Woman Particolare: Agustina Bottoni
Between art and design, Augustina Bottoni, from Buenos Aires to Milan, creates objects, more than particolare!
Between art and design, Agustina Bottoni, from Buenos Aires to Milan, creates objects, more than particolare!
Originally from Argentina, living in Italy, does this multiculturalism help you find your inspiration? For example, how do you come up with the idea of the shapes of the wonderful Calici Milanesi?
Ever since I arrived in Italy, I looked at its rich history in the Arts and Crafts with eager eyes and this, combined with my own Latin American background, has informed my way of designing.
For my Calici Milanesi, I got inspiration from some of the Modern architectural gems of Milan, especially the lavish Villa Necchi, designed by Piero Portaluppi in the 1930s. I worked with the striking geometric shapes, the luxurious feel of the material and translated this into a trio of drinking glasses. I believe they capture the atmosphere of a truly indulgent aperitivo.
You create all kinds of objects. Hangers, vases, seats. What makes you want to focus on a specific object?
Sometimes I get a little obsession about a certain type of object and it doesn’t stop until I see it materialized in my own version. Other times, the request comes from the brief that my clients give me, and this is an exciting process too, because it fires up the challenge of something unexpected, that inspires me to embark on the new project with passion.
You did a lot of collaboration as a freelance for very different brands all around the world like Momoni (clothes), Campari (drinks), Abet Laminati, Galerie Chevalier (carpet)... How do you manage to keep your atmosphere and your style?
Many past projects are the result of a process where there was actual dialogue with the people involved. When working with brands, there are guidelines to follow and also limits you can push, it is a bit like a dance in the end. I find it very stimulating creatively, to be true to my philosophy as a designer, while delivering something great for the client of course.
You also created a female collective called The Ladies Group with Ilaria Bianchi, Sara Ricciardi and Astrid Luglio. What is the purpose of this woman particolare group? Is the place for a woman accessible in your profession?
The collective is for us a great source of shared experimentation. We all feel attracted to designs that include intangible qualities, that we can relate to them in a more emotional level. We can imbue objects of a personality, make them interact with us and the surrounding space. We are immersed in a digital world, so we believe it’s quite refreshing to have design objects that are evocative, and that we can experience through our senses.
Traditionally, everything that had to do with the female creative world was considered minor, linked to the domestic sphere, and this way some of the greatest designers and artists’ works has been overlooked and unrecognized in the past. We are experiencing a long-due historic moment when we don’t need to hide or tone-down. On the contrary, women are steadily becoming leading figures in many disciplines, and we celebrate that.
With this collective, you created the beautiful Gynoecium for Amélie Maison d'Art in Paris. How did this creation come about?
The title Gynecium comes from the ancient Greek word gunaikeion: the women’s quarters. Gynoecium, in botany, is the female part of a flower, and therefore this collection is inspired by flowers. It is also decisively feminine. The sculptural pieces — light mobile, vase and centerpiece — take the shape of petals, evoking the delicate yet forceful anatomy of flowers. Taking cues from jewelry techniques, the objects are handmade in brass combined with details in frosted glass and Rose Quartz.
In the materials you use for your creation, you also work with textiles. What is the border between fashion and design according to you?
For me, design and fashion follow pretty much the same rules. I started working in fashion and then I moved towards object design in what seemed like a natural transition for me. Textiles have an amazing emotive potential and this is why I still love working with them. Both fashion and design work with volumes, textures, shapes, and perception. People’s experience of the work is, in the end, very relevant in both disciplines.
What is the Particolare bag you have chosen to wear and why?
I chose the Vitti Mini Coulisse Moss. The shape is delightful, but also practical: I was pleasantly surprised by how capacious it is.