by Zohra KhanOct 08, 2021
We seldom know what creative geniuses are made of. Einstein worked marvels even as he battled chronic illness, Beethoven revolutionised music although suffering from hearing loss, while Dali channelled the power of his inexplicable dreams and hallucinations in his work. What’s even more intriguing is that they could not fathom the workings of their mind and often needed deep probing to even scratch the surface of what lay inside. Their artistic secrets remain unknown, unscripted, and unchallenged, and their unique stories continue to inspire generations.
Seeking that beautiful mystery of creative living, STIR unravels UNSCRIPTED as an original series of quick-witted video interviews with leading design professionals who give us a peek into their undiscovered lives. Narrators include prolific names from the world over, such as Job Smeets, Ron Arad, Michael Young, Nipa Doshi and Jonathan Levien (Doshi Levien), Nika Zupanc, Matteo Nunziati, Ronan Bouroullec and Roberto Palomba, among others.
Conceptualised and curated by Pramiti Madhavji (Consultant, Content Adviser, STIR), the series releases a new episode every Sunday as designers reveal unheard and unknown nuggets from their lives, in response to 30 questions.
“I have always been intrigued by what makes Ron Arad the real Ron Arad. Or who is the real Philippe Starck…the one that’s not being the designer! And I often ask, what’s behind that smile, what’s in that creative mind: How do they live, what do they eat, what do they do when they don’t design…. With Salone del Mobile once again moved from its original April dates, missing being at the mecca of design and meeting these design gurus, through UNSCRIPTED, we keep that global spirit going through the world of design,” shares Madhavji.
With the broader idea to ‘script the unscripted’, each conversation is a melting pot of quests, revelations, quirks and tests of truth. We seek narratives that recount moments of epiphany, profound memories, disruptive experiences and eccentric habits and rituals that shape the world of people who, in turn, shape our environments.
There’s madness, there’s fun, and all one needs to do is sit back and relish some spontaneous jamming with their favourite designer. The format of the interviews allows speakers to rack their minds and share what they haven’t already. While we have put forth the craziest questions that could come to our minds, if there is something you would like to know, do share your suggestions in our comments section and we’ll do our best to get them answered.
Episode 1: UNSCRIPTED with Job Smeets (Studio Job)
Of Passions, Possessions and Pyjamas
The Netherlands-based sculptural artist and designer spills some beans on the creative and personal side of his life – from passions and possessions, daily rituals and yearly sojourns to growing up years and his biggest fear thus far.
Episode 2: UNSCRIPTED with Nipa Doshi and Jonathan Levien (Doshi Levien)
Creating Magic with Masala
STIR decodes the eccentricities of the duo behind London-based design studio, Doshi Levien, on UNSCRIPTED. Chatting from their studio at Columbia Road, Nipa Doshi and Jonathan Levien reveal details about their first meeting, silly things they argue about, quirks they are notorious for and sacred daily rituals that bind them in the relationship that they share.
The founders of the Milan-based design agency, Studiopepe, open up about their quirks, alter egos and pet peeves, and recount how a mere coincidence years ago landed them where they are today.
Episode 4: UNSCRIPTED with Nika Zupanc
The Sea is Calling
The Slovenian product and interior designer for whom wilderness and silence are her best friends, gives an undiscovered peek into her life: from her passion for the woods and the sea, her love for the written word, to her breakfast routine and daily rituals.
Episode 5: UNSCRIPTED with Ron Arad
Under the Hat, Behind the Mask
Legendary Israeli industrial designer, artist and architect, Ron Arad, talks about his fond memories from growing up years, his obsession with hats, cars and ping pong, and hobbies and rituals that have kept him hooked over the last many months of the global COVID-19 lockdown. The master experimenter also discusses two of his most recent projects – a bespoke suit imagined as protection blanket covering cars in the street, and artistic masks that let you wear the maniacal smile of Albert Einstein and the unsettling expression of Dali.
