THE ABSTRACT STORYTELLING : CAMILLA BRUNELLI

Camilla is an Italian designer based in Milan who is not afraid to represent her most hidden thoughts, giving free rein to her unconscious. She has studied across Europe and graduated both in Design and Philosophy, building

her unique style.


We had a conversation with Camilla to learn more about her career as a designer and her extraordinary visions. Abstraction seems to be a key word.




Hello Camilla, tell us about yourself.


I am a designer prone to abstraction. During self initiated projects, when I feel

fear from prerequisites such as a client brief or industrial production

technicalities, I often find myself on the wide and blurred border between art

and design.




How are you doing? What does your usual day look like?


I am doing fine, thankfully. Regular days: I wake up sleepy, drink lots of tea

and step towards the world to conquer.





Learned a lot from Scottish strength, heart and pride and I learned a lot from Finnish discretion and pace of life. Afterwards I worked in London, where I met the justly legendary English awkwardness and humour.


Where did you grow up? Tell us about the place.


I grew up in Garda, a small village by the lake of the same name, in northern

Italy: chaotic cosmopolis for viewers during the summer, waste land for

melancholic souls during the winter; priceless views, pedalos, everybody knows

everybody, ducks and everything.



Which cities / countries have you studied/lived in ? What is the most

striking difference in attitudes or cultural aspects you enjoyed noticing ?


I started moving during high school, I studied for one year in Perugia. Already

there was much to notice. Like hearing my own native accent on the train to

Garda after I had spent one year away. A shockingly amusing experience.Then

I studied Philosophy in Padova and Bologna universities and I can tell culture

changes so much from city to city within Italy that I was well trained for

change when I moved from Milan, where I started design studies, to Glasgow

and Helsinki, where I completed them. I learned a lot from Scottish strength,

heart and pride and I learned a lot from Finnish discretion and pace of life.

Afterwards I worked in London, where I met the justly legendary English

awkwardness and humor, and Portugal, the one Mediterranean country

untouched by the Mediterranean sea. Entering into details would be perilous, I

refrain.






When did you move to Milan. How was the move? How are the

opportunities as a product/industrial designer in Milan?


I moved to Milan about 3 years ago because of my current main job. The move

was quite uneventful as I lived in Milan in the past. Being In Milan area has big

pros for designers: lots of companies, big and small brands, lots of

virtuous entrepreneurship and proclivity towards collaborations with designers;

last but not least lots of cultural and social events, cultural inputs, people,

interesting people, press.



Looking at yourself back then, when making this decision, what would be

your advice to your younger self?


God save me from time travel paradox.


"I try to force my hand and create new and more promiscuous links between objects, narrative and tools."



How would you describe your art and what are your inspirations?


A recurring theme in my research is the relationship between nature and

culture. It is known how western culture has strayed from its ancestral roots,

from its necessary visceral ties to nature. While visiting museums or reading

natural history texts I try to reinterpret the link between contents - the objects

of study - and containers - both the concrete ones (pages, typefaces, display

cases, vases, pins) and conceptual ones (classifications, measurements,

narrations). I try to force my hand and create new and more promiscuous links

between objects, narrative and tools. This is the case, for example, of

Metamorphosis, created with the artist Simone Crestani, in which the

parallelism between beetles melting and the processing of glass blowing has

led to a collection of vases that are a new syncretism between concepts and

concrete realities of nature and culture.



"Everybody directly or indirectly is channeling, exercising, processing one's own emotions."


Who is the designer/ person who has inspired you throughout the years?

Why?


A lot of them. But at the moment I would say Mirò, the synthesis, poetry and irony of

his work.


What are the emotions you want to transmit?


Rarely I have the primary goal of conveying emotions, specific emotions.

It is true that in every act of life, creative ones especially, everybody directly

or indirectly is channeling, exercising, processing one's own emotions.

My favourite projects are those where the 'emotional charge' is strong but where

the 'emotional message' is free. I see in such projects the distillate of precise

personal emotions (say joy), nevertheless when I see people’s reaction I see

that emotions are different: they range from similar to opposite (say anger). As if the emotion had become an energy: you can clearly see it passing from one

to the other but you can also see it manifesting itself differently according to

the guest.






How is the choice of materials oriented?


If I have the chance I like to experiment with new materials, new uses of new

materials, new uses of old materials. Some projects are born from a material

and then take form and content, in others the material is a careful and

necessary choice that follows form and content. Then there are materials that

come back, as if there was a destiny. One is glass, one is stone. Both tough

and fragile. Probably not by chance.



What are the most challenging projects you’ve worked on? What are you

most proud of achieving ?


During my year in Finland I took a course focusing on the exploration of one

self creative sensitivity. That was the beginning of one of the most challenging

(and ongoing) projects. Every finished project is a milestone in the process,

cheers to each one.



What is special about Camilla that others do not have?


The adherence.



What is a work that you have created you would suggest a person should

see? What is special about it?


Love balance, a wooden toy for adults. It's a simple thing that engages

powerfully with everybody's emotions. Somebody smiles. Somebody cries.







We develop our skills throughout life and become better as professionals

and hopefully as humans. What’s the lesson you’ve recently learned?


That's not recent but it is evergreen: lightness. Calvino's American lesson.



What are your future projects?


They are works in progress: introspection, chromatic and stylistic exploration. I

am reading texts on aggression, on violence. We’ll see.



Follow Camilla's work on her Instagram account.









Interview & Article by

Vivian di Lorenzo


Images from

camillabrunelli.com

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