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A conversation with Italian Architect Designer Roberto Palomba, founder of Palomba Serafini Associati Studio, on his collaboration with Ideal Standard: A vision to share

A conversation with Italian Architect Designer Roberto Palomba, founder of Palomba Serafini Associati Studio, on his collaboration with Ideal Standard: A vision to share


Ideal Standard’s Chief Design Officer, Roberto Palomba, shared with Harmonies Magazine, at Salone del Mobile’s 60th edition in June, the latest innovations in the company’s Atelier Collections, Ideal Standard Singular concept, their new design and specification center in Dubai, and more news.

At Salone del Mobile, Ideal Standard is showcasing Calla and Joy Neo, the latest additions to its award-winning Atelier Collections. Apart from being developed with flexibility in mind and possibly integrating them into varied interior styles, what is it that distinguishes this new collection?

Ideal Standard premium Atelier Collections mark ‘a new era’ in the brand’s design journey and ‘strengthen its long-standing design philosophy’. The collection includes several iconic ranges inspired by the brand’s heritage. Two of our latest additions to the Atelier Collections are exhibited at Salone 2022: Calla and Joy Neo.
The neoclassical Calla and Joy Neo collections are spectacular in their own ways. They mirror an outstanding marriage of heritage and modernity where innovation pieces together modern-day needs. Calla is a more classical range that is heavily influenced by Victorian ceramic while Joy Neo adds a touch of contemporary uniqueness, making the use of Calla ceramics and Joy Neo faucets quite versatile, and an especially elegant choice for contemporary minimalist interiors.
With Calla and Joy Neo, we do not intend to create what suits a classic interior; but rather collections that transcend eras and provide customers with the freedom to express themselves through an appealing fusion of adaptable elements.
One example of such fusion could be a bathroom with white walls and white resin, with the contrast of Calla and black Joy Neo. Such a design combination resembles the room in the 2001 movie A Space Odyssey where one sees the fusion between the classical and the futuristic.

When designing new lines, what do you try to keep in mind? What inspires new collections?

We focus on capturing the essence of design. Our aim is for every designer to find the right components for a perfect bathroom, combining products across different models, finishes, and sizes. We believe bathrooms should be more than just aesthetically pleasing; they also have to be functional and practical. Thus, we maintain a very simple approach in our creations where quality is paired with an intuitive design that has tints of the past. All the while, it reveals practicality, purity, and elegance which meet the needs of modern society.

Ideal Standard recently launched the Singular concept, a new approach bringing together the company’s deep product knowledge, sector expertise, and design services to enable customers to easily choose from thousands of products, to create the right solution for their space. What does this concept mean for Ideal Standard and the designers using their products?

To me, Singular is every designer’s toolkit while creating the perfect bathroom. Possibilities are wide, and designers find all the necessary components to create unique bathrooms. They have all they need: tools, accessories, faucets, ceramics, shower trays, bathtubs, and more. The only addition is their style which gives birth to that singular aspect.
We ensure that the goods we conceive fit together and once designed, they must align with other collections. Our mission is to pave the way for designers all over the world to create their designs with all the different elements, be it by using suggestions in our catalogues or by inventing new processes that require adding other components.
It is like tweaking a recipe and using different ingredients!

What ideas are being spotlighted for Salone’s International Bathroom Exhibition?

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Contemporary concept, sober and elegant lines, colors and muted tones resolutely in tune with the times, noble and quality materials… The multiple creations designed and sculpted by Terry Dwan have everything to seduce us. Take a look at this outstanding talent. An architect and designer at the same time, Terry Dawn has, for a long time, established his notoriety on the international scene, thanks to his remarkable style. Based in Milan, this native American but adopted Italian uses a language of her own. Born in 1957, in Santa Monica, California, United States, she began her career after studying engineering and architecture at Rice University, Houston, in addition to training in Fine Arts at Studio Arts Center International (SACI) in Florence, Italy. The designer, who won the Fulbright Fellowship to study the architecture of cemeteries and war monuments in Italy, graduated from Yale University in Architecture in 1984. After an experience alongside Antonio Citterio, with whom she collaborated from 1985 to 1996 and founded the Citterio/Dwan office, working on several projects and residential complexes, fairs and exhibitions, notably in Switzerland, Japan, Germany and Italy, she opened her own design agency in 1992 and got involved in great designs, whether in architecture or decoration. A book entitled Antonio Citterio & Terry Dwan: Ten years of Architecture and Design, signed by Pippo Ciorra, was published on the occasion of the exhibition that the duo organized in Bordeaux in 1993. At the same time, it multiplies design projects for the biggest publishers and won numerous awards at international competitions. In 1996, she began by developing industrial design plans for firms such as Sawaya and Moroni, Electrolux, San Lorenzo and Driade. An accomplished designer, she juggles with forms, materials and concepts, questions obvious codes, experiments and explores eclectic universes: from the architecture of private residences, public buildings and interior decoration, through the design and the from salon and exhibition design to furniture and porcelain or silver objects, she is interested in everything and comes out with flying colors. Marrying current vision with everyday functionality, some of her works are part of the permanent collection of the Design Museum at the Milan Triennale. Passionate, her career is marked by numerous explorations of the material where wood, her material of choice, occupies a privileged place. She enjoys working with it revealing its multiple aesthetic qualities, through several everyday basics, many models of which have become emblematic, such as Maui, seat in scented cedar wood, edited by Riva 1920, and the Napa armchair, object oscillating between functional piece of furniture and biomorphic sculpture, or even Implement, a desk composed of two juxtaposed and misaligned wooden boards. Her collaboration with Driade is crowned by the timeless Burgos and Bedda sofas. A sought-after speaker around the world, Terry Dwan has taught architecture at SACI, Florence, and co-taught architectural heritage conservation at the University of Milan. Since 2006, she has been Dean of the Council of the School of Architecture at Yale University and a member of the SACI Board of Trustees.

At Salone, we are exclusively previewing our innovative and visually striking flagship piece, Solos collection. Part of the Atelier Collections, Solos epitomize Ideal Standard’s Singular™ philosophy, showcasing fascinating harmony between pure, minimalist design and technical excellence. The seamless integration between the elegant fitting and sophisticated light basin is possible due to Ideal Standard’s leading expertise with both, ceramics and brassware, resulting in a graceful statement piece for the bathroom.
The Solos basin will be available in glossy black or white and can be combined with fittings in either cylindrical or square shape, as well as a wide range of premium metallic colors and modern matt finishes, including chrome, brushed gold or magnetic grey amongst others.

The new Ideal Standard Design and Specification Center in Dubai has opened on Happiness Street in the City Walk area. What inspired its design?

This new design and specification center is a unique experience for visitors who can do more than see products.
It was designed by Palomba Serafini Associati Studio under my supervision and is aimed at enabling interior designers, architects, and customers to find the right combinations of products to design their dream bathrooms.
The center, which spreads over 700 square meters, is a one-stop destination for all bathroom solutions and showcases our latest designs and innovations.
Our visitors can immerse themselves in the latest trends and inspirations with the strategically designed inspiration areas. The center illustrates the various aspects of the bathroom products, such as ease of installation and maintenance, water-saving aspects, and installation options.
With the center’s prime location in the City Walk area, facing Burj Khalifa, the space offers an experience both from the inside and the outside, and the windows definitely attract and inspire. I think it is going to be a very special place where people can visit and share their discoveries about what Ideal Standard has been creating for the next generation of products and bathrooms.

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