Interview with Petra Zakrajšek Ceo of Gao Architect

Petra Zakrajšek Ceo of Gao Architect “Each new project is a challenge, leading me to create a striking image using furniture, colour, texture and materials, with new concepts of space and light”

Welcome to our web site rubric that usually hosts architects and opinion leader of Habitat & Design.

What does it mean to be entrepreneurs in Lubjana and what the differences with doing business in Italy.

Being entrepeneurs in Ljubljana means that you have to work your way up and build your brand slowly,taking care of all aspects of your small business and the most important part of course, is the satisfaction of the clients. Thats makes you grow and it is a base. At least it was for my company. The added value is a modern aproach to marketing. That, in my case, is very personal.

I would imagine the difference between Slovenia and Italy is that Italy has a much bigger and more developed market ,with a long and rich history of interior design. In Slovenia,we are still learning……

From its observatory how do you see the future of Design?

I think that design will again become much warmer and cozy ,involving all of the human senses. Especially, the home will become a place  where people feel safe and beautiful. On the other hand, industrial design will still continue to be less personal , so the gap between theese two aspects will grow.

What should an entrepreneur do today to be competitive in the Habitat & Design industry?

You have to learn and inform yourself every single day. Not just in the field of design, because this is too narrow, you have to be curious about everything in life, especially art. Art is a reflection of our current society.

At the last salon in Mobile in Milan we noticed a revival of the industry with a fundamental passage in the design area towards the Materico leaving behind a minimalism that has run out. What do you think?

I am impressed and happy about it. It is a sign of art coming back to nature and also the human kind understanding that relations between people are the biggest treasure of ours and that there is no room for minimalism. For me personally, interior design is like a river of life.

Which projects are you currently devoting to?

We just finished with designing show flats for a big Slovenian developer Prva hiša , we are slowly finishing with implementation works for two Penthouses in Situla and doing three different refurbishments of private houses and a duplex flat.

Talking about the future, what role does digital communication play in the design world today?

It is a big role, but I don’t think interior design can ever be totally replaced by digital communication, because it is still a lot about feelings and a personal approach to the clients . I think that personal charisma and determination of an interior designer, are both so important throughout the whole  process of designing, construction and furnishing. It is our mission, and in the end, the only possible way, that both ,the client and the interior designer are happy with the end results.

The last question is about the future of young entrepreneurs. What are your thoughts on this?

My biggest wish is to design interior abroad. To expand my work in Europe and learn from people with different mentalities and cultures. It is a creative process and I am learning so much from my clients. I want to  expand my horizons  internationally.



We continue our journey inspired by the creativity of the arch.Diego Granese.
The beauty of natural stone coupled with the Mediterranean flavors and the chef’s excellence of the Costa Cilento Team, has created these new products of which we are particularly proud of
We tried to involve all the senses: taste, sight, touch, smell.

For the hearing we entrust ourselves to the waves of our Mediterranean, he will think of him to complete our work!

Questions & Answers with with Gian Piero Santin founder of ARTE & STILI

Questions & Answers  with Gian Piero Santin founder of ARTE & STILI Limited, born in 2015 with the aim of proposing solutions that suggest the use of crafts “Vietrese” crafts.

An important reality in the city with the roots of a craftsmanship that maintains the traditional handmade principles, where the dense color brush makes each unique and unrepeatable ceramic.

It is our pleasure to host the architect Gian Piero Santin in this column to gather a vision of contemporaneity.

What does it mean to export the “local” to a globalized economy?

A few years ago I had the opportunity to work in London for the renovation of apartments. It was then that I proposed Vietri’s ceramic material, then used with great success. In the years to come, I have continued to dream of exporting the beauty of our economy and today, realizing this dream, I am proud to contribute, to a minimum, to the globalization of the peculiarities of every part of the world.

How is the art of Vietri in the Capital of Western Business perceived?

In London, Italian craftsmanship is already something special (see pizza, pasta, mozzarella, etc.) and Vietri’s ceramics are even astonishing: this looks on the smiling face of everyone who looks at the showcase of the shop I open to a few Steps from Covent Garden.

What does it mean to be entrepreneurs in London and what the differences with doing business in Italy.

I’m just beginning to call me an entrepreneur, but I can already say the huge difference with doing business around Italy. First of all the non-existence of bureaucracy: the permissions provided are obtained within a few days, just follow the rules required. It is by no means the lowest tax burden due.

