Q&A: Daniel Libeskind

Daniel Libeskind operates his architecture practice Studio Libeskind from New York and his product design studio Libeskind Design from Milan.

’s Gemma marks his second collaboration with Moroso. After working with the furniture brand on the table for the (MAI) late last year, Libeskind and Moroso joined forces to present Gemma, a geometrical chair, at this year’s Salone.

What was the starting point for Gemma?
Daniel Libeskind: I began with the things that I love: gems and the geometry of crystals which I have often as a source of inspiration for my architecture practice. I wanted to make a chair that is geometric, yet soft and easy to sit in. It is not a representative chair. I wanted it to be a very versatile idea from everyday life that can fit as effortlessly in the home, as the office and lounge. It should fit into many environments and that was the challenge. These fractal triangular forms really shape the entire chair. The material construction of fiberglass and foam make it soft, but industrial, and easy to produce. It is a good, practical chair.

How does your approach differ from product design to architecture?
In a way, it is architecture. It involves geometry, space, light and materials. Yet, in design, you really have to work with the ergonomic sense. It has to be something that is really comfortable – not just beautiful. Furniture is different. Architecture is about the larger idea of space. This is about a very intimate experience and it has to work in a very personal way.

From an architectural perspective, how do you feel the status of product design has changed?
I don't really do it as a designer, I do it as an architect. I think this is true for all architects, whether it is Mackintosh back in the Biedermeier period or the Renaissance. It's about creating something stable, strong and structural that is part of every day environments and the human body. It has to do with style and the idea of the total environment. When I designed this chair, I considered what I would like to have inside the buildings I create.

So you always consider the whole environment?
Absolutely. This chair is not just an ironic statement – it is part of the everyday.

Innovation is at the core of your process. Where do you look to for innovation?
You have to go beyond yourself to get to the cutting edge. I love working with Moroso because they are not afraid. Innovation is very important, without that you just have the repetition of going back through the catalogues and reviving 50s classics. Innovation has to do with modernity. I don't think sentimentality or nostalgia is ever going to help design. It is an illusion. For a minute it will be successful, then people will demand things that are of their time.

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