Episode 06: UNSCRIPTED with Roberto Palomba
The Mad Balance of Design and Stupidity
The founder of Milan-based studio Palomba Serafini Associati – architect and industrial designer Roberto Palomba - takes us through his creative inspirations and daily life in this episode of UNSCRIPTED. From sharing warm stories from his childhood and memories from his student days at the architecture college of the University of Rome, he also reveals his hobbies that he is most addicted to, things he is afraid of, and how he would like to stir up the future.
Episode 07: UNSCRIPTED with Matteo Nunziati
Opulence in Paucity
The Milan based designer and architect Matteo Nunziati sheds qualms for a candid talk on his processes and interpretation of luxury on UNSCRIPTED, musing about his early inspirations, the setting up of his eponymous studio, the city of Milan, and the value of family in his life. Over the years, Matteo Nunziati’s name and studio have become synonymous with delivering designs that spell luxury, lining prestigious projects including the Trump Towers in Pune, New Delhi, and Kolkata; Fraser Suites West Bay in Doha, Qatar; and the Radisson Blu residence in Dubai Marina. Nunziati, however, still considers luxury to be something intangible, something one feels as opposed to acquiring or owning.
Episode 08: UNSCRIPTED with Michael Young
Welding Wonders with Naivety
The British industrial designer, Michael Young, recounts a whirlwind of memorable moments and unusual experiences in this episode of UNSCRIPTED. From his skinny and purple hair days in Sunderland (an old shipbuilding town in North-East England where he grew up and found himself the odd one out), his tryst with dyslexia that gifted him an escape and education in music, to carefree student days in London where he splurged on beer and lobsters and dozed off intoxicated in a friend’s cowshed, he recollects several intriguing anecdotes in the 19-minute conversation.
Episode 09: UNSCRIPTED with Luca Nichetto
Tinkering with Glassy Memories
From scorching glass furnaces of Murano to pleasant, sunny mornings of Stockholm, Italian designer Luca Nichetto on UNSCRIPTED (do we need to mention for landing page) recounts fond escapades from his childhood, details of his first date, and how an international basketball championship at the age of 16 gifted him ‘a dream come true' moment.
Episode 10: UNSCRIPTED with Jean-Marie Massaud
Gaia and the Gods Within
The French designer’s obsession with white, his pious belief in nature guiding his designs, and his desire to “work on vacation” get discovered on UNSCRIPTED. Encapsulating his design odyssey, his signature quirks, and his philosophies and learnings in this short 15-minute video for STIR, Jean-Marie Massaud reminisces on the adventure he considers his life to be. Currently operating his eponymous studio remotely from an exotic location in Southern France, somewhere he can be close to his muse in nature, the mountains and the seas, the multifarious architect-designer reflects upon the current stillness in his life and what’s next for him.
Episode 11: UNSCRIPTED with Philippe Starck
Work. Sleep. Love. Repeat
Speaking from the top of a mountain in Portugal, visionary French designer Philippe Starck spills secrets about his ‘elsewhere’ state of life – one in which his desk, slumber and love are best friends. The creator of the famous Alessi's Juicy Salif lemon squeezer and the man behind one of the world’s largest sailing yachts, Starck shares that ‘trend’ is one word that he finds the most unnecessary in the deluge of other 95 per cent empty words spoken in the design industry today.
Episode 12: UNSCRIPTED with Marcel Wanders
The Currency of Freedom and How to Spend It
On the free-spirited Dutch design magnate’s 58th birthday, Marcel Wanders indulges in a conversation of candour on this week’s UNSCRIPTED, revealing what makes his creative side click, his mantra to never bore people, and his tryst with order and chaos. The prolific product and interior designer, today, has grown to be an icon and a brand, considering his freedom to be his currency. He sermonises spending it and not storing it, to create something that engages all senses.
