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    Mirei Monticelli

    Mirei Monticelli

    1. Where were you born and where are you from ?

    I was born and raised in the Philippines, and for the past 10 years, I have been living and working in Milan.

    2. What is your first memory connected to the art world ?

    My earliest recollection of the art world dates back to my time in kindergarten when I crafted a paper mache dog. The sheer joy of making a mess and fashioning something out of scraps of newspaper remains a vivid happy memory.

    3. Have you always worked in the art/design field ?

    I spent some years in the tech field, working with state-of-the-art technologies in augmented and virtual reality, however, I would still affirm that my career has always been closely aligned with the art and design field.

    4. What led you to the design creation ?

    The pursuit of meaning in my life has been the driving force behind my journey into design creation. This profound search for purpose has guided me to where I am today, passionately engaged in the world of design.

    5. How would you describe your creative process and it influences ?

    My creative process is characterized by its laid-back and organic nature. I prefer to avoid forcing ideas or restricting myself with deadlines when developing new products or concepts. This approach allows for a more natural and authentic expression of creativity.

    6. Could you describe a typical day of your work ?

    When I started out, my days were spent thinking of new ideas and making prototypes. Now I find myself on most days dedicating a significant portion of my time to hand-sewing and moulding banaca fabric into lampshades to fulfill client orders. My work routine also involves handling packaging tasks, responding to emails, taking photos, and visiting suppliers. To maintain balance, I make it a point to incorporate a brief yoga sequence into my day and savor a comforting cup of frothy matcha.

    7. Why did you choose the specific materials you work with ?

    I chose to work with banaca textile because of their distinctive materiality, which captivates me, and their profound connection to my cultural roots. Collaborating directly with the skilled weavers in the Philippines, a tradition my mother initiated two decades ago, holds personal significance. Motivated by the challenges faced by families on the disaster-prone island of Catanduanes, I am committed to continuing and expanding this initiative. Supporting the banaca weaving industry not only creates sustainable employment opportunities but also aims to preserve a valuable tradition. My hope is to inspire the younger generation to embrace and perpetuate this cultural heritage in the face of natural disasters.

    8. What are the technical particularities of your creations ?

    The technical particularities of my creations begin with the unique use of textiles for lamp designs, a less conventional approach in this field. I invent new techniques to impart volume and structure to the pieces, demanding meticulous handwork. The intricate nature of the process renders mass production impractical, emphasizing the craftsmanship and individuality of each piece. The inherent qualities of the fabric contribute significantly to the character of the lamp, imparting a sense of transparency, softness, and a feeling of lightweightness.

    9. What advices could you give to beginning artists who would like to create sculptural design works ?

    My advice to aspiring artists venturing into sculptural design is to stay true to themselves and discover what truly ignites their passion. By investing 100% effort into their craft, success will inevitably follow at some point.

    10. If your works had to belong to a design movement, in which one would you define it ?

    Classifying my works within a specific design movement is a challenging task, as they don’t neatly fit into any historical categories. However, if pressed to choose a favorite design movement, I definitely find a connection with Art Nouveau. The movement’s incorporation of organic elements from nature and ethereal characteristics resonates strongly with the essence of my work.

    11. What designers and artists have influenced you ?

    The designers who have notably influenced me include Zaha Hadid, Iris van Herpen, and Neri Oxman. Zaha Hadid’s innovative and groundbreaking architectural designs have inspired my appreciation for fluid and futuristic forms, pushing the boundaries of conventional structures. Iris van Herpen’s avant-garde approach to fashion, particularly her use of 3D printing and unconventional materials, has influenced my perspective on blending technology with artistic expression. Additionally, Neri Oxman’s work at the intersection of design, technology, and biology has sparked my interest in biomimicry and the potential for sustainable and nature-inspired design.

    12. What contemporary designers do you appreciate ?

    Nacho Carbonell’s work captivates me due to its whimsical and almost fantastical nature. His unique approach to furniture design, often resembling living organisms or sculptural forms, resonates with my interest in blending functionality with artistic expression. 

    Lindsey Adelman’s ability to create pieces that are both elegant and unconventional, often combining traditional craftsmanship with modern aesthetics, aligns with my appreciation for the interplay of tradition and innovation in design.

    David Wiseman’s ability to seamlessly integrate natural elements into his creations, whether it be through delicate porcelain or metalwork, resonates with my own fascination with the organic world.

    13. What contemporary artists (in any kind of art) have you been inspired by ?

    Yayoi Kusama’s immersive and avant-garde approach to art, particularly her iconic use of polka dots and repetitive patterns, resonates with my appreciation for the intersection of art and the viewer’s experience. 

    Olafur Eliasson’s mastery in his use of natural elements such as light and water to evoke emotional responses underscores my belief in the power of art to elicit profound feelings.

    14. If you had to summarize your creations in one word or sentence, what would it be ?

    My creations can be summarized as ethereal, organic, and flowy.

    15. Is there anything you would like to add?

    I’d like to thank Galerie Philia for this chance to reflect on who I am as a designer and where I am in my career

    Proust Questionnaire with very short answers (one or a few words) :
    (The Proust Questionnaire is a set of questions answered by the French writer Marcel Proust. Other historical figures who have answered confession albums are Oscar Wilde, Karl Marx, Arthur Conan Doyle, Stéphane Mallarmé, Paul Cézanne…)

    1. What is your idea of perfect happiness?

    To do what I love every day of my life

    2. What is your greatest fear?

    Losing any of my senses 

    3. What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?

    My laziness to fix my mess

    4. What is the trait you most deplore in others?

    People that are quick to judge

    5. Which living person do you most admire?

    My husband

    6. What is your greatest extravagance?

    Business class tickets 😀

    7. What is your current state of mind?

    Content because I finally found a place for my studio

    8. What do you consider the most overrated virtue?


    9. What is the quality you most like in a man ?


    10. What is the quality you most like in a woman ?


    11. Which words or phrases do you most overuse?

    « I have a weird idea »

    12. Which talent would you most like to have?


    13. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

    I would like to be more conscious about numbers

    14. What do you consider your greatest achievement?

    Building my own career and by following my own path

    15. If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what would it be?

    A silk dancer

    16. Where would you most like to live?

    A treehouse in the mountain overlooking the clouds with a crystal clear lake beside it

    17. What is your most treasured possession?

    My skills

    18. What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?

    Being lonely

    19. What is your favorite occupation?

    Artist 😊

    20. What is your most marked characteristic?

    My calm demeanor (most of the time)

    21. What do you most value in your friends?

    They keep me grounded

    22. Who are your favorite writers?

    Paolo Coelho, Neil Gaiman, Robert Greene

    23. Who is your hero of fiction?

    Darna, who is a well-known fictional superhero in Philippine culture.

    24. Which historical figure do you most identify with?

    Beatrix Potter due to her passionate pursuit of what she loved, her entrepreneurial foresight and her dedicated conservation efforts

    25. Who are your heroes in real life?

    My parents

    26. What are your favorite names?

    Demetria, Damiano

    27. What is it that you most dislike?

    People who brag a lot

    28. What is your greatest regret?

    Not taking seriously math classes 

    29. How would you like to die?

    In my bed

    30. What is your motto?

    I must create opportunities instead of waiting for them

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