by Jerry ElengicalNov 19, 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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Curated by Pramiti Madhavji (Consultant, Content Adviser, STIR), UNSCRIPTED is a STIR-original series of quick-witted video interviews with leading design professionals who give us an undiscovered peek into their lives. A melting pot of quests, revelations and quirks, the series releases a new episode every Sunday as designers reveal unheard and unknown nuggets from their lives, in response to 30 questions.