Episode 13: UNSCRIPTED with Ronan Bouroullec
The Art of Distancing Yourself from your Art
Paris-based designer, Ronan Bouroullec, emphasises the importance of avoiding labels and keeping a healthy distance from one's subject of passion. The 15-minute video interview reveals some memorable details of Bouroullec's childhood in Brittany, growing up years he spent trying to find his mind, an encounter from years ago that could have taken his life, and a dream that he is running after.
Episode 14: UNSCRIPTED with Nigel Coates
Talismanic Tales over Tea
On this week’s UNSCRIPTED episode, British architect and designer Nigel Coates talks about his enigmatic journey through the many paths of design, unveiling indulgences and the lively English quintessence within him. Terming his younger self an enfant terrible, he professes keeping the child-like spirit alive and to be more courageous: key to being a good designer for him. Through his works spanning decades and genres, Coates has been an active advocate for LGBTQIA+ rights, finding the right balance between passion, irony, and instinct.
Episode 15: UNSCRIPTED with Richard Hutten
All the World’s a Playground
Rotterdam-based designer Richard Hutten, who describes himself as an old fart, shares why fun is best when it’s serious. In this 17-minute video interview, the Dutch design giant opens up about things many are not aware of: a wish he wants to tick off his bucket list, his daily routine post lockdown, when he gets his best ideas, and why he is not fond of colour black.
Episode 16: UNSCRIPTED with Matali Crasset
The Arco Iris Emancipation
French industrial and product designer, Matali Crasset, equates her disdain for monochrome with her greed for living colourfully on this week’s UNSCRIPTED episode. Defining herself as a woman and a mother first and a successful designer later, Crasset picks colours carefully from the ‘Arco Iris’ to infuse her projects with life and vivacity. Crasset’s vibrant portfolio transcends realms, isms, scope, and scale, spelling the spectrum of her distinct design language.
Episode 17: UNSCRIPTED with Louise Campbell
Harmony is Exhausting
Danish product designer Louise Campbell contemplates the consequences of her cultural duality and going beyond the “pleasure of a vibe”. In the 17 minute conversation, we learn about her fond childhood escapades and discover why she likes to start things from scratch and work at the pace of seasons.
Episode 18: UNSCRIPTED with Giulio Cappellini
Sophistication with a hint of vetiver
Seen as a father figure in modern Italian design, Giulio Cappellini reflects on his four-decade journey as architect, designer, art director, and mentor in this week’s UNSCRIPTED episode. Revelling in his subtle, functionally aligned design language, the 67-year old designer has been a bonafide trendsetter by all means, and one among many to have inspired a shift in thinking from the classical language of famed Italian design. As a designer and a brand, he has come to be widely known for his collaborations, having nurtured the best of global design talent under his wings.
Episode 19: UNSCRIPTED with Pinakin Patel
Decoding the life of a light-hearted hustler
Self-taught architect and furniture designer Pinakin Patel reflects on the importance of courage, vulnerability, and nature in his life. The multidisciplinary design polymath from the seaside hamlet in Alibag, India, opens up about the struggles and rewards of self-education and the meaning of having a mentor in one’s life.
A pioneer of India Modern aesthetics who launched the country's first lifestyle and home décor store, ‘Etcetera’ using contemporary art and craft, Patel’s design oeuvre comprises villas, vacation homes, residential interiors, and bespoke furniture. His most noted projects include a museum space in Alibag dedicated to his guru, Dashrath Patel (the late Indian iconic painter and sculptor who we get to know more closely in this episode).
Episode 20: UNSCRIPTED with Fabio Novembre
Celestial Musings and Maestros
Convinced of his ability to seduce everything that surrounded him, renowned Italian designer Fabio Novembre fuses his infectious energy into this week’s UNSCRIPTED episode. With a solemn resolve to breathe till he choked, and to love till he died, the eclectic Italian designer and architect exudes an almost spiritual romanticism towards all things design, equating his mentors and maestros to stars illuminating his path on dour nights. From his earliest designs to his most recent ones, Novembre’s works are doused in colour, sweeping in form, often provocative, and always evocative.
Episode 21: UNSCRIPTED with Mauro Porcini
Excellence in the age of love and unicorns
In this episode of UNSCRIPTED, we bring to you a power-packed conversation with PepsiCo Senior Vice President and Chief Design Officer Mauro Porcini where he reveals unknown facts from his life which include experiencing the tension of two different worlds in childhood, the consequences of being bilingual, obsolescence of regrets and a deep fascination for unicorns.
Episode 22: UNSCRIPTED with Matteo Thun
Miles from Memphis, zero kilometers to home
On this week’s UNSCRIPTED episode, discover Italian design veteran Matteo Thun’s secret of slow, elevated living, and his unique brand of botanic architecture. Merging the best of his Italian design sensibilities with an ascribed German sense of precision, Thun professes durability, both aesthetic and functional, through his designs. Though living spiritually and consciously, Thun, an adventure sports enthusiast, jovially claims his sketches and idea processing to be faster than a computer.
From the days of his associations with Oskar Kokoschka and Ettore Sottsass from the Memphis group that he co-founded, Thun has gone on to establish his own global presence through his distinctive works and brand collaborations. His architectural works, including Alpenpark Klinik, Germany, and Waldkliniken, Eisenberg, remain fine exemplars of his philosophy of botanic architecture and habitable hospitality.
Episode 23: UNSCRIPTED with Karim Rashid
Making colours dance
In this UNSCRIPTED episode, New York-based industrial designer Karim Rashid looks back to his long struggle with self-acceptance, and shares how flirting with colour, music, and fashion keep him inspired.
Episode 24: UNSCRIPTED with Mario Trimarchi
The sound of a sketch
Italian designer Mario Trimarchi showcases how to translate intuition into designs through his delightfully abstract sketches on this week’s UNSCRIPTED episode. Regarded as one of the last designers from the “freehand generation”, Trimarchi believes in the process of sketching and tracing the genesis of an idea before freezing it in time as intrinsic to his love for the ‘product’ that he wants to profess. The ‘sound’ of a sketch lends him his impeccable rhythm.
Episode 25: UNSCRIPTED with Paul Cocksedge
Creative chronicles of a new father
From dreaming of becoming a pilot to realising he is actually scared of flying, a career in design happened serendipitously for Paul Cocksedge. Looking into the London-based designer’s life on UNSCRIPTED, one discovers a refreshing perspective on scale, and imaginative ways how repetition and routine can become great sources of creative energy.
Episode 26: UNSCRIPTED with Yves Béhar
The ocean is my happy place
In this UNSCRIPTED episode, Swiss industrial designer Yves Béhar reflects on his secret tryst with writing and why water means ‘a moment of zen’ for him.
Episode 27: UNSCRIPTED with Arik Levy
A Crystalline Candescence
This week’s UNSCRIPTED episode sees artist and designer Arik Levy bring the best of two worlds together with his unique brand of design, humour, and freedom. Talking about his tactile dreams and crystalline sculpting, Levy’s exposition in his beliefs came second only to his enthusiasm in explaining them, with visual elucidations ranging from the molecular to the cosmos. Levy’s designs blur the boundaries between art and utility, ranging from fluid to sharply angular and well defined, crystalline in form. His most well known works including Rockgrowth, Crater, Marien152 for Coalesse, Voyage for Vitra, and North and Sticks for Vibia, manifest his continually evolving design journey, flexing his “uncontrolled muscle” of creation.
Episode 28: UNSCRIPTED with Sabyasachi Mukherjee
Unraveling the magic of clichés
For Indian couturier Sabyasachi Mukherjee, the most magical days of his life constitute going to school on a boat, directing a play when he was in grade three, cutting his father’s socks to make bodycon dresses for his sister’s dolls, and taking little picnics while growing up in an old British mill in Kolkata. In this episode, he narrates stories of dreams, drama, and decadence, and shares why ubiquity inspires him.
Episode 29: UNSCRIPTED with Bethan Laura Wood
Colours of Composure
From kitschy flea market finds to her dreamy sartorial obsessions, discover interesting nuggets about the bold and beautiful, London-based designer Bethan Laura Wood.
Episode 30: UNSCRIPTED with Michele De Lucchi
A Fundamental Irony
On the veteran architect and designer’s 70th birthday, STIR engages with Michele De Lucchi, gauging his curiosity, his fascination with wood, and what keeps him going. Amusingly resurrected during the chat by his pen that he carries with him always, De Lucchi finds his respite in sketching, writing, sculpting, and creating wherever he goes, finding inspiration in irony: a process he considers fundamental.
Episode 31: UNSCRIPTED with Satyendra Pakhalé
The Truth of the Matter
A closer look at the life of Amsterdam-based Indian designer Satyendra Pakhalé, his love for painting, and his sacred trust in the power of curiosity, reveals this UNSCRIPTED episode.
Episode 32: UNSCRIPTED with Piero Lissoni
A Curious Cocktail of Disciplined Anarchy
Reflecting on his ‘anarchist’ youth, love for skiing, and penchant for designing ‘uncomfortable’ things, the Italian architect and designer illuminates the ins-and-outs of what it means to be the man, the myth, and the legend that is Piero Lissoni, over the course of this UNSCRIPTED conversation.
Episode 33: UNSCRIPTED with Marc Sadler
A stoic who got lucky
Looking beyond work, the 75-year old, Milan-based industrial designer looks back to the majestic personal journey he has had: from meeting his beautiful wife Paola 25 years ago and building a life together, to his 1967 road trip from Paris to India, his idiosyncrasies as well as a passion for painting and photography. Lucky as he says that he has been all along, always at the right place and at the right time, we find the soft undiscovered side of him in this 19 minute-episode.
Episode 34: UNSCRIPTED with Javier Mariscal
Understanding the world, a drawing at a time
In his UNSCRIPTED chat, the multidisciplinary artist and designer fondly reminisces about his youthful struggles, association with the Memphis Group, and obsessive desire to comprehend the world armed with a pencil in his hand.
Episode 35: UNSCRIPTED with Marcantonio
Toying with love
The Italian designer chats about his passion for sculpting functional toys for adults, his soulful connection with nature, and why art helps him understand the feeling of sweetness.
Episode 36: UNSCRIPTED with Matteo Cibic
The curious case of a funny raconteur
In this episode, the jovial Italian designer Matteo Cibic chats about the serious side of him discussing why he never gets people’s misconception of him being uncommitted to work.
Episode 37: UNSCRIPTED with Marco Piva
In search of the new
A firm believer that success is about following as much as possible one’s dreams even if one is not on the front page of every design magazine of the world, Milanese architect Marco Piva gets up close and personal with STIR in this 18-minute video conversation where he chats about the influence of Milan on his upbringing, memorable encounters from his student days at the Politecnico di Milano from where he studied architecture, and creative disciplines that inspire him.
Episode 38: UNSCRIPTED with Rossana Hu
Of silence, search, and serendipity
Chinese architect Rossana Hu opens up about the goodness of her strict upbringing, and how her five-year maternity leave has helped her connect with the experiences of other women.
Episode 39: UNSCRIPTED with Sebastian Herkner
Patience in the Era of Ephemerality
The prolific German designer opens up about his childhood, early creative pursuits, and time interning under Stella McCartney while sharing his views on ‘slow’ design, and his growing collection of souvenirs at home, in his UNSCRIPTED episode.
Episode 40: UNSCRIPTED with Fernando Campana
When spontaneity nurtures the garden of life
Brazilian architect Fernando Campana talks about his curiosity in space and cinema, and his journey to becoming a designer who trusts creative chaos and an unprogrammed life.