Is Made in Italy still a distinctive feature of world production?

As already pointed out in the second question, Made in Italy for the English (but I think for so many countries) is a distinctive good taste, a natural expression of the “Bel Paese” and, better, of the sun and happiness.

From its observatory how do you see the future of Design?

The future of design is certainly positive. Almost all of us have the propensity for everything that is “Design”. Having design objects or materials has become a “status symbol” that only a few today know how to deprive them.

At the last salon in Mobile in Milan we noticed a revival of the industry with a fundamental passage in the design area towards the Materico leaving behind a minimalism that has run out. What do you think?

Every style has its own time, though my idea of doing architecture fits well with minimalism, I think it’s fair to vary. The material on the other hand is certainly a style that will find a great response to that “heat” feeling that otherwise minimalism did not transmit.

Which projects are you currently devoting to?

Fortunately, I have several projects in Italy that see me engaged in my profession as an Architect, in particular an important healthcare facility that will grow from here until the next two years.

We started off with a present that shows a new search for the locale with regard to globalization, but what has gone wrong?

By character I never regretted the past because every day there is always something to believe firmly and commit to optimizing the hoped out results.

Short Interview  with Valeria Prete

Valeria Prete, president of the group Textile Design System House of Confindustria Salerno; entrepreneur is creative, enterprising and visionary.

His company TEKLA is the synthesis of a thirty-year experience industry group that develops thanks to continuous innovative drive and constant research in technology.
1 – What means do “” system today?
Making system means engage, excite and drag.
2 System House is a form of aggregation of companies of Textiles & Design Group of Confindustria Salerno. What are the objectives of Casa System?
The primary objective of this year is knowledge. Share and disseminate greater knowledge through forms of cooperation for the exchange of experiences, information and research-oriented mutual updating. Through this integration, the working group also intends to get to know more about the local, national and international market.
3. What should motivate System House for aggregation SMEs
Our task is to stimulate and support the entrepreneur to knowledge and action. We want to bring SMEs on this vision. We think that if we stay focused on ourselves, we will remain focused on the small; but if each of us makes available a part of our small commune with colleagues we could do things large.
4. What was your first action as President and what’s next?
The first intervention was geared to the involvement of all members of the group. We organized the First Factory Design Contest Young which involved not only the companies belonging to Confindustria Salerno but also many young architects in the design world, the universities, and well-known architectural firms.
The next action will be a presentation of projects of this Contest at Fuori Salone in Milan, Tortona area, the 4th April.
5. he is at the gates of the next exhibition in Milan, believes that the strategy is still fair for the world of design?
I think it’s one of the best showcases for the international market Habitat & Design. A moment of great prestige for Italian Design which exhibits; It will be a week full of creativity and internationality.
Milan will be for a week, the World Design Capital.
We will be present with 10 companies and 15 young professionals who have collaborated once by the system.
6. From his observatory how he sees the future of design.
Hard question. The design world is full of charm, creativity, projected towards the originality and uniqueness of products and images which surround our eyes in the near future.
7. Valeria Prete in addition to being an example as President is businesswoman visionary and pragmatic. Tell us in a few words your company and what expectations was in the B2B?
My company Tekla, deals with everything related to the openings of a home in both the residential and the tertiary sector. Participate in B2B with the interests of developing new relationships in emerging markets. The quality of buyers present us hope.

We thank Valeria Prete for bringing a quality contribution with his enlightened thought in this column.


Short interview with Marino Firmani

Marino Firmani is an International Marketing manager experienced in particular in the field of Habitat & Design. He helps manage international projects for SMEs. His work involves the coordination of shares, tools, relations and services, strategically addressing market changes for working in a competitive environment. He is assisting the directors of Cianciullo Marmi in an internationalisation project.

We were able to talk with him on this very matter.

What is the current situation of the world of furnishings?

Last year we were able to breathe the air of revival and renewal. The era of minimalist design, which risked a kind of trivialisation of the product, is now over. Materials like wood and stone have regained value, thanks also to advanced technology. The latter is playing a more important role than ever in the production of all things “made in Italy”.

What should an entrepreneur do today to be competitive in the industry of Habitat & Design?

