Mario Nanni

When craft meets poetry – MARIO NANNI The Art of Light & Shadow

Mario Nanni presented his work at Belgrade Design Week 

ELLE DEKOR magazine Serbia, September 2010

By Igor Vidovic 

This year Belgrade Design Week was honored to invite and present the work of Mario Nanni, a founder of Viabizzuno, one of the most renowned brands in the field of light design. Mario Nanni works and creates in his studios in Milan, London, Barcelona and Bologna. curiosity and interest in lighting and contacts with architects and designers made him enter the world of light design experiments over 35 years ago. During that time, he transformed the game of light and shadow into an art form. Just take a look at the light design he created in various interiors, exhibitions and fascinating projects such as the Italian Pavillion on the 12th International Architecture Exhibition at the Biennale in Venice or illumination of the facade of the Scala in Milan. He currently spends most of his time working in the studio Mario Nanni progettista, a creative workshop for design solutions between poetry and craft.

Where did your passion for lighting come from?

I have loved it since I was a child. I was about six or seven years old when, while playing with light bulbs, I realized that different scenes can be created using light effects. I was fascinated with light and I realized how much energy it generates for people. For me, as a person who first became an artizan, it is important to transform my technical know how into poetry which has a certain message, makes a person think, especially about the fact that only by improving our relations and by good communication can we face the problems of this polluted and unreliable world.

When you start working on a new project, what is the most important thing to consider?

In the beginning, the most important thing is to listen and observe: the client, the location, the architecture, and to pay a lot of attention to the stories they tell you and to the history of the given location. I always tell my assistants that a person can’t just wake up one morning and decide to make a project: a project is a product of knowing how to listen and observe the things that surround us.

Lighting usually depends on the main project. Does the opposit happen sometimes: that a designer or an architect is inspired by your work?

Now it happens more often. My friends tell me I am lucky to be working only with important clients. But I don’t think that there are more or less important clients. It is all based on a dialogue, exchange of ideas, which are being embraced, as we create togther.

Is there some creative way for us to lighten our living space, without investing too much?

The simplest thing we can do is to use television or a computer monitor as a light source. If they are used that way, our space will always be dynamic, because the light always changes and moves, depending on what is presented on the screen. We can also use a simple light bulb which we can drop from the ceiling, to about 10 centimeters above the floor. That way, the lightened spot gets a new volume, it creates the illusion of a larger space and a special kind of energy is created around that light source.

What does darkness represent to you?

Darkness is a chance to enjoy moments of peace and tranquillity, of mental relaxation, a time to reflect and gather ideas. A time to be with oneself and dream about the future.