Lazzarini Pickering / Mobile Mobile
16.Feb.18 - 30.Mar.18
Via dei prefetti, 17
Notes from an interview with Claudio Lazzarini and Carl Pickering
«‘Mobile/Mobile’… Why on earth did you pick such an odd title?»
«Because it immediately communicates that the star of the show is a mobile rather than a work of art, that its authors are architects rather than artists.»
«Why repeat the word mobile?»
«Because mobiles are usually static; this one, on the other hand, is actually mobile.»
«Like a Calder-style mobile?»
«No, like a mobile…mobile.»
It begins an almost Dadaist conversation with Carl Pickering and Claudio Lazzarini, architects rather than artists (accuracy obliges), about this mobile/mobile with its severe lines and kaleidoscopic surfaces… A work that seems to have been generated by the explosion of an abstract and geometric painting, in the Bordeaux red of these rooms, resembling at times a veritable installation that toys with our perception by breaking up lines and multiplying reflections. Following in its parents’ artistic footsteps, one might say… even if the “a” word is best avoided.
For its creators, Mobile/Mobile was begat by design; it rigorously obeys the laws that classify it within the category of useful and utilizable objects. It was conceived, designed and built around two requisites: function and functionality. We should not, however, let this lead us into our habitual relationship with objects, in which they are seen as blunt and passive – here, function is not unitary, it doubles and multiplies.
Mobile/Mobile is a table and a dividing panel, a screen and a door. Closed in on itself, it is a discreet sentinel of the space that it surveys, divides, separates and protects. Once it is liberated by being unhitched from its small base, it becomes a table and a panel, a desk and a place of work. It has more than one form and two different faces, one an intense monochrome red, the other mirrored to blend in with the space and encompass people and objects. It is useful as an object, yet it is also a hybrid, a graft, one of the experiments into the genetics of design typical of Lazzarini&Pickering’s path.
Their fusions have begat unexpected new kinships, marriages of tables&lamps, beds&tables, screens&bookcases. Things that come together and break apart, reducing their dimensions and extending their spaces without renouncing their essence as useful, docile and necessary. Technical expertise is at the heart of this achievement. Multiform hinges, the oblique cut of the steel, and weights and counterweights are all indispensable for the surprise of discovering that it’s possible to shift the 200 kg heft of Mobile/Mobile with the tips of our fingers, making it glide softly on its base of mirrors, a small table as well as a stool, a simple foot or, if you like, an extension that in turn becomes an equally mobile mobile with a multitude of different personalities.
So, the tricky title conceals design, function and technique. Behind the play on words lies craft, albeit craft blended into a purely visual deception that liberates a swirl of intense red on the walls, heightened by the mirrored surface and redoubled by the table’s lacquered finish. It achieves this felicitous trick by betraying its function and distorting our perception. According to Lazzarini&Pickering, this is territory traversed not just by artists but by architects too (as many of their designs bear witness). A broad territory that embraces multiple disciplines and renders boundaries blurry and mobile…. or, perhaps we should say, mobile/mobile.
(text by A. Mammi)
Claudio Lazzarini and Carl Pickering founded the Lazzarini Pickering Architetti practice in Rome in 1982. Born in Rome in 1953, Lazzarini graduated in architecture from the “La Sapienza” University, where he studied with Ludovico Quaroni. Pickering was born in Sydney, Australia, in 1960. He moved to Italy in 1980, where he graduated in architecture at the IUAV University in Venice, studying under Gino Valle, Massimo Scolari and Peter Eisenman.
The practice has won international renown for successes in many fields of design, from urban master plans and architecture to refurbishing old buildings, restaurant and hotel design, nautical design, industrial design, graphics and branding. Lazzarini Pickering Architetti has won many prizes, including the AR+D Prize, Compasso d’Oro, the Gold Bundesrepublik Design Prize, the MilleniumDesign Award and the Dedalo Minosse Award. As well as working with major clients like Fendi, Valentino, Montblanc, Wally and Ferrero, the practice is currently developing and building projects in Italy, France, Switzerland, the UK, the USA, Lebanon, Montenegro, Australia and Indonesia.
The practice is behind the external styling and interior design of many revolutionary boats, including the sloop Wally 80 “Shaka” (Compasso D’oro 2008), and the Wally Power118, an icon of contemporary nautical design. Lazzarini Pickering Architetti has also designed furniture for Acierno (earning a Menzione d’Onore at the Compasso D’Oro 1998) and for Marta Sala Éditions. It has also made custom and limited-edition pieces for the Galleria Colombari di Milano. In 2012, the practice made its aeronautical interior design debut with the Falcon Dassault jet.
Two of the practice’s designs were showcased in 2004 at the 9th Venice International Architecture Biennale. In 2016, their experimental 45 sq.m. home was built and shown at the XXI Milan Triennale “rooms” exhibition. In 2017, Spazio FMG per L’Architettura of Milan dedicated an exhibition for the “In Dettaglio” show to the Lazzarini Pickering practice.
Claudio Lazzarini and Carl Pickering have been Visiting Professors at a number of international universities. They have also lectured for the “Ludovico Quaroni” Faculty of Architecture at the “La Sapienza” University of Rome. L’Architecture d’Aujourd’hui (France), Frame (Holland), Inside (Australia), Interni (Italy) and AIT (Germany) have all published monographs on the practice. In 2014, Quodlibet published a 264-page book under the title “Lazzarini Pickering Architects”.