The future of our SMEs lies in the creation of new cycles of commercial development with certain shorter international distribution channels for strengthening relations and ensuring the trust of the end customer at all times. Development and growth are required in a competitive and fragmented scenario such as ours, and players with expertise need to be able to generate value using the resources at their disposal. To identify the skills required to implement a strategy, you need a clear vision of the future that takes into account distinct and recognisable elements of the market.

Is it necessary, therefore, to invest in internationalisation?

Small and medium enterprises are less able to invest in the creation of distribution platforms and in brand promotion, and they have fewer resources for the research and development of products and competitive processes, and less bargaining power with distributors. To strike out alone now is less advantageous than ever. Creating a “System” with complementary and territorial alliances can help to achieve greater economic strength, with adequate human resources and capital for investing in internationalisation and innovation.

The new challenges posed by globalisation and the problems associated with the current economic crisis have brought to the fore the importance of collaborative networks of small and medium-sized enterprises, models of excellence for facing the future. In fact, networks do not present the typical weaknesses of small and medium-sized enterprises as they serve to strengthen knowledge and professional, managerial and organisational skills.

Is the fragmentation of the Habitat & Design industry a drawback or an advantage?

Fragmentation appears to be a drawback for growth and an advantage for breaking onto the market.

The sector of reference is characterised by a great many players, at the level of both production (a divided market, without leadership) and distribution. These players differ in terms of the geographical scope of their businesses (local, regional, national or international), distribution channel (B2B or B2C), and type of material. Entrepreneurs need to stimulate change more in management than in production.

The weaknesses that currently threaten competitiveness of the sector are a scarce business culture, an excessive focus on the product to the detriment of marketing, relatively little investment in technology and machinery, and the size of companies too small to take on the global market.

The factors that determine the success of Italian businesses in the industry are, without doubt, the quality of the product, flexible production and entrepreneurship.

What role does digital communication play in the world of design today?

You have to communicate in the domain of B2B and B2C, but you must also open your eyes more to C2C and C2B. Interaction with the consumer is key. The integration of traditional communication with digital communication that speaks “one to one” and “many to many”: this will be the key. Direct communication with the consumer is possible mainly through the WEB and social networks.

The last question is about the future of young entrepreneurs. What are your thoughts on this?

Young entrepreneurs need to be equipped to get on the right foot with Industry 4.0. The industrial world is evolving as is also the entire global landscape, and new technologies are its protagonists. The main accelerators of the Manufacturing System which we cannot do without are: Automation, Big-data, Connectivity, Green Energy, Digital Commerce and Artificial Intelligence. The future is now, and it is important to realise this.

Maison & Object

While in 2016 Rose Quartz and Serenity Blue suggested an air of tranquillity, for 2017 the Design world has chosen brilliant light green as the colour of the year. It’s a colour that evokes a feeling of rebirth, strength and energy.

Design, home living, lifestyle, decoration: all this in a January full of exhibitions and events, first at Cologne with Imm-Cologne and then in Paris at the Maison & Object fair; to be followed by the Milan Furniture Fair in April.

The first appointment of 2017 bodes well for the world of design, with the Cologne event attracting over 1,300 exhibitors. Italian Design was represented with 130 exhibitors, including displays in the Living Kitchen area by 34 globally famous brands. Operators in the sector had the chance to explore all that is new in the furniture industry: furniture, lighting, decorative objects, fabrics, coverings, outdoor living, etc.

After Cologne came another unmissable appointment for all design enthusiasts: the Maison & Objet Fair in Paris. Dedicated to trends in the home, the exhibition is divided into three sections: maison (for interiors), objet (accessories and decorative objects) and influences (luxury furniture and the latest fashions).

The theme for 2017 is Silence”.

In today’s society with its excessive hyperactivity, the home is seen as a refuge, a place to restore our calm and serenity. In this way, we can discover the beauty of the essential in those objects that we have in our homes, with a focus on simplicity, transparency and ethereal tones.


Short interview with the architect and designer Diego Granese

His projects in the fields of urban redevelopment and conservative restoration, directional design and renovation of private buildings like tourism facilities and designer buildings are characterised by a formal simplicity and absolute elegance of construction.

The prizes and awards he has received on an international level place him at the centre of an eclectic and innovative sphere of creativity.

It is our pleasure to have him with us to present a vision of the world we live in.

The future is not a gift but something we have to work for every day. What do you envisage for future generations?

