In 2013, after several years of practice on large-scale architecture with Studio Daniel Libeskind, Luca Mangione joins his partner Elisa Angelini to form AD-MYRA. AD-MYRA is an exclusive design, architecture, and interior practice strongly focused on high-end bespoke design services for private residential, commercial, and “special” projects ranging from private villas and apartments.
How did you get involved in the interior design Industry?
Interior design is one of the most difficult and at the same time fascinating aspects of architecture. Interior design is one of our main activities at the moment as it operates as the natural connection between the large scale of the building and the micro-scale of furniture, touching the most intimate implications of space. Both functional and programmatic aspects must coexist in each experience, from sensory and tactile to the ones affecting the overall perception of space. Each project is carried out on the requests of the specific customer and on the potential of space. This forces us to always keep ourselves up to date across multiple disciplines to be able to create a unique result every time.
AD-MYRA is built on diversity: our architects come from retail luxury retail as well as commercial sectors, large-scale commercial developments, and small residential projects. By constantly merging very diverse sensibilities, we are building what we like to consider a “responsive” approach to design, one that is not guided by a predefined style, but rather reacts to the client and the content in a direct way.
How would you describe your work style? Do you have any kind of signatures that help to identify your projects?
Responsive design for us means we do not believe in “signatures” styles, as a way of imposing a set of formulas and languages in every situation. One of the biggest influences is in fact the world of cinema, the methods, and approaches used by the directors such as Sorrentino, Nolan using both traditional as well as digital techniques. In cinema, the story being narrated is the driving force behind every choice, with characters, scenes, and photography acting in coherence rather than following a stylistic formula. This puts the client at the center of our project, not at the end, and this is a very important change in the process. Each project is strongly impacted by client personality and location: projects we have designed in Albert Court, a Victorian listed building facing Hyde Park in the heart of London, are completely different from modern villas we are designing in Dubai.
Being in love with our work is always the key to achieving better results. Are you in love with this job? What do you love most about being an interior designer?
Professional design implies a big responsibility and implies risk at many levels. We are lucky to be able to have our passion as work and to have clients that trust us with such a personal task.
There is a specific moment when we start “feeling” the story of the project.
It is when we are able to define the language and materials we are about to choose and they start to resonate with us and the client. This is when this shared narrative creates a dialogue between us and the client, that is when everything comes alive, where ideas come from both sides through interaction and discovery, and the project becomes a journey rather than a bulleted list of tasks to check.
That is the moment where we are not simply delivering a service, but creating a stage, a real “place” for the story of the client to unfold.
What is your philosophy on design and life?
Same as with design, life is a continuous dialogue, an exchange with an ever-changing environment.
We traveled all our lives and the majority of our clients have an international background.
We believe it is crucial to be able to first listen, as an act of understanding and learning from your environment. This is a profound act of discipline, that allows us to establish a relationship with the world.
Keeping up to date on all the trends is essential for anyone who wants to conquer this market. In what ways do you keep current with new trends?
We absorb the world we live in: London, Milan, the great European capitals as much as Dubai and Doha, not only in architecture but also in fashion and design. Nowadays with current restrictions, the web has become an important part of our experience thanks to its speed and availability, but the most effective way is to visit our manufacturers in their workshops and factories, getting to know their processes and techniques, and the values that are behind the product. In our projects, we realize many items of furniture that are custom designed, and we source also from many brands, which represent a constant source of inspiration. only by having a direct relationship with the production process do you understand the true nature of each artifact itself.
Which major international events do you attend/follow to get the latest novelties?
Mostly Salone del Mobile, Paris Design Week, and Maison et Objet, Cersaie.
We also attend specific fairs in Italy for fabrics and leathers as we believe it’s crucial to be aware of each element we need to specify inside a project. The most interesting part is to see the “behind the scenes “ where we see the preparation before the events.
How would you describe your personal decorating style?
Responsive is the best word to describe it, in that it is a constant process of listening and learning from what lies around us and then responding to these voices to express the individuality of each client
All artists need some inspiration to work, and interior designers are artists too. So, what or who really inspires you?
We have 2 great inspirations. We are inspired by the great directors that have emerged in the last 20 years, such as John Lasseter, Pete Docter, Brad Bird, and Andrew Stanton for the digital part as well Paolo Sorrentino for his capacity to realize images that are so poetic and engaging. We admire Their capacity to dive inside each story, research each narrative and reemerge transformed.
We are also inspired by artisans and manufacturers, those who are capable to see past a technique or simply a production process to create a new reality, an innovative product, or handling a material driven by that fascination for beauty.
Inspiration is something that pushes everyone to create unique things. What makes you see the world in a different way?
If we get enough time to be able to listen to the world that surrounds us, in all its forms, objects, and living beings, we are always able to change our own beliefs and ideas. That is when you move away from your comfort zone and begin to learn and discover. More than often, that is when unique things being to emerge.
How important is a perfect chemistry between you and your clients to achieve the best results?
Crucial, in that our clients are an essential component of our creative process. Without client involvement, a project remains a technical and logistic pursue, an abstract proposition rather than a real story.
Choosing the best pieces to compose a project can be the secret to getting the best overall result. Although it seems easy, this is a delicate task and needs full attention on time to execute. Do you have some tips for those who do not know well how to start a challenge like this?
Do not underestimate the importance of time: it is not so much in its pace, too slow or too quick, rather in its rhythm, the constant commitment to pursuing a goal. Again it’s an act of listening to the objects, their esthetic qualities, and the stories they tell. Listening demands time.
Do you think working with teams in interior design is better or worse than working alone? Why?
We believe design is such a complex activity, so rich and diverse, that any one of us is never enough. We believe in the continuous alternation of isolation and exchange as key to overcoming ourselves, freeing us from our own preconceptions, and being open to possibilities.
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