Diego Gugliermetto’s food inspired design won’t leave anyone indifferent. His enormous furnishings in the shape of cream puffs, cookies and chocolate bars will bring a smile to your lips and make your mouth water.
Shapes and colours that evoke a fantastic, almost magical world created by the Italian designer who invites us to “savour” every moment with his iconic pastry-shaped poufs and sofas. His food-themed creations are not only inspired by a love of design, but a passion for gourmet cuisine – which is something Gugliermetto loves to talk about.
What role does food play in your personal and professional life?
I make a profound distinction between the acts of eating to live and eating to enjoy: while eating daily meals are necessary, I admit to being rather a glutton, someone who’s always willing to try anything. It’s a side to my curiosity that I’ve always had: tasting a particular dish doesn’t just stimulate my sense of taste, but evokes all kinds of emotions, just like music does.
How did your idea for creating a food-inspired line come about? From your very own kitchen, perhaps, where we know there’s always some dark chocolate?
The inspiration came from a rather boring afternoon, when I was looking for some good ideas. I liked the thought of sitting on something that hadn’t been strictly created as a design object. That’s how the cream puff came about, and five seconds later, all the rest of it. That’s when I started looking at food with different eyes and a different idea of proportions. The hardest part was finding an image of each dessert that correlates to the one in everybody’s mind. There are thousands of shapes a chocolate bar can take, and it’s the same for a cream puff. I had to let my own memories go and try to create a “universal” aesthetic.
Why do you think your pieces provoke so much cheerfulness in people? Is it the shapes or colours, or is it the idea of food?
Some critics think that I’ve managed to tap into the primordial necessity that humans have ingrained in us. Certainly when one looks around at giant sweets that resemble real desserts, there’s an internal voice that says, “this can’t be possible”, but that gives up in front of the sensory evidence. It’s interesting to observe how the reaction is less intense in front of savoury images, maybe because they weren’t as “prohbited” in our childhood as sweets were.
What are the characteristics of the “taste experiences” you propose?
It’s a profound experience of synthesis – or, to better explain it, the activation of one sense (taste, smell, sight, touch, hearing), not directly but by using the others. In some exhibitions we scent the environment to heighten the “taste” sense, and the results are very surprising.
Do you have a new food related project? After sweets, vegetable and cheese, what will bring to the table (or to the living room)?
I’m heading towards dishes made of various ingredients, like a sofa inspired by a hamburger, with lettuce and tomato. And then, of course, the symbol of Italian food – spaghetti with tomato sauce. Naturally the seat will be the fork, held up by the strands of spaghetti. It’s hard, but not impossible.
Craving for a bite of Gugliermetto's pieces of furniture? Don't miss the occasion to have a look at his creations during the Milan Design Week - Fuori Salone: an exhibition will be hosted at the first floor of NHOW Hotel, via Tortona 35, from the 17 to 22 of April.