Francesco Favaretto

May 3, 2017

Favaretto & Partners has a rich history in the Italian design industry. Having collaborated with numerous design teams on countless products, their most recent work sees them enter the world of lighting, as Helen Fletcher discovers.

Curiosity, tenacity and a passion for research have characterised the work of Favaretto + Partners for more than 40 years. The design studio was founded in 1973 by Paolo Favaretto and went on to be one of the first in Italy to engage in business internationally with companies in North America, Europe and Asia.

Ever since, a reputation for reliability and competence have helped the studio establish long-lasting relationships; using a variety of production methods, the studio prides itself on design precision and a keen interest in research within form and function innovation.

Born in Padua in 1950, Paulo graduated in Architecture at the Higher Institute of Architecture in Venice, IUAV where he attended lectures conducted by Professor Carlo Scarpa. After graduating, he immediately launched his freelance profession, followed by the launch of the design studio that today bears his name. An active designer and consultant for the industry, he has collaborated with many prestigious Italian and foreign companies and has won a wide variety of important prizes and awards.

A past president of the Delegation of Veneto and Trentino Alto Adige of the ADI-Association for Industrial Design, Paolo was also founder and president of IIDD-Italian Design Disability Institute (now DFA-Design for All) and an executive member of the DFA; he currently represents Europe ADI at BEDA-Bureau of European Design Associations.

Today, the designer holds conferences and lectures at international design universities and institutes, including undergraduate courses in Industrial Design at the Politecnico of Milan and the IUAV of Venice; the Italia Design School of Padova; and National College of Art and Design in Dublin to name just a few.

In 2009, Paolo’s son Francesco Favaretto joined the studio – taking the business even further into wider areas of design. As such, Favaretto + Partners’ work can be seen across a multitude of platforms from furniture and lighting, to home décor. Born in 1983 in Padua, Francesco graduated in Industrial Design from the Institute University Architecture of Venice, having attended lectures of architect and designer Tobia Scarpa.

Francesco’s design career started off in the fashion industry, co-founding his own brand Mofodesign following graduation. Once the brand was established, a new challenge was in order and so the young designer set off for Canada to start a new career in industrial design. “Upon my return, I decided to continue in the field of industrial design and approached my father about joining forces to set up Favaretto + Partners – the rest is history,” says Francesco. “I moved from fashion to industrial design because I needed something more durable rather than something that lasted for a season only… Today however, product design is moving more towards the fashion industry style. Product lifespan is becoming shorter and shorter. Perhaps I should swap back to fashion?”

For Paolo, industrial design has been a lifelong passion, spending all of his time drawing and experimenting, whether with pen, pencil or watercolours. “I have always been inspired by the old masters,” he tells darc. “But one thing I always try and remember when designing products is that it has to improve someone’s life.”

While lighting is one of the fields less explored by the design studio, it has, in the last three years collaborated with Italian brands Vistosi and Torremato to create three new product lines, all of which were showcased at this year’s Euroluce. “Our approach to design does not change whether it’s a lamp or a chair,” Francesco says. “For me, it is important to know the DNA of a client and their industrial process, this influences the end design.”

“Light is important in a lamp, just as comfort is in a chair,” adds Paolo. “My personal goal every time I start to think about a new product is that a design should not only look aesthetically pleasing but should be practical and make life that little bit easier. Lighting is a really important element to any space in order to create an emotional feeling. From a functional point of view, lighting has to help guide the eye from dark to light.”

Favaretto + Partners’ design for Torremato is the Metissage collection. Introduced at Euroluce, the collection can be defined as a mixture of cultures, flavours, travel and aesthetic influences that have inspired the designers over the last few years. “We are constantly stimulated by external influences from an unstoppable changing, of everything that surrounds us,” the duo tells darc. “It is the designer’s task to pick up and assimilate these influences, in order to translate them into useful and original products.”

For the Metissage collection Favaretto + Partners started to think about the archetype of the lamp ‘the lantern’ that is an icon of lighting. With the actualisation of the lantern as inspiration, it comes from the sophisticated decorative effect of the glass – called sublimation, which is digitally printed. Metissage blends together classic, simple, timeless shapes with a futuristic vision and at the forefront of the idea is customisable digital printing technology. This collection combines the essential architecture of the structure with the particular effects of light on the different patterns of the glass. The flexibility of Metissage is comes from the dimensional modularity of the product, but also through the ability to choose the design of the glass, thus giving the user the opportunity of having their own personal custom-made lamp.

Over on the Vistosi Euroluce stand, Jube was born from the union of two types of blown glass. Essential, sinuous and delicate, once assembled together they create a play of overlapping and a tone on tone effect with a retro vintage charm. Thanks to a powerful water jet, which allows holes of very large diameters to be created on the glass, the combination of the different glass is integrated in the best way, avoiding the exposure of edges and making them look as though they were a single piece. The lower glass is glossy and white, while the upper glass is one of three colour variants – antique green, smoked and scorched earth. The LED light source, with integrated module, allows for a diffuse and powerful light.

Also new for Vistosi is the Sata lamp, which has been developed off the back of the Trepai product shown at Euroluce 2013, which used bi-material of wood and crystal. In this latest edition, the wood is even more emphasised and the collection includes three versions: suspension, table and floor, which is easily the most characteristic out of the three.

Talking design in general, for Paolo, when asked about notable collaborations during his career, he tells darc: “Several years ago I designed some lamps for Firme Di Vetro, Murano Due and also for a Japanese brand called Koizumi. We also started collaborating with a Chinese brand called Candelah in 2012.”

“For me, it is our work with Vistosi,” says Francesco. “I am really proud of our work designing the first multi-material lighting range for them. I’m excited to see how Metissage designed for Torremato will be received also.”