Gaia Giotti, Giona Scarselli, Christina Razzanelli and Marco Popolo are the braintrust behind E-GGS – a Florentine design studio specialising in design "with a transversal approach". E-GGS' unique orientation to design rigour spans across the studio's entire practice, encompassing product design, interiors and architecture.
Founded in 2013, E-GGS to this day carries a distinct hallmark of capturing the unusual in everyday life. With a bold vision to explore new forms of materials hand-in-hand with new sculptural forms of expression, E-GGS takes necessity as the springboard of imagination. Right after they left the E-GGS laboratory to head over to Milan, we caught up with Gaia, Giona, Christina and Marco to find out more about the brand's creative practice.
What key ranges or products have you designed for Salone this year? And for who?
We will present 13 new products in Milan this year. For True Design we will expand the Not family with the lounge chair and the small armchair. And for Miniforms we have designed Mariolina – their first chair in polypropylene – the Iola chair and armchair in moulded polyurethane. Our newly developed Mula a chair also explores the design possibilities of moulded polyurethane, and we're excited to showcase this innovation at Salone this year.
For Ton we have expanded the family of the award-winning Leaf chair with the new stool. For Novamobili we have designed two night systems: Cube and Giro-Giro. For Bontempi Casa we designed the Pica sideboard and the Long Island lounge chair. Calligaris will present three of our products: the family of tables Puro, Kim modular mirror and the Lino candle holders.
We are definitely exhibiting A LOT at Milan this year, but we're looking forward to celebrating these collaborations and the broadening portfolio of E-GGS' experimental and creative skills.
Were all of these products designed for a specific need or sector in mind?
This always depends on the type of company we are working with at any point. Often we receive specific briefings that mainly require technical skills, but sometimes we propose products that we consider interesting for the growth of the company and in this case we often have to propose unexpected products.
Is this the first time that they’ve been shown in Milan? What about elsewhere?
Our studio was founded in 2013 and our products have been shown in the main European fairs. The Leaf chair has been very successful in Europe, winning prestigious awards including the German Design Award and the Red Dot Design Award. This year with Calligaris our products will be presented in the United States at Neocon in Chicago next June.
Can you briefly describe the design intent behind these new designs in the E-GGS portfolio?
What we try to do is understand what the function of a product should be, in relation to the expectations of a company and its production capabilities. But we also counterpoint this with analysing the changes in society that are lead us to work and move in a different way. Each of these considerations plays an important role in the creation of a product and often its aesthetics expression emerges as the result.
What is the personality of your brand?
We are E-GGS and so this means that we're full of surprises!
What is the trait you appreciate most in an object of design?
Definitely constructive and communicative coherence.
And, what is the trait you deplore most in an object of design?
Superficiality, inaccuracy, discordance.
What is the trait you appreciate most in a designer?
The ability to transform a constructive problem into a beautiful detail.
And what is a trait you deplore the most in a designer?
The cult of personality.
What does design happiness mean?
Follow a project in every phase, from the first idea to the design of the final packaging.
What does design misery mean?
Non-communication between company and designer.
Which stands at Salone do you always visit?
We hope not to miss a single one this year!
What are you expecting to see quite a lot of at Salone this year?
Padded chairs and armchairs but also many accessories like side-tables or shelves system.
At the recent 2018 inaugural press conference for Salone, Stefano Boeri commented on the place of Milan within the global imagination of design.“As you go about the world, you realise just how unique this small very intense metropolis is. Milan is a unique city that has managed to create a miracle. The hard work and innovation of the business world, the creative risk of the designers, the desire to invent new spaces – all this has gone into making Milanese and Italian design legendary and is still, even now, a crucial key to deciphering Milan.”In your personal opinion, what place does Milan hold for the future of design on the global stage?
In terms of design, Milan is the centre of gravity. Over the years it has enhanced its global appeal, and seeing the latest developments in the city in terms of urban planning, still seems to be going in this similar direction.
One of the biggest conversations surrounding Salone this year is the importance of collaboration and team-work to the practice of design. Recently, Giuseppe Sala commented: “Nobody should think they are better than the others, nobody should think they can do without the help of others. The Salone is the best mouthpiece for the enterprising, young, concrete and visionary spirit of the city of Milan.” What does the concept of ‘collaboration’ mean to your company, your design process, and the success of your brand?
Our study is in some ways a novelty. We are a horizontal office, no hierarchy among us. Ideas bounce from head to head and every time something shared is born. Collaboration is central to what we do, and central to how E-GGS approaches creative practice.
Each year, one of the most surprising things that designers notice travelling through Salone is just how much the lines between sectors is continuing to blur. Commercial design is being heavily influenced by the hospitality sector; the residential space is being influenced by the design thinking behind offices for examples. What, for you, is especially interesting about this cross-sector conversation?
This is part of a substantial change in social dynamics. We are forced to work longer time periods all around the world. As a result, our houses are becoming almost a place just for sleeping or spending holidays. That's why the offices are turning into more domestic environments, places where you can eat, rest or seek leisure too. Undoubtedly, it is an extraordinarily interesting aspect that already today is producing very stimulating products in terms of design.