Article Originally Published On February 8, 2020
Influencing the world of high-fashion and interior design, Orlandi became one of the most influential personas of the Italian design industry. Curator, gallery owner, and art collector, the Italian Rossana Orlandi is the bridge of the world’s high-fashion and interior design industry!
Opened in 2002, the Galleria Rossana Orlandi became one of the must-visit spots in Milan for all design lovers since is considered one the best platforms for avant-garde design inspiration. During the Milan Design Week 2019, the inspiring design gallery was centered in the incredible ‘Ro Plastic Prize’ and the ‘Guiltless Plastic’ project, both raising awareness to sustainability. Keep on reading to know more about her life and work.
The goal of Ro Plastic award was to challenge and inspire designers around the world, by encouraging them to think of different and creative ways to use this material and bring awareness about our relationship with plastic. During this incredible event at Milan Design Week, the luxury design magazine talked to the inspiring Rossana Orlandi about their career and her inspiring initiative:
CE: What was the most challenging thing about opening your own gallery back in 2002, and how did you overcome it?
RO – When I opened my gallery, I found a nice space and I thought “What can I do inside?”. It had to design, I’ve always been a collector of art and design, my collection was in production and I think of design as a way to connect and see the world. So, when I found my place, it was all empty and without furniture and I thought “What should I do?”. So, for 2 years I just thought about it and started buying stupid things. Then, with Sebastian Wrong, I started to have real design pieces. Sebastian Wrong is the designer of the Spun Light, which has been put into production by Flos with enormous success. And that’s how I started. I began by doing an installation of things, that had enormous success. It started out with friends, then I went on with a design magazine, then a school… It has been super exciting since the beginning because designers started welcoming me with an enormous passion. That’s why I call my space “all design” because every talent is well accepted and welcome to join our family. And that’s my story.
CE: What drove you to switch from the fashion world into the design world?
RO: I work with a lot of emotion and the fashion world is super exciting, from high fashion to prêt-à-porter, always with new trends. But in the end, I was tired because, at the time, it was too much. The people change, there were problems and I thought it wasn’t my world anymore, I didn’t enjoy it.
CE: You created the ‘Ro Plastic Prize’ to inspire the design community and collected over 300 applications from 50 different countries. Were you expecting this kind of positive feedback?
RO: I wanted to involve the world because it’s a worldwide problem. So when I did my prize, I was super happy because I launched it in December and the deadline was March, so it was a short period of time. We had 315 proposals from 50 countries. The prize was open for everyone, everybody could join. The focus was to reduce plastic. Why did I do this? Because plastic is misused and abused. So the prize raises awareness to reduce, reuse and recycle. This is a strong message that everyone needs to follow because we are unaware of how to reuse and reduce, and how to manage plastic.
CE: About your project, Guiltless Plastic. Where did the inspiration come from?
RO: I saw a presentation about recycling plastic that made me think. One month after, we started to build this collection with beautiful pieces and thought “Why not translate this emotion, this disaster, into design?”. I think we absolutely have to reuse and think of other ways to deal with plastic.
At the end of the interview, Rossana Orlandi let a little piece of advice to the world’s design lovers, interior designers, and design students: “For the design world to do conscious design”.
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