Loto and Ninfea, Solids and velvets


Design bu Ludovica + Roberto Palomba

Objects that furnish a home must have the power to generate emotions, activate our senses and stimulate our curiosity», say designers Ludovica+Roberto Palomba. A couple, architects and creative designers, both at work and in their personal lives, with names fairly and unequivocally linked by a mathematical sign, they have designed industrial items for Zanotta for the past 7 years. And what strikes the eye is the care for design and the “tailoring” attitude they apply to even the “smallest” project. Their approach is studied to reveal the fusion of “good design”, focus on end-user demands and a contemporary vision of society and emerging trends. Regarding the recent project designed for Zanotta – the coffee tables Loto and Ninfea (2009) – they say: «We are fortunate to use a stimulating material like Cristalplant©, which has led to the creation of special multipurpose items. Loto and Ninfea concretise a powerful idea, the sense of touch: soft curves, edges that seem to have been manually carved by an invisible microchisel, and an overall effect of a shaped river stone. The fine edge highlights its pure form, while the surface creates a special material effect enhanced by a velvet feel. These special project features could only be obtained from a silky tactile material that recalled the sensual idea of function. Likewise, when designing the chair Dora (always designed for Zanotta in 2005, editor’s note), we wanted the seat to have a visually impressive volume that would be light to use, seamless and ideal to show off the ambiguous decorative fusion of polished and opaque. In that case polyethylene was the ideal material as it was resistant outdoors, rich and never cheap.» For Loto and Ninfea, a discussion with Zanotta led Ludovica+Roberto Palomba to choose the ultimate Cristalplant outdoor® for the top and legs. This version of the material functionally develops the resistance and water-repellent quality of the composite material. Since they are indoor and outdoor furnishing accessories, this has proven to be the most suited material as it is compact and homogeneous throughout its thickness. Furthermore, all surface damage can be repaired (e.g. scratches, burns and stains). The production process of Cristalplant© objects is highly innovative even for outdoor® items. The drawing is first defined in 3D and then a real scale prototype is created to construct the mould. The moulding process resembles injection moulding. The cavity is filled with the material, which becomes compact, undergoes catalysation and finally becomes solid. Being a “solid surface” material, Cristalplant© is processed until it reaches the desired shape. Solid velvet to be moulded as desired.