“There are no designs,” declares Roberto Palomba. “There are simply designers. Personality is the most important thing.” Indeed, the creations of this Milanese architect’s personality have not gone unnoticed. He and his wife and business partner of 25 years, Ludovica Palomba Seraﬁ ni, have been decorated with various accolades, such as the prestigious European design award Compasso d’Oro, and Design Plus and Good Design awards.
Here in Singapore on the last leg of his tour of Asia, Palomba shares his insights into architecture and sustainability, and introduces the Come Together collection and award-winning Let It Be sofas that bear his signature simple sophistication. “Not all simple things are chic, but all chic things are simple,” he muses, adding that beyond great craftsmanship and aesthetic, quality and innovative materials – like Poltrona Frau’s durable trademark Pelle Frau leather – carry these pieces across generations.
How has your aesthetic changed over time?
I think my aesthetic has been quite the same since the beginning. I don’t have a style. I have an attitude and simplicity is my guideline. It is about bringing emotions directly to people. I don’t want to make trendy things – I want to make chic things that are simple.
What do you hope to see more of in the design community?
We have to work more on environmental culture. I still see too much worrying over aesthetics, instead of real values. Being environmentally friendly for me means many things. I don’t mean shabby chic. One part of it is durability and Poltrona Frau champions that. All our products can be restored. Our sofa, made from recyclable aluminium structures, can be completely dismantled. The idea is to create a timeless, durable design that can be given to the next generation. That’s being eco-friendly in a different way.
What are some must-have elements when you design a space?
Natural light. That is the ultimate must-have. If you can control natural light, then half of your design is done. We see through the light. Without it, there is no perception.
What is an upcoming project you’re excited to launch?
We just launched super trendy shoes: TRVL by Roberto Palomba for Doucal’s. I love it so much! I travel often so I need comfortable shoes, but you can’t really wear sneakers all the time, especially when you have meetings. So we worked on combining sneakers with formal shoes. The result is quite amazing. They’re very easy to put on and take off . I think it’s going to be a success!
FURNITURE THAT LASTS
Palomba’s Come Together collection bears his trademark simple sophistication.
TEXT MELAINNE CHIEW PHOTO CARLO WILLIAM ROSSI + FABIO MUREDDU