Exhibited all over the world and many times rewarded, the creations of Daniel Germani stand out for their innovative character. The Argentinian architect and designer, however, adopts a very simple philosophy: good design is above all honest and inspiring. La Presse took advantage of his visit to Montreal for the launch of his collection of composite stones, Pietra Kode, to hear him talk about design, sophistication, durability and… imperfections.
My approach is timeless. If what I create is still beautiful in 10 years, I have succeeded; if it’s dated, I failed. I design furniture, glassware, ceramics, rugs, outdoor kitchens… My playground is vast, but the same criteria applies at all times: durability.
The dilemma is always the same when it comes to sustainable design: what lasts is often not affordable. But what do we do with all that furniture that dies after two years? We have to put an end to this cycle of designing to design. How many more sofas do we need?
I think the pandemic has helped us clean up our environments. We realized that the people we thought were important in our lives may not be so important, like all those things we thought were essential. My husband and I wore the same pair of shoes for 10 months. It puts things into perspective.
I have an architectural education and an MBA. I have thought a lot about design cycles by evaluating how much it costs to design an object and how much it is used once designed. I am more selective. I am 60 years old. I’m at a point in my life where I can decide not to compromise. If a project isn’t bright in all aspects, including working relationships, what’s the point? I take more and more pleasure in teaching. If I can influence a single student, it is a constructive impact for the future.
Technology allows us to design more efficient and versatile materials. We now find velvet and leather that are resistant to outdoor conditions. I think technology will increasingly blur the boundaries between the inside and the outside. A piece of furniture can be used both outside and inside the house.
I enjoy working with different materials — wood, glass, aluminum… — and exploring in depth what they have to offer. I can’t point to a single source of inspiration. It is rather the sum of all the images and sensations that I have been able to record, unconsciously or not, whether traveling or in my daily life. Inspiration is sometimes in the details: the reflection of a building, the way a person dresses and moves… We collect an arsenal of images that intersect in context to generate an idea. I always tell my students to let go of their screens and keep their eyes peeled.
This one [Ceppo CK07] because it’s the most irregular. I find that flaws are often what give character to an object and make it interesting. This is true in all aspects of life. I find perfection rather boring! I have many flaws, but I live a beautifully imperfect life. All of my experiences—good or bad, and more bad than good—taught me what I know today and shaped me. In this stone, there are more or less large fragments of stone. It is also a beautiful metaphor for society. Everyone contributes to the beauty of the whole, regardless of whether they are rich, famous, powerful or not. When we do good, the whole benefits. We are singular parcels of imperfections and we each have a role to play.
– Daniel Germani is a multidisciplinary designer specializing in product design and interior design and architect on various renovation projects. – His creations are exhibited all over the world and have obtained international esteem. His unique signature is influenced by the Bauhaus, Oscar Niemeyer, Le Corbusier, Mies and Frank Lloyd Wright, at the crossroads of American and European design cultures.– He is creative director for various international brands of products and furniture, and is also at the head of his own creative studio. Since autumn 2022, he has been teaching as a visiting professor at the European Institute of Design (IED), in Milan.
The Pietra Kode collection is the result of a third collaboration between Daniel Germani and the Spanish leader in composite stones Cosentino. It reinterprets the beauty of three timeless Italian stones: Vicenza, Travertine and Ceppo di Gré. Made of Dekton®, an ultra-compact compressed mineral that is scratch, stain, UV and thermal shock resistant, they can be used both indoors and outdoors and on many types of surfaces, unlike with natural stone.
“It’s a long and expensive process, and much more complex than you might think. Between 30 and 40 versions of each stone were needed before arriving at the final result”, underlines Daniel Germani, who has dedicated himself to decoding the history of the original stones in Italian architecture to better reimagine them in a contemporary design. “The problem with this material is often the repeating patterns. We work in order to obtain nuances. A texture is also present in the very body of the product, and not just on the surface.
Germani’s previous collections had an industrial character. Pietra Kode is more classic. “I stayed away from the veining that we have seen a lot in recent years and which is, in my opinion, a garish vision of luxury. This collection is serene, more brutalist. It blends into the environment without jumping in your face and will stand the test of time. It reproduces the stone in its perfect imperfection. »