Monica Graffeo, industrial, interior and graphic designer, was born in 1973 in Pordenone, where she lives and works. With a background in the Humanities, Monica approached the world of design in 1996, with a diploma and a Master’s degree from the Scuola Italiana Design of Padua, where she also taught for several years.
Having worked alongside Fausto Boscariol and Gabriele Centazzo of Valcucine, in 1998 she opened her own studio and started collaborating directly with leading companies in interior design, office furniture, accessories, bathroom decoration, lighting, and “design for all”. She is a consultant and art director for various companies, e.g. Geelli, Rexa Design, Ever Life Design by Thermomat, and Caccaro.
When asked to name her influences, Monica mentions the giants of Italian design, such as Bruno Munari, Enzo Mari and Vico Magistretti; however, she also lists the cinema of Kieslowski and Fellini or Wittgenstein’s philosophy among her main sources of inspiration.
“My designs always start with a long period of analysis and research, that can even be conceptual,” says Monica. “For example, I take pleasure in unearthing books on the topic I’m working on, because they provide unexpected interpretative prompts. You need to be a Renaissance man to be a designer.”
One of the first projects on which her reputation was built is the Boum chair system, designed for Kristalia, which is still one of the company’s most iconic products. With Boum, Monica was awarded the first prize in the Young&Design competition of 2003.
Unearthing unconventional materials, while exploring the unlimited potential of familiar ones: there lies the key for the creation of innovative and never mundane objects.
This is how Monica came to use polyurethane in the Mints chair (Arflex, 2003), resin in the Lazy Mary armchair (Disguincio, 2005) or felt in the Steps system (Lago, 2008). And that’s also how the research on the infinite potential of Corian® (for Rexa Design) came about.
“I’ve always had a soft spot for the transfer of materials from one sector of application to another,” says the designer. “Nowadays, however, I’m moving away from this procedure, as I feel that it has become rather stale: companies abuse the concept and use it solely as a sales tool. This leads to situations where the new material is often foreign to the product it is used for, which looks and feels contrived.”
Monica’s most recent projects include the furniture and objects created for the Ever Life Design brand of Thermomat, a non-medical solution for furniture designed for people with disabilities, which is – at long last – rendered appealing and full of personality.
Monica tells us: “I have a messianic vision of design: I believe it is a powerful tool that can lead us to a better world.” “Re-thinking objects from a design point of view is for me like going back to the source, to the utopian fantasies I harboured at the start of my career, but with the increased awareness and practicality born of years of experience.”
Discover the project of Monica Graffeo
“In this field, there are few companies like the MCZ Group,” says the designer. “Some of its brands, such as MCZ and Sergio Leoni, have long freed stoves from their purely functional scope. Design can thus become a part of a more complex approach to the project, placing emphasis on the potential of the object in itself, which has a special place in collective imagination, charged with strong emotions linked to memory, the willingness to listen, the ability to share.”
Maria Sofia is the modern take on the classic style of the Sergio Leoni brand.
The plasticity and sensuality of handcrafted ceramic are exalted with a jewel texture, in which light is refracted with an iridescent effect. Form is minimal, rendered precious by metal inserts.
Handcrafted ceramic is physically touched by the hand of the craftsman. This touch is perceivable and gives it a tactile physicality and an objective difference compared to other materials.