A young designer with a contemporary, distinctive flair, Camilla Bellini studied architecture at the Art School in Siena, then moved on to Industrial Design at the Faculty of Architecture. A fan of Achille Castiglioni’s style, Camilla is not just a designer of interiors or products. She is also the soul and founder of a successful blog, The Diary of a Designer, an elegant, never predictable digital space where she gives vent to her urge to share, inform about and discuss the world of superior design.
When and why were you drawn to design?
I did architecture at the Art Institute in Siena, a very simulating environment. In fourth year I came across Armani’s aesthetic style for the first time, and fell instantly in love. Shortly afterwards I also discovered Achille Castiglioni’s famous Arco lamp. I became fascinated by this world of elegance and beauty. I first tried my hand at design at the Institute. Then I studied Industrial Design at the Faculty of Architecture at University, expanding my creativity, making it concrete and tangible.
Where do you find inspiration for your interiors and your products?
I prefer pure shapes and materials. They are what inspire me most. I love soft shades for interiors, accented with a few contrasting touches. I love contrasts, but only the non- ostentatious, non-violent kind, the ones that work elegantly. They’re an excellent ploy for avoiding stylistic banality. Metal, brass, glass, wood and marble are all materials I find it hard to resist in my projects.
Can you tell us something about your personal creative process?
My creative process starts with an initial idea, which then triggers other creative thoughts and a concentrated phase of research. Everything I pick up is gradually filtered. I like to think that everything I design relates to people, not just in terms of function, but also in terms of looks. I always want the shape and look to make an emotional impact. Of course things also need to work, but beauty does not equal superficiality!
How did the Camilla Bellini project - The Diary of a Designer come into being?
The project stemmed from the combination of my experience in design and my partner Giulia’s experience in communication. The Diary of a Designer takes quality design to people, translating theories, techniques and stories that are often only aimed at an expert audience into words that are universally understood. In the blog and on the social channels, we aim for an experiential type of narrative, never overly technical or merely commercial. We’re aiming for h2h communication, human to human.
The Diary of a Designer is followed on the various platforms by more than 72,000 design lovers. What do you think this success is due to?
I don’t yet think of it as a real success, more an attempt to fill a crucial gap between afficionados and businesses. It’s the company values that make the difference. I take that on board in my project. People probably like the emotional tone I use, my aesthetic taste, and have confidence in someone, like me, who had decided to adopt a more equal approach, from one person to another. I think consistency and attention to content have been the secret of our success, in actual fact they form the basis for the relationship of trust between me and those who choose to follow me.
In January, you represented Italy on the Maison&Objet Discovery Jury. Can you tell us what it was like? Have you got an anecdote, an emotion to share?
Maison&Objet was an incredible experience. Representing your country on such an important international stage lends a sense of responsibility to your work. It also means that your day to day efforts have been noted and that your work has been appreciated. M&O was undoubtedly a spur to further improve the quality of what I do. It also meant I got as much design as I could wish for, from every point of view, not least meeting some famous names. I mean Luca Nichetto, Rossana Orlandi and Giulio Cappellini in particular, with whom I discussed the sort of approach that characterises my online networking. As regards anecdotes, all I can say is that I made (and won!) a bet with a member of my team. I can’t say any more than that.
Design according to Camilla Bellini...?
Design is the perfection of all the details that go to make up the harmony of the whole. Nothing is left to chance in top quality design.
What does being a young designer mean today?
Design is a pretty saturated world, but the competitive atmosphere acts as a filter and rewards quality. Being a designer means being curious, being aware of stimuli and taking a standpoint. It means being able to choose one’s own creative approach amid an infinity of different opinions. Design also involves the ability to accurately gauge people and their requirements, including emotionally.
If you had to choose a design icon that you would have liked to design yourself, which would it be?
Castiglioni’s Arco lamp, without a shadow of doubt. A timeless masterpiece. This year is actually the centenary of Achille Castiglioni’s birth, marked by the 100x100 Achille exhibition.
When I say Salone del Mobile.Milano, what comes into your mind?
I think about an intense, stimulating week. I think about the creativity taking shape in the metropolitan spaces of the city. I think of the multiplicity of products, ideas and people that come together. This year I’m intrigued about Carlo Ratti’s project – exploring green design in domestic interiors.
Have you ever taken part in SaloneSatellite? What do you think about this event?
It’s a major event, it comes as no surprise that it’s now celebrating its twentieth anniversary. It’s definitely a valid point of contact between established companies and rising stars. An excellent launchpad for designers under 35.
What are your future plans for yourself and for your blog/brand?
That’s a very good question, because we’ve got so many plans in the pipeline for my blog and for the entire publishing ecosystem we’ve created. My team and I always take a cautious approach when it comes to releasing important news about ourselves. All I can say is that there will be lots of new things on the web, as well as other developments. Just follow me and you’ll find out what’s going to happen.