with all the internal equipment for the dining room and kitchen,” he says, “And it is very comfortable to put dishes, glasses, pots other things that are round; this is easy to understand, because all the shape is very rounded.” The cabi­nets are being offered in several different heights and shapes,

including low, glass-topped versions. More options for other parts of the home are also under exploration. “We’re also developing equipment for a cupboard in a bedroom,” says De Lucchi. “We studied systems for storing clothes, shirts, socks, etcetera. The outside will be the same, but the inside will have boxes and drawers.” In addition, De Lucchi anticipates commercial applica­tions for the system. “Each year, we will introduce new combina­tions,” he says. “Also something for the office. I anticipate it will have success in the office, because they are so conventional now. They need some new furniture, some new, fresh ideas.”

De Lucchi is no stranger to creating “new, fresh ideas.” Over his extensive career as an architect and designer, he has been a lead­ing figure in radical and experimental movements like Cavart, Alchymia, and Memphis and has developed experimental prod­ucts for a variety of manufacturers. He gives credit for some of this out-of-the-box thinking to his place of birth. “Generally speaking, we design in a more intuitive way,” he says. “We do analysis and investigation afterwards. This is very peculiar to Ital­ian design. It’s our way; creation is a very free attitude. And then the investigation about what is the value of the project comes after. The investigation about the marketing, the best way to in­troduce in the market, and so on, is usually done in the second phase of the project.”

Подпись: @ This model shows the undulating, double-opening doors that are the Layout’s conceptual cornerstone. Credit: Michele De Lucchi But De Lucchi also values creative partnerships and the discipline imposed by commercial considerations. “It’s very important, the relationship with the manufacturer,” he says. “Because the best projects come out of the best relationships with the designer and the company, and usually the engineer in the company as well as the people in marketing and commercialization. Because design is not only a private act to express yourself, but more something that combines the aim of the designer together with the market life of the company.”

Client, the end user, to rethink the traditional layout of the ҐООт, and to introduce а СІфЬоЗҐСІ that makes the interior not so rigid and geometrical, but more free and unconventional,”

@ Above and top right: Small models show a variety of options for the Layout, including a flat-backed version that can be pushed against a wall and others that can be used as room dividers. Credit: Michele De Lucchi

186 DESIGN SECRETS: FURNITURE

@ With its doors closed, the Layout offers an almost seamless face of flowing metal to the room; all functional details were designed to remain hidden. Credit: Luco Tamburlini

 

@ With its doors closed, the Layout offers an almost seamless face of flowing metal to the room; all functional details were designed to remain hidden. Credit: Luco Tamburlini

 

Client, the end user, to rethink the traditional layout of the ҐООт, and to introduce а СІфЬоЗҐСІ that makes the interior not so rigid and geometrical, but more free and unconventional,”Client, the end user, to rethink the traditional layout of the ҐООт, and to introduce а СІфЬоЗҐСІ that makes the interior not so rigid and geometrical, but more free and unconventional,”