Roberto Palomba and Safak Francesco Fila talk about the collaboration between studio Palomba Serafini Associati and Ideal Standard.
For over a century Ideal Standard has been one of the leading international players for bathroom products. Palomba Serafini Associati is one of the most acclaimed studios in the sector. The meeting between the company and the studio was only a matter of time and will lead to the creation of new contemporary collections inspired by the company's historical products. We talked about this collaboration with the architect Roberto Palomba and with Safak Francesco Fila, the new Commercial Leader of Ideal Standard.
How was it like dealing with the story of Ideal Standard?
Roberto Palomba: Ideal Standard has a very important heritage. It is a brand that talked about design in Italy when this word had not yet entered the common vocabulary. The company has collaborated with architects capable of interpreting their time like Gio Ponti, Achille Castiglioni, Paolo Tilche, Gae Aulenti, etc.. We are talking about the absolute protagonists of the post-war design world. What they produced was a great revolution that allowed Italy to live in a civilized way. In 1948 only 48% of homes had bathrooms. The great thing is that some of the products of that time are still in the Italian homes and are still working. We can say that it is a company that has a very strong, almost familiar, historical relationship with society.
Safak Francesco Fila: What Ideal Standard is undertaking is a very interesting challenge. We are determined to take up the values that have made us strong over the years, propose them again and make them current to start a process of systematic, strategic and balanced innovation. Innovation is the way to evolution and we want to reach it starting from our past to transform it and look to the future.
How the collaboration between the company and the Palomba Serafini Associati studio is going?
R.P. At the beginning of this cooperation I found myself in front of cabinets full of technical drawings and sketches and I thought that to start again with a project of innovation you can not ignore this heritage. The first step was to rebuild a relationship between past and future, between what has represented Ideal Standard and what may be its function in the coming years. It took me two years to recreate a sort of link between two worlds.
S.F.F. The projects must be hypothesized, then visualized, built and put into practice. We have reached the stage where we have already visualized it, and now we are working to make it concrete and put it into practice.
R.P. The existing products "only" needed to be modernised and rethought in order to rediscover their contemporary nature. Those we designed, starting from the classics of Ideal Standard, maintain a retro flavor but are completely contemporary products, because they follow production technologies, strategies and methods of use completely up to date. Now we head to the Salone del Mobile [April 21 to 26, 2020, ed], where we will present the new strategy of Ideal Standard, after the Conca series we will also work on other historical products such as the series Linda and Calla.
Architect Palomba, can you tell us about the re-edition of the Conca washbasins?
R.P. Conca washbasins are the first collection we wanted to include in the new catalogue. They are inspired by the legendary project by Paolo Tilche, who in the 1970s designed a soft ceramic basin where water deposits in an almost natural way. We started with the re-elaboration of characteristic shapes and details, such as the small rise between the edge of the washbasin and the top of the faucet, but to renew it we had to completely re-proportion it, working by reduction and subtraction.
Using modern production techniques, we can work with much thinner ceramics, with a significant reduction in the amount of material, this also allows a significant reduction in environmental impact and savings in production. We are keeping the same kind of attitude on all the products of the new collections.
What are the company's future objectives? And what does the Together for Better mission mean?
S.F.F. The ambition of the Atelier Collections project is to bring Ideal Standard back to the levels reached in the Second World War. Over the years some values, products and mechanisms were lost and now we are putting them back into action with conviction. To do this you need not only a clear vision, but also to work with the right people who know how to transfer these values to suppliers and customers.
Together for Better does not only mean that "people make a difference", but it also means broadening the horizon to all those who are in contact with the company: suppliers, customers and all stakeholders to create a cohesive whole. The human factor is the key to success and it is up to us to try to convey the key messages and values of the company. It is crucial to share our values with the younger generations, the people who will choose which bathroom to use in the future.
- Ideal Standard