Behind a modern facade in Via Cerva, a small laneway in the middle of Milan, sits the studio of Antonio Citterio Patricia Viel and Partners. Operating over four floors and housing some fifty staff members – including architects, graphic artists and industrial designers – these offices are a creative hub, responsible for some of the world’s top design.
Antonio Citterio, an architect and product designer who founded the multidisciplinary practice with Patricia Viel in 1999, is something of a design icon. His talents have produced an impressive portfolio of hotels, residential premises, commercial projects and products ranging from furniture to bathroom accessories. His prolific but considered output has helped to shape a particular design aesthetic and has garnered him a legion of followers in the process. The man himself is a mirror of his design integrity: erudite, eloquent and humorous, not exactly self-effacing but with a humility that is unexpected and endearing.
Ushered into the boardroom of his laneway studio, I listened to Citterio speak about the fact that he does not have a uniform style. Rather, he endeavours to develop an individual style for each of his clients. Citterio’s job is to work for his clients, not to satisfy his own ego, and to find a design solution. Take, for example, the Bulgari Resort Bali, a hotel in Indonesia that sits perfectly in its surroundings and is sympathetic to the culture of the island, and the W Hotel in St Petersburg, where the design is modern and edgy, in keeping with the hotel’s brand.
As well as the plethora of commercial projects to his name, Citterio has designed numerous residential projects and has participated in many competitions worldwide. These days he strives to create an entire project, designing the architecture and interiors, and then incorporating his products, essentially acting as a one-stop-shop for clients. His furniture and accessory designs include collaborations with some of the best in the world, including furniture brands Kartell, MaxAlto and Flexform. Citterio’s practice is also behind designs such as the Frank sofa, Charles coffee table and Ottochair for B∞B Italia; the Luxlust pendant and Kelvin lamp for Flos; the Axor tapware range for Hansgrohe; and seating and office systems for Vitra.
This short visit to Citterio’s offices gave me an enormous insight into the man and his craft, and a greater understanding of his design ethos. Antonio Citterio is an architect and designer who is simply at ease with himself and his craft, something few are able to achieve.
Antonio Citterio Patricia Viel and Partners
Kartell, B&B Italia, MaxAlto, Flexform, Vitra
Supplied by Space Furniture
+61 2 8339 7588
Supplied by Euroluce
+61 2 9380 6222
Supplied by Hansgrohe
+61 3 9811 9971
Published online: 1 Sep 2012
Words: Jan Henderson
Artichoke, September 2012