One Year On: Emanuela Corti and Ivan Parati

BY Harper's Bazaar Arabia / Apr 13 2016 / 22:01 PM

As the Lexus Design Award closes for another season, last year’s winners, Dubai-based Emanuela Corti and Ivan Parati, reflect on their year since scooping the coveted accolade

One Year On: Emanuela Corti and Ivan Parati
Emanuela Corti and Ivan Parati

Harper's Bazaar Arabia: What have you been working on since winning the Lexus Design Award for your collection of sense-oriented garments and accessories, Sense-Wear?

Emanuela Corti: We have been working on two projects mainly. The first one is the Ori-Gen, a magnetic module that aggregates geometric compositions and structures. Ori-Gen is conceived to be a versatile multi-purpose interior element – for example a divider or other fixtures – to complement open spaces.

The second project we have been working on is called Memobilia and it’s actually on show at the moment at the 21 Triennale International Exhibition in Milan. Memobilia links crafted, unfinished classical furniture and digital fabricated elements. Due to the financial crisis many companies in the Italian furniture district had to close. The furniture of this collection was all laying in a defaulted family workshop, abandoned together with their artisans’ knowhow. We believe there’s nothing lost; designers should find the gap between the old craft and the new technologies as an opportunity of continuity.

HBA: Have any of your pieces gone mainstream?

Ivan Parati: The pieces are still under testing and prototyping and even though we understand there is a demand for them, we are focusing on product development and strategic partnerships. In the meantime, we are engaged in several other experimental projects. We like to challenge ourselves and every time we find a new direction, a code or a process, something that characterises the work in a different way. 

EC: Sense-Wear and the Lexus Design Award have been a great opportunity for us. Even though it’s a quite complex project involving several actors from several grounds, we are trying to bring the collection to the market. We have received a lot of positive feedback and we now feel like we have a social responsibility in bringing these garments to the public.

HBA: You were experimenting with wearables long before wearables became a buzzword in fashion. How has the wearable trend developed in the Middle East over the past 12 months?

EC: Thirst for novelties at any cost are definitely pushing the expectations of young creators and definitely many opportunities will pop up for UAE-based designers. Our products are quite low-tech at the moment and focus on the person rather than the fashion.

HBA: What next for you and your collective, caravan?

EC: We will make Sense-Wear a real thing soon so we are going to be quite busy on that for at least one more year. The development phase has branched out, and that might take us to a new material or a new application. We will need to work on structuring our collective, caravan, into something closer to a commercial entity even though we will keep our process based on experimentation.

- Tracey Scott