In this interview, Verona-born architect Paolo Richelli describes his relationship with DiamArt and micro diamond surfaces. "DiamArt", says Richelli, "is an opportunity to delight in luxury and elevate beauty."
Paolo Richelli is an architect who worked with DiamArt to create a Jewel-toned furniture that's in a class of its own. The unique piece was made to order for a customer. But the project is much more than that: it's a milestone in a journey which is taking the Verona-based company to a revolutionary role in the luxury sector. A world that we should all learn to love, as Richelli explains in this interview.
What's your style, and what are the guiding principles in your work?
To answer that question, we have to make a distinction between my personal choices and those dictated by my clients' needs. My own private preferences and those of my customers. Between the two, there's obviously a middle ground, which is a large part of my work. I love all styles, and I like to understand them. I love decor. I prefer eclectic styles and a variety of interpretations: modern, classic and cross-fertilisations. My design is extremely varied; I don't like to put limits on creativity. Balance is essential: one excess detail and the elegance is lost. I like to salvage old things, allowing them to settle with my tastes, and then making them into something new. It's different when the client asks me for something specific or has a strong aesthetic impulse: then I have fun, using my creativity to support the client in their quest for beauty. And that's what happened with DiamArt. It was because of a specific request from a client - who was smitten with micro diamond surfaces - that I came across this new product, which I immediately realised would fit right into the world of emotions, the luxury sector, allowing me to create a unique piece of inestimable value.
What most impressed you about micro diamond surfaces? How do you see micro diamond surfaces used in the world of interior design?
DiamArt micro diamond surfaces instantly impressed me because they overcome many of the limitations on the decorative techniques currently available, and are very different from everything we've seen before. They're in line with sparkling, shiny decoration, but light years from crazy artificial solutions that slip easily into kitsch; micro diamond surfaces are bearers of emotion. Just like diamond itself, they embody luxury in the broadest, deepest and most noble sense, associated with things of true value: precious stones, knowledge, the maker's art and pleasure itself; they’re satisfying to the eye, the touch and the intellect. DiamArt fits perfectly in this description, thus becoming a new solution to heighten beauty and value in interior design too.
In terms of your designs decorated with DiamArt micro diamond surfaces, what cords were vibrating, what feelings inspired them?
Diamonds are synonymous with exquisite beauty, distinction, exclusivity and self-representation. I saw all this the minute my hand touched DiamArt micro diamond surfaces. A potential that’s concrete, not solely representative. A taking to extremes; I dreamed up a thousand applications for micro diamond surfaces. I immediately wanted to unleash my creativity: countless options for design, production and execution. I imagined Louis XIV: vision, power, grandeur. The perfect combination. It was an extraordinary opportunity that allowed me to conceive and create an item of furniture/jewellery with a beating heart, which interprets luxury as a genuine value and bearer of joy, never falling into banality and kitsch.
Tell us about the design: how did you plan it, how did you make it? How did you reconcile the design and the innovative character of the material? The genesis of a unique piece.
Square was a challenge. I wasn't yet familiar with micro diamond surfaces, which continue to evolve today. The guiding theme underlying the work is my deep belief that micro diamond surfaces should be used to embellish details. It’s an idea that never fails. The details, the nuances. Hence the idea of decorating the hinges rather than the doors. Elegance, simplicity and minimalist lines. The use of an iconic metal like brass for a large flat surface, and the application of rectangular mosaic-style tiles of various sizes and thicknesses to form a geometry designed to create an alternating play on light. The effect is luminous and reflective. I never wanted to go further on the item itself, but I did on the details; I wanted to create a wonderful effect. And all thanks to diamonds.
What did DiamArt represent for you, and how was the synergy and collaboration on the resulting pieces?
On me the effect was enormously attractive, explosive. It set my imagination alight: new frontiers for luxury and the interior decor of prestigious venues with fairytale atmospheres. Luxury of luxuries. I envisaged all this, because it's what I can see. But to achieve such results, you need solid foundations, in both human and business terms. Pragmatism, sacrifice, an aptitude for experimentation. The value is the culmination of an extremely high-quality artisan process which combines technology and experience. DiamArt is all this. And our collaboration was a constant motivation to overcome limits. I've always believed that Elisa Ferrari and the entire team are backed by expertise and professionalism, so they're capable of anything. A huge and shared desire to overcome the application limits, which DiamArt always seeks to remove, and often succeeds.
Can you tell us what it was like to work with diamonds; the wonderful aspects and the challenges you faced?
When I'm designing, I'm given a topic to reflect on. It often happens that the initial idea is the right one. And that's what happened here. The creativity in each of us is the mediation and metabolisation of our own culture, our education and our life. The balancing point is like an image of a woman wearing a solitaire ring and a pair of pendent earrings. If I imagine a Maharajah, I've gone way too far. The point I come back to is always the detail; an aesthetically valid outcome can become thrilling with the right touch. The challenge was coming up against an unknown world, as yet to be explored, and being one of the first, thus helping to develop the potential of DiamArt, which is constantly evolving. I fell in love with the tactile effect of diamond and micro diamond surfaces. Not appearance, real value. There's an enormous and absolute difference. We're talking about another level, in every way. To say it with an image, it's an elegant sparkle that doesn't dazzle, but adorns and embellishes.
Do you have ideas for more projects with DiamArt? What's driving you these days?
Yes, I'd like to work with DiamArt micro diamond surfaces again. Now I could even use them on rounded shapes, for example, because the technical difficulties have been resolved. In the world of design, we need real luxury, not pale imitations. With DiamArt, I don't see any limits, apart from physical ones. Personally I'd like to continue with details; I always think of small surfaces, accents, curiosities, emotions, specifics, points of light. Looking closely at the expanse of tiny stones, I see a galaxy, like a nebula revealing itself, a shining universe of infinite possibility. Diamonds evoke a world of feelings; they're precious, but they also represent part of human history and - above all - the incredible formation of our planet. The result of geological processes. The origins of matter. The cosmos. Perceivable by all. Diamonds are a leap backwards into the mystery of creation. Working with micro diamond surfaces means approaching the deepest mystery: existence itself. Gold and diamonds go right back to the beginning; they contribute to and convey a range of emotions that belong to a type of luxury that everyone wants and needs, but not everyone can achieve.
In these DiamArt collections, the micro diamonds are in the form of:
* Natural micro diamond, in its traditional clear and transparent form.
DiamArt collections are available in Classic version (micro diamonds of diameter 0.15 mm) and Superior version (micro diamonds of diameter 0.25 mm).
Website Arch. Paolo Richelli: https://www.architettorichelli.com/