Meneghello Paolelli Associati
Marco Paolelli and Sandro Meneghello, in addition to being product designers, are strategic consultants for industrial products.
They founded Meneghello Paolelli Associati in Milan in 2007. Since then, the studio has grown and now counts a team of collaborators in addition to the founders, as well as a series of project development and communications partners.
Since 2007, Studio Meneghello Paolelli Associati has partnered with Italian and foreign companies to create added value through product design. The drive toward innovation, in both concept and aesthetics, has never been the objective unto itself. “Anchoring innovation to the concrete quality of a need for functionality and beauty: this is our mission”.
As a testimony to this effort and the solidity of its approach, the studio has received numerous international recognitions, among which are 12 Red Dot Design Awards, including one “Best of the Best”, 7 Design Plus Awards, 3 Good Design Awards, 3 IF Design Awards, 6 ADI Design Index Awards, 4 special mentions for the German Design Awards and 5 mentions at Young&Design Award.
Why did you choose to work with this reality?
Unopiù is undoubtedly a reference point in the panorama of Italian companies dedicated to outdoor furniture. Right from the start we enthusiastically undertook this collaboration, also aware of the opportunity that the company's great know-how in creating innovative furniture projects, would have offered us.
Why design for the outdoor world?
It’s an area rich in stimuli and in profound transformation. The outdoor world today is a "hybrid" dimension in the sense that outdoor projects must be designed to be used indoors as well, but always with due care in the selection of materials and finishes. We immediately embraced these inputs, which are clearly visible in all our collections for Unopiù.
What made you chose to become a designer?
The path began at Milan Polytechnic with the choice of university, which at the time represented a clear dividing line between the mental rigidity that engineering represented for us and the excessive openness that architecture represented.
We have always been interested in shifting the emphasis from the "container" to the "content", and hence the inevitable focus on the product, the industrial product that surrounds and punctuates our daily lives.
Is there an element, which can be found in all of your designs?
We are always inspired by one principle: "Content is the king": the product as an effect of the design must always express a clear and tangible "content" of innovation, sometimes merely aesthetic, but increasingly we pay attention to details, materials and new production processes that can give a new meaning to the industrial product.
All our projects for Unopiù have this common denominator, none excluded.
In order to do this we don’t focus only and exclusively on the industrial sector of reference (in this case only on the outdoor sector), but through our research we draw from neighbouring or even completely distant fields (such as fashion, art, or different industries sectors) through a form of lateral thinking.
In this way we can see the object of the design as a new interpreter of the function to which we are trying to respond. Innovation also lies in a change of perspective.
What would you like to design but never did?
For us, the process and the path is more important than the individual product. We are interested in ranging and exploring new areas, always with a view to continuity and the relationship established with companies, a relationship that can be defined as a partnership.
What inspired you today?
The production processes behind the materials, looking at objects from a different point of view and therefore giving them a new value.
When during the day is your most creative time?
For Marco at 8 in the morning and for Sandro at 8 at night.
Do you still use sketchbooks?
Of course, sketching is a very important creative moment and it follows the whole design process, even though you move on to computer programmes obviously.
Do you have a magic place? Which one is it?
The great thing about this job is that inspiration can come from anywhere at any time. We have our own studio, but we think of it more as a place for sharing. Intuition can also come from walking around the city, travelling, watching a film or an exhibition. The magic, the quid that sparks you, comes from curiosity, which leads you to research and look further.
What does sustainability mean for you?
There is a lot of talk about this theme, and sometimes it is abused. Of course sustainability pass through research into innovative, environmentally friendly and appropriately certified materials and processes.
For us, however, sustainability is also an intangible value: it can simply lie in customer service, in the possibility of taking back products to provide assistance and allow them to be repaired and restored, or to ensure proper disposal. Ultimately, the durability of a product is the most sustainable concept there is.
If you look at the last collection for Unopiù, what do you see?
Great renewal in concepts, functions, materials. Our latest Urbn Balcony is an example. A system in the making, designed to meet different needs in a single space.
Meneghello Paolelli Associati designed for Unopiù