For today’s interview we gathered some impressive answers from Andrea Fino and Samanta Snidaro, founders of Italy based design studio Sand&Birch. Permanently looking to “re-interpret the concept of furnishing and to bring other meanings, other senses and other lives to Objects”, our two interview “guests” have a rich experience to share and know how to give meaningful advice. Have a great read !
- Freshome: What determined your passion for design? Tell us about the moment when you decided this is the way to go.
- Andrea Fino & Samanta Snidaro: It’s a passion we had since we were very young, when we still didn’t even know that the things we made were called “design”. We have simply published our first works on our website and since the beginning we’ve got positive and encouraging feedbacks, and this has given us the right boost to go on.
- Freshome: Can you remember your first design project? Describe it a bit, whether it is a gizmo you worked at as a little kid or something that was sold at a large scale.
- Andrea Fino & Samanta Snidaro: As children, we both liked to “design and realize” a lot of things… For example, Andrea built a toy-robot with a friend. Samanta’s first creation, instead, was more related to architecture: a log and thatched hut, with a little man sitting right there and fishing.
- Freshome: What field of design are you most interested in? Do your works have anything to do with it ? (We are asking this because not many designers do what they actually want)
- Andrea Fino & Samanta Snidaro: We’re globally interested in every aspect of design, because this word may concerns all the steps in the creation of every object we use, from chairs to houses, to make an example. When you are designing something you are planning, studying, researching, making tests, trying to express feelings, values, ideas…Having a own brand allows to us to explore all these aspects and take care of them. So we can say that our work has a lot to do with the fields we’re interested in, because we are able to dedicate ourselves to our own productions with the brand “Sand & Birch”, and we have also the chance to deal with branches we’d never known thanks to our customers’ wishes and demands. They’re both very stimulating fields, even if they’re very different and imply different approaches.
- Freshome: Chronologically describe what you are going through (feeling and thoughts) on your way to work.
- Andrea Fino & Samanta Snidaro: We usually bring children to school while going to work, so we try to enjoy this little time to spend together, and we talk about things having nothing to do with our work, if there’s nothing of particularly urgent and pressing. If we are going to have a hard day, we do the same (after a brief morning “brainstorming” to plan all the things we are going to do)!
- Freshome: What is your favourite book/magazine on design? How about your favourite site?
- Andrea Fino & Samanta Snidaro: We don’t have a favourite one, they’re so many…We like some of them because they’re very professional, so they can give us informations about the commercial and technical aspects of designing; but we also like the ones that mostly care for the semiotics themes of communicating through design and the ones trying to recognize the value of ideas that often can’t have an own space on traditional media and public.
- Freshome: What inspires you?
- Andrea Fino & Samanta Snidaro: We’ve got a great number of source of inspirations. For example, in some of our works we took inspiration from the human body: It’s the case of Soft Pipe chaise longue, representing a female silhouette, or Roxanne, our latest armchair, a red mouth. In other cases, inspirations has came from nature and animals: Loraine, another chaise-longue, reminds you of a wave; Lullaby, a chair, has a spider shape… Other objects, instead, are conceived as a sort of “studies” on more abstract and de-structured shapes.
Glossy Lipstick Sofa
- Freshome: What is the most frustrating aspect of your job as a designer? And the most rewarding one?
- Andrea Fino & Samanta Snidaro: Since we follow every step of production, we think there are a lot of frustrating aspects in our work. We find very stressful the time elapsing between the act of designing and the moment you are able to see prototypes. And also the lack of precision and clarity of the contracts regulating the relationship between designers and manufacturers. We could talk about the fact that designers have no opportunity to control what happens with royalties. Another sore point is the difficulty to propose ideas and objects that don’t answer to marketing laws, latest trends and so on.
- Freshome: From your point of view, is design an art or a science?
- Andrea Fino & Samanta Snidaro: As we said, design means a lot of things. Design could be defined near to art because involves emotions, states of mind, is able to suggest and promote new habits, and needs a great creativity. But it also requests a technical know-how, because design is “art for the use”; so you have to deal with technological materials or rediscover ancient production techniques. And as science and art, design is subject to a continue redefinition, due to society, history and power relationship. We think that is very hard to give an all-inclusive definition, and it could even be misleading…(maybe is design a form of art that cannot do without science?).
- Freshome: Tell us something unusual that happened in your carrier.
- Andrea Fino & Samanta Snidaro: During our career, we met a great number of strange, weird and funny people and many times we found ourselves involved in a lot of almost surreal (and sometimes even nerve-racking) situations. But maybe this is not the right place to report them…we’ve got few time and we’d have too much to say.
- Freshome: Let’s say you entered a contest. You have to come up with a design for the first house on the Moon built for extra-terrestrial living. How would your project look like?
- Andrea Fino & Samanta Snidaro: We hope to continue living on earth as long as possible, in order to try to find some remedy to all the wastes humanity has brought on this planet, if possible. If we should design a house on the Moon, we’d try to satisfy the basic need of humans to live in a such different ambient. So, maybe, a great part of the project would be dedicated to new manners to conceive implants and solutions for the house.
- Freshome: If design were a product, what would it be and how would you design it?
- Andrea Fino & Samanta Snidaro: It would be an object taking account of the protean nature and meanings of design. It would be multimedia, pliant, able to grant continuous needs and requests. Material should be omni-functional. In effects, it will take a magician more than a designer, to put into concrete form an evanescent and always open to redefinition thing like design!
- Freshome: If you had no limits (money, resources), what would you create?
- Andrea Fino & Samanta Snidaro: First of all, we’d like to smash all the cement monsters, educate to a rational and responsible relationship with territories, and only this and through this, we’d like to rebuilt everything following new development models using only new materials respectful of the biodiversity.
- Freshome: Share something you would like the world to know about you or your ideas.
- Andrea Fino & Samanta Snidaro: We’re at the endless and restless search for the maximum of sobriety, both in design and everyday life.
- Freshome: What do you think of our site?
- Andrea Fino & Samanta Snidaro: We think that Freshome pays a great attention to pictures and presentation of products. We also like the graphic organization of your site
- Freshome: What advice do you have for young designers or architects reading this interview?
- Andrea Fino & Samanta Snidaro: Be sober, serious, professional and creative. Don’t try to pursue only personal and economic success and satisfaction, but just think that these will be only the outcome of a series of things that are infinitely more important.