Maddalena Casadei for Quadro
In this preview, designer and architect Maddalena Casadei discusses Eccetera, a collection of bathroom accessories created for the Italian firm Quadro, to be unveiled at the Salone del Mobile
It was back in the early months of the pandemic and like many others I spent my time researching things. When I came across Quadro, they stood out from other businesses trying to make a name for themselves on social media because they were so laid back and low-key. That really made an impression. Therefore I scoped them out and eventually contacted them on Instagram, saying I loved their work and would be interested in hooking up. That’s how our partnership started.
I guess you could say that. They got back to me straight away and we just clicked. I don’t make it a habit of reaching out to businesses, because that can put you in an awkward position psychologically. But at the time I was so eager that I mustered the courage even though I’m rather shy. It turned out that the company wanted to expand its bathroom offerings with specially designed accessories.
They asked me to come up with a range of accessories for the brand that’s versatile enough to sit just as well in a kitchen or entrance way. Basically, Eccetera is a collection created for the bathroom but that can also be used elsewhere.
Robe hook, toilet roll holder, single and double soap dish, shelf, shelf with toothbrush holder, toilet brush and toilet roll holder combo (wall-mounted), toilet brush holder (free-standing), two trays.
It’s all very simple. Everything starts out as a metal sheet that’s folded and cut, lending itself to umpteen shapes and sizes. I liked the idea of being able to expand the range. It’s a metal sheet that you can fold and cut to create any number of different products.
As far as shapes go, I would say it all started with the material. You’ve got a two-dimensional surface that you bend into something three-dimensional.
I know all the ins and outs of working metal. When you’re talking shapes though, you can’t stray from the client’s guidelines: the shapes they want are never haphazard, they always derive from precise geometric elements.
The collection is also the result of the wonderful relationship I have with the company: their designs are crisp, clean and unfussy. Just like their production processes.
The firm is solid, stylish but understated, uncompromising yet laid-back. You can sense their elegance by the way they communicate.
I love being able to work simply and straightforwardly while retaining my own identity.
The way I look at myself never jibes with the ‘me’ that others see. People’s perception of my work is at odds with my own. Given my professional background and how I grew up, I definitely don't like drawing shapes dictated by anything I can't control. My designs are very deliberate and I always go for proportions that work well from both the aesthetic and the productive standpoint.
I like working to a very specific brief and feel a little uncomfortable when I’m given too much of a free rein. Ideally, briefs should be detailed; I love tossing ideas around in person with the client and having an actual prototype in my hands.