The future is always something uncertain and that is not necessarily a bad thing.

Our times are already very difficult and unfortunately there is much uncertainty for the future of us all.

Young people are caught in the middle of this historic revolution of the labour market, with the boom of the digital age and the economic crisis to which many countries around the World have fallen prey. Young people are always amazed at the great differences between what their parents went through and what they themselves live every day and wish for their future. Like during any historical period, the past and the future are in opposition. Adults have a “vision” that is invariably tied to the past and their experiences, while young people generally have a revolutionary and more advanced “vision”.

The digital age has changed the Modern World and the young people of today are the result of, and pivotal to this change. They represent the basis for a new future that will surely have to take into account the errors and positive experiences of the past and form the foundations for something new that I think is still unknown.

Technology has changed our future. How are exhibition venues and the culture of living evolving in this era of advanced technology?

Advanced technology and the digital age have completely changed how we live, exist, communicate and promote “doing”. Despite a greater emphasis on technology and an absolute search for the “new” and “technological”, there is fortunately a return to the simple things and true values of life, doing and existence.

I see that all this is beginning to harmoniously integrate with the digital age and an outcome is the synthesis of this confluence which will be of great benefit to the community and to progress.

The success of “Made in Italy” is due to our creative capacity expressed mainly through design and a taste for beauty, and a favourable position on the foreign exchange market. Today, development is about “low cost” and “high value”. In your opinion, will Italy be able to continue promoting “Made in Italy”?

We represent Italy. We are the Italians who, throughout history, have always excelled in “doing” and creativity. Although this is currently an extremely difficult period, there is already a new revolution in living and working that combines quality of life and the originality of “doing”.

Are there good design schools in Italy?

There are now many Design Schools in Italy, in fact I would say there are too many and unnecessarily so.

The profession of the designer has been overrated for years. Most design schools create an illusion as the future cannot cater for such a high number of new designers around the world, especially since the quality and level of specialisation are too low.

I think this will only result in more disillusioned and unemployed people who, without any real career, will pride themselves on renderings that may be beautiful but, more often than not, unfeasible and prohibitively expensive and totally unsuitable for an increasingly ruthless and speculative global market.

Personally, I would suggest that, instead of more design schools, we should have Arts and Crafts laboratories of excellence where the digital era must integrate synergistically with skilled craftsmanship, technology and what Italians “do” and “do well”.

At the last Milan Furniture Show we noticed a revival of the sector with a critical move in the area of design towards the Material, leaving behind a faded minimalism. What do you think?

Minimalism, like all fashions, has been relegated to memory; there are other fashions such as those of the super decorative and vintage, but even these will have an end. Precisely for this reason I believe that one should never set one’s sights on any particular fashion but instead follow a personal design path with an approach to creation that is fair, simple and beautiful.

How do you see the future of design?

I believe talking about Design is a thing of the past. In fact I think the era of Design has been an important historical period that, since the early ’50s, has breathed life into a cultural and creative economic trend generating great wealth and visibility for our country. Now we must turn the page as the mine has now been exhausted, and form a different “vision” better suited to our current period of history and the future.

By design, we now mean almost everything that is designed or put into production, whether beautiful or ugly, useful or useless, right or wrong; this has sealed the real end of Design and Excellence.

The future will undoubtedly be that of “doing” and “doing well”, of the useful without wasting natural and financial resources.

We must generate new synergies in new areas of doing, and create new fields of Excellence.

The future will be about functionality, ease and usefulness, doing things well and in the right way, where man existing in harmony with nature and resources will have to be the focus of the world and of culture.

As for the rehabilitation of historic centres in the provinces: in all developed countries, urban centres are experiencing a period of severe identity crisis; they are subjected to centrifugal forces that, due to new rules set down by the market, shift and transform their primary functions. Historical centres are changing from places of socialisation and exchange into new geographic entities and the elements that once formed the basis of their existence are all too often disappearing. The historical centre is no longer, therefore, a definite feature of our towns; it is no longer the point of reference that lends a specific identity to an urban area. What is your opinion of this?

Unfortunately, as an architect, I must say that urban planners have made many errors in the transformation of cities and regions.

The lure of a quick buck has caused irreparable damage and clouded the minds with easy speculations, and greatly harmed the community. Unfortunately such damage is still being