Emilia Wanderlingh: food, architecture and ceramic tiles.
In one of the latest Foodies’ Parties we had the pleasure of welcoming as our guests at Via Borgogna 2 architect Emilia Wanderlingh of the Studio Zero2 and chef Francesco Pontrelli of the O Lei restaurant, both of Milan; together they form team no. 9 in the Foodies’ Challenge 2015 contest, the major challenge involving 22 teams of top chefs and architects who present their “food projects”, in which culinary excellence and the best Italian design merge.
Ms Wanderlingh was able to take time out to talk to us and give us her thoughts on a number of topics:
Ms Wanderlingh, what do you think of the Foodies’ Challenge adventure and how do you define the link between architecture and food?
The Foodies’ Challenge is an adventure, right enough! It is the very first competition to involve teams consisting of an architect and a chef, two “prima donnas”, creative, curious and always in search of new ways of expressing their professional expertise. The challenge is to come up with a dish, a new form for food! Of course, the relationship between two creative spirits is never simple and immediate: the development of the dish, in the food sense, was complex - perhaps initially rather over-conceptual. We wanted to amaze, but we had no clear idea of how. Then I remembered Leonardo’s maxim: simplicity is the ultimate sophistication. Simplicity is the most astonishing thing of all. We thought about raw materials - cereals, vegetables and spices - and the Mediterranean, and these guided us as we developed our recipe. Easy, quick to make, fragrant, tasty and flavourful.... it fills the palate with fascinating, well balanced, natural flavours. To present this dish to best advantage and offer customers something they would never have imagined, I chose a simple yet fundamental building component, the ideal backdrop: a tile .... a Marazzi, of course!! I chose the “Progetto Triennale” ceramic tile designed by Giò Ponti: a unique piece, an exclusive Marazzi product, an open dialogue between history and future, form and matter, art and architecture, and now also between design and fine food. The result is a simple combination of shapes and colours, a divertissement with four curves and a gourmet cylinder! Creativity, the intention to amaze and delight, professionalism, simplicity and consistency form the link between architecture and food.
What do you think are the benefits of ceramic coverings from the architectural point of view today, and on the other hand what do you think needs to be done to increase this material's popularity in the architecture and design world?
Since I work mainly in Retail Design, I’ve always used ceramic coverings in my projects, because the benefits are obvious and intrinsic in their properties:strength, durability, colour-fastness, easy cleaning and hygiene. One factor which requires more development is environmental sustainability, which would help ceramics to gain more favour with architects. Work also needs to be done on shapes and sizes, to create surprising new forms.
I don’t think ceramic coverings need to increase their popularity in the world of architecture and design. The task facing ceramics today is to be ready for future trends and keep one step ahead of architectural fashions or expectations. They have to “amaze” with every new season, because today customers want to be surprised!
What projects are you working on at present?
As well as various projects and interior design jobs for private clients, as Retail Design Consultant for Lavazza coffee I am working on the new concepts for coffee-shops to be created around the world. My project for the expansion and refurbishment of the sports building of a leading private school in Milan is also under construction: the works are scheduled for completion by 15 September!