Dialogo washbasin collection: interview with the designer.

Being a designer and working with leading companies like Atlas Concorde requires an ability to listen and understand to best support the companies' view of design and the market. We met with Mario Ferrarini to learn about his creative process and to discover what happened behind the scenes of the Dialogo project.
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You've been involved in many projects related to the world of the bathroom (bathtubs, washbasins, showers) made of different materials. What was it like to work on a project with porcelain? What was the challenge? What are the benefits?

I studied bathrooms during my last few years at the university to prepare for my thesis and I must say that it was surprisingly stimulating, with prolific cultural references and reinterpretations, some even dreamlike and dare I say spiritual.

One thing that is certain is that materials are the tool at the service of the story that is inspired by the various meanings, witnessed by the different cultures, which in the past century have led to a functional simplification of the bathroom, and then succeeded in recent times in restoring dignity to this space that was once hidden, on which to invest thoughts and therefore projects.

Materials are the means to recount this scenario, the message that you want to convey to yourself but also to your guests, and to which the designer dedicates himself or herself in the translation – I hope with limited personal celebration – of thoughts aimed at the sensitive attention of those who will live in this space.

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AtlasConcorde Habitat-Dialogo 003 00 Boost Smoke Calacatta Extra

Designing a bathroom means designing the amplification of the senses, and the designer imposes the need to give a soul, or simply a sense, to the objects inside this box.

Form follows function allowing for some artistic digressions, which serve to arouse interest, to stimulate interaction, to manifest itself – in a certain sense – as the variables in nature present in botany where a flower, for example, has infinite shades.

Once you have a thought, you can then think about which material best conveys it…. Or, alternatively, you can start from the material to translate it into concepts, analyzing advantages, limits, producibility, target customers, company focus, positioning and other seemingly boring aspects that we designers are so passionate about. 

What kind of briefing did you receive from Atlas Concorde?

The company felt the need to translate the specialty of two-dimensional ceramic tiles into a volume that could take on different forms, but necessarily all children of the same mother.

A new recipe where some of the ingredients were a special quality of porcelain tiles, of which Atlas Concorde is one of the leading manufacturers in the global market.

AtlasConcorde Dialogo Sketch-02
AtlasConcorde Dialogo Inspiration-02

Why the name Dialogo? Can you describe the project's concept?

We weren't just creating a family of washbasins for Atlas Concorde. We wanted to create a dialog between existing and potential materials.

Dialogo isn't just the theme of the object, but more importantly the experience of a project. With the company team we talked extensively about the needs starting from the know-how, whether or not to do something new, if it was a real need and what the project was that only a great, well-established industrial culture could take on.

Dialogo was precisely the path of exchange that remained, beyond the project, in my life experience. People, words, time.

There was a kind of flow that channeled every thought to this name Dialogo.

Dialogo is also the perfect expression of the formal project, as this single term embodies the entire story. Dialog between the surfaces and the object, the washbasin: two elements that recall each other in a single esthetic composition.

One of the peculiarities offered by porcelain tiles is the possibility of maintaining a consistent look of the project thanks to the particular cuts of the slabs that, for example, allow keeping a marble vein always in the same point. An effect that is impossible to achieve with natural marble. How did you work with the company to make this feasible?

While the insight into the soul of the project was immediate once the concept was found and defined, the operation of identifying the "top selling" washbasins was the most complex part, requiring surgical focus and millimetric precision. We define "top sellers" as those products that facilitate a quick turnover of the warehouse and consequently fast deliveries. We took into account the optimization of the porcelain slabs, and this implied a further constraint related to the identification of the veins to be replicated, so that the customer would always be sure to get what they had ordered.

Thanks to porcelain, we have leveraged the characteristics and values of ceramics to create a designer product that amplifies the potential of what nature can offer.

It was therefore a operation of design that arose from an analysis of the material we were using. 

Dialogo washbasin collection: interview with the designer.
Dialogo washbasin collection: interview with the designer.
Dialogo washbasin collection: interview with the designer.
Dialogo washbasin collection: interview with the designer.
Dialogo washbasin collection: interview with the designer.
Dialogo washbasin collection: interview with the designer.
Dialogo washbasin collection: interview with the designer.

Do you think that Dialogo can expand to include other elements besides washbasins?

Evolution is a human prerogative. That said, the development of the project can be considered organic to the evolution of a space in the home that in addition to personal hygiene is increasingly considered a place for wellbeing and relaxation, therefore an environment created to meet new needs and lifestyles.

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Mario Ferrarini 

Mario Ferrarini opened his design studio in 2007 in Como thanks to his studies in Industrial Design at Milan Polytechnic and years of experience as a consultant with prestigious architecture and design firms. The next stop was Lugano, Switzerland, where Mario Ferrarini worked alongside important international companies, ranging from industrial product projects to furniture and interior design solutions.
His is a collaborative, dynamic approach with partners, accompanying them in research and development with the aim of creating timeless objects capable of transcending current trends and communicating beauty.
In 2021 Mario Ferrarini partnered with Atlas Concorde, a brand of high-end floor and wall tiles made in Italy, to create Dialogo, the designer washbasin line of Atlas Concorde Habitat, a collection of furnishing accessories.

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