It’s one of the most rewarding and enriching moments of all those that Mint: Master in Interior Design, Creativity and Innovation provides for its students; travelling to New York to get to know first-hand the studios, showrooms and firms that define global trends is a unique educational experience, an opportunity that this programme offers and that adds a new dimension to this ambitious programme, created in collaboration with IKEA. Our students from Mint’s class of 2022/23 have just had the experience, and we want to tell you what it was like.
Day 1: Moroso showroom with Gabriella Vivaldi, Marketing Manager of the company, who explained the history of the firm, as well as curious details behind the collections on display. We were able to see in person the showroom designed by Patricia Urquiola, something really special. With bright, warm colours, the showroom conveys very well the comfort and vitality for which Moroso is characterised, both in its designs and in its brand image. Another particularly interesting thing was the explanation of the 3D printing technology of the fabrics, and the material the counter is made of: it looks like terrazzo, but it is made of pressed paper… and olive pits!
The first day was rounded off with a visit to Steven Holl Architects by architect Yining He, who showed us several models of major projects in various stages of development (some already completed, others under construction). We were also able to explore materialities, as they have an extensive library of samples, and discussed how they translate certain materials into models to generate the same feeling on a much smaller scale. The model workshop technician talked to us about different construction processes and techniques, which we can not only extrapolate to our own interior design projects, but also apply to product design (a much smaller scale).
Day 2: On the second day of the experience, we visited Evergreene, a studio specialising in the preservation of historical elements and works of art. There we met with their marketing director Katherine DeMercurio, who explained in detail the process they follow in each project, from the initial research of the original state of the work, to the different forms of production and final installation. We visited the mural workshop, where an artist was preparing canvases for an intervention. We spoke with the heads of each department, who gave us an overview of the restoration process. A very special visit thanks to the hospitality and kindness of the staff, who also prepared a delicious breakfast for us 🙂
Day 3: On this third day we visited two companies: firstly, the recently inaugurated Lladró USA showroom in the Meatpacking District, where we were welcomed by Claudia López, sales director, who showed us the different porcelain collections, and talked to us about the diversification of products that the brand has implemented in recent years. We were amazed by the detail and quality of each piece, and we were able to appreciate the interior design of the space, which had been previously explained to us in class by the designer Carmen Baselga.
Afterwards, we visited Gessi, a high-end faucet company, whose building in SoHo, at 214 Lafayette, impressed us with its typical New York architecture with industrial and art deco touches: not in vain was it the setting for the video clip Halo by Beyoncé, Who Says by John Mayer or the series Person of Interest. The company’s Business Development Manager, Adriana Bertolino, gave us a tour of the building and told us about the company’s plans for the upcoming opening in New York, which include acting as a showroom and coworking space for its clients. The students were also invited to the Gessi experience that will take place during Milan design week.
Day 4: The fourth and final day of the training experience was a full day of company and showroom visits. First, the showroom of Haworth, a world leader in the commercial furniture sector, with its Project Manager Debora Novell, and the Design Marketing Manager Sabrina Gauthier. The showroom, designed by Patricia Urquiola in 2018, reflects the company’s culture and provides different configurations that guided us through the company’s values and its way of interpreting today’s office spaces. We had the opportunity to try out iconic designs from the company, such as the LC4 lounger by Cassina, the Archibald armchair by Poltrona Frau or the 111 Navy chair by Emeco.
We then headed to the showroom of Cosentino, a manufacturer of surfaces for architecture and design. Wes Lind, their Showroom Manager, showed us the company’s range of products, and demonstrated the durability of the product against harmful agents. In addition, the students took the opportunity to visit other showrooms of kitchen, bathroom and furniture companies such as B&B Italia, Holly Hunt, Poggenpohl, Poliform or Scavolini.
In short, this experience has been a unique opportunity to immerse ourselves in the culture of American design and interior design, to learn first-hand about the latest trends and products on the market and to broaden our global perspective. But, above all, it has been an experience that has allowed us to grow on a personal and professional level, to strengthen ties with our fellow master’s students and to enjoy a vibrant city full of creative energy. Undoubtedly, a trip that we will always remember fondly and that has left us with many ideas and reflections to continue exploring in the future.