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.

by Anmol AhujaPublished on : Sep 24, 2021

“You take your rhythm from the sound of the pen. Drawing is a matter of rhythm: finding that rhythm, entering that rhythm, and staying in that balance.”

-Mario Trimarchi

Through every UNSCRIPTED chat with the best of the best in the design world, I have discovered that of the 30 odd questions the designer is asked, there is always that one definitive answer that may or may not be directly related to the question. The answer wherein the designer may be alluding to a pet peeve, a unique habit, or even a talisman, but lets slip an essential personality trait; and that is what has stayed with me once even the episode is released, weeks later. Strangely enough, for Italian designer and architect by education, Mario Trimarchi, that answer proved to be one on his sartorial choices. Upon being asked what he would wear to the launch of one of his products or to an exhibition of his own works, he responded saying something that would help him disappear into the crowd, believing that the objects should be the ones in focus.

  • Trimarchi enjoying time off at a beach in Sicily, his hometown | UNSCRIPTED with Mario Trimarchi | Interviews | STIRworld
    Trimarchi enjoying time off at a beach in Sicily, his hometown Image: Courtesy of Mario Trimarchi
  • Trimarchi moved to Milan to study at the Domus academy, and set up his eponymous design studio in the city | UNSCRIPTED with Mario Trimarchi | Interviews | STIRworld
    Trimarchi moved to Milan to study at the Domus academy, and set up his eponymous design studio in the city Image: Courtesy of Mario Trimarchi
  • From his time in Milan, Trimarchi made a number of connections that he cherishes, with people whose work he respects. Pictured here with Alessandro Mendini | UNSCRIPTED with Mario Trimarchi | Interviews | STIRworld
    From his time in Milan, Trimarchi made a number of connections that he cherishes, with people whose work he respects. Pictured here with Alessandro Mendini Image: Courtesy of Mario Trimarchi
  • Trimarchi with Michele De Lucchi, with the Samotracia copper motorbike for De Castelli in the background | UNSCRIPTED with Mario Trimarchi | Interviews | STIRworld
    Trimarchi with Michele De Lucchi, with the Samotracia copper motorbike for De Castelli in the background Image: Courtesy of Mario Trimarchi

In a similar vein of understatedness, his words exuded tranquility throughout the UNSCRIPTED conversation, and his works calmed instead of provoking. His succinct, unbridled love for the art of the product became even more prominent when Trimarchi advocated, with a near stoic outlook, that people needed to learn to love products: a form of love that he felt people had forgotten beyond the derivation of utility. As a testament to that and Trimarchi’s rather ‘object’ive  string of thought, the idea of people being buried with their ‘things’ in ancient cultures piqued his curiosity and gained his favour.

  • The Ossidiana coffee maker, for which Trimarchi won the Compasso D’oro, is his most iconic product | UNSCRIPTED with Mario Trimarchi | Interviews | STIRworld
    The Ossidiana coffee maker, for which Trimarchi won the Compasso D’oro, is his most iconic product Image: Courtesy of Mario Trimarchi
  • Ossidiana concept sketch by Mario Trimarchi | UNSCRIPTED with Mario Trimarchi | Interviews | STIRworld
    Ossidiana concept sketch by Mario Trimarchi Image: Courtesy of Mario Trimarchi
  • Trimarchi prefers sculpting his products to reality, and claims Ossidiana to be a step in a long interdisciplinary research project he has undertaken | UNSCRIPTED with Mario Trimarchi | Interviews | STIRworld
    Trimarchi prefers sculpting his products to reality, and claims Ossidiana to be a step in a long interdisciplinary research project he has undertaken Image: Courtesy of Mario Trimarchi
  • Swan Alessi by Hansa, Mario Trimarchi Design | UNSCRIPTED with Mario Trimarchi | Interviews | STIRworld
    Swan Alessi by Hansa, Mario Trimarchi Design Image: Courtesy of Mario Trimarchi

Hailing from Sicily, and carrying a big part of that legacy with him even now, Trimarchi claims to have grown up in a protected environment, surrounded by nature, where he claims he gets most of his inspiration from. That connection is instantaneously established for someone who glances through the maestro’s intricate sketches: through strokes, patterns, and repetitions, Trimarchi’s deft hand with a pen translates objects in nature into abstractions, and eventually inspirations for his products. For good reason, Trimarchi is hailed as one of the last designers from the “freehand generation”, while the designer himself underlines the importance of his ability to be able to translate intuition: the beginning of the beginning of the thought, on paper, freezing that thought in time. Currently operating out of his Milan studio, where he also founded his brand identity design studio, FRAGILE, along with Frida Doveil, Trimarchi still makes sure that a project’s inception finds a manifestation on paper first.

