Unpretentious Elegance

author Roberto Palomba
interviewed by Ante Nikša Bilić, Filip Gordon Frank


Interviewed in Zagreb 21 September 2010


Humble and modest, with a very clear philosophy of life that easily translates into his design of objects and spaces, Roberto impressed us more than some of his far more popular colleagues with whom we have had the opportunity to talk. An unexpected change of vocation turned this architect into one of Italy’s most respected designers. He applies his extraordinary knowledge of production processes and technologies with charm, a little effort and much refinement to create designs that are already considered classics.


ORIS: According to you, what is the role of a designer today? Do designers also have a measure of social responsibility or not?


Palomba: First of all, I believe that the designer’s profession, is overestimated on one part, while underestimated on the other. It is being overestimated when someone compares us with movie stars, something that we are not. We are persons who are responsible to those who will use and enjoy what we have created. We also have a great responsibility for the development of future design and architecture. We create the foundations of the future of this profession.


All what we do is inhabiting. Inhabiting means to occupy spaces, to answer the human need for quality. It is the role of designers and of architects to give answers to this request for quality with high responsibility and consciousness. I believe that the invention of the term ‘archistars’ has introduced a wrong comprehension of what we do and has made our trade look much closer to the ‘star’ system than to serving humanity. The final product has to respect the environment, but it also has to respect the person. If it only comes down to a creative act of egoism produced only to impose someone’s ego full of fixations and craving other people’s attention, the attention of people who have to bear with that act of egoism, then I think it’s not design, it’s not architecture we are talking about.