  • Drops Paşabahçe glassware design | UNSCRIPTED with Mario Trimarchi | Interviews | STIRworld
    Drops Paşabahçe glassware design Image: Courtesy of Mario Trimarchi
  • Hope, hands on design memories box | UNSCRIPTED with Mario Trimarchi | Interviews | STIRworld
    Hope, hands on design memories box Image: Courtesy of Mario Trimarchi
  • Strawberry Fields Forever trays set | UNSCRIPTED with Mario Trimarchi | Interviews | STIRworld
    Strawberry Fields Forever trays set Image: Courtesy of Mario Trimarchi
  • Sketches outlining the concept for Strawberry Fields Forever | UNSCRIPTED with Mario Trimarchi | Interviews | STIRworld
    Sketches outlining the concept for Strawberry Fields Forever Image: Courtesy of Mario Trimarchi

Trimarchi has designed an array of products that soothe the senses. However, none perhaps would be so instantly linked to him as the Ossidiana coffee maker for Alessi, for which he also won the Compasso d'Oro. Through the process of sculpting the iconic coffee maker, Trimarchi confessed how lucky he felt: being able to operate in his own multidisciplinary structure, ‘changing’ his profession every five years, “crossing borders” between art, sculpture, architecture, and design: both product and industrial design. To achieve his precariously balanced sense of self and design, one wouldn’t have it any other way.

  • Trimarchi is one of the last designers from the “freehand generation”, believing in the power of translating intuition through his sketches | UNSCRIPTED with Mario Trimarchi | Interviews | STIRworld
    Trimarchi is one of the last designers from the “freehand generation”, believing in the power of translating intuition through his sketches Image: Courtesy of Mario Trimarchi
  • Trimarchi’s FRAGILE Studio in Milan, which he founded with Frida Doveil as an innovator in brand identity design | UNSCRIPTED with Mario Trimarchi | Interviews | STIRworld
    Trimarchi’s FRAGILE Studio in Milan, which he founded with Frida Doveil as an innovator in brand identity design Image: Courtesy of Mario Trimarchi
  • Trimarchi is also a noted academician, and has served as director of the masters’ design program at Domus, and professor of brand design at NABA | UNSCRIPTED with Mario Trimarchi | Interviews | STIRworld
    Trimarchi is also a noted academician, and has served as director of the masters’ design program at Domus, and professor of brand design at NABA Image: Courtesy of Mario Trimarchi

An undeniable facet of his personality, and one I would say comes quite naturally, would be Trimarchi’s academic persona. His sermonic articulation of his answers immediately brought forth Professor Trimarchi for us, and the conversation elevated to discourse. Having been director of the Masters’ programme in Design at the Domus Academy in Italy, also his alma mater, and a professor of Brand Identity at NABA, Trimarchi has regularly held prestigious academic roles with other world renowned institutions, professing his love for creation to a wide cohort of students. Despite that, his response to the question of a legacy was as stoic as one could imagine it to be. “We don’t do things because we want to be remembered. We do things because we must do them”.

What better way must there be to continue to STIR the future? A staged moment couldn’t have proven a better conclusion to the sagely session with Trimarchi.

All this and much more: click on the cover video to view the full conversation.

All photographs © Mario Trimarchi, unless stated otherwise. Images may not be downloaded, copied, reproduced or used in part or whole without obtaining permission. The photographs in this video are not licensed for personal, commercial or public use, or use in the public domain in any form.

UNSCRIPTED:
Curated by Pramiti Madhavji (Consultant, Content Adviser, STIR), UNSCRIPTED is a STIR-original series of quick-witted video interviews with 30 leading design professionals who give us an undiscovered peek into their lives. A melting pot of quests, revelations and quirks, the series spans 30 weeks with a release every Sunday as designers reveal unheard and unknown nuggets from their lives, in response to 30 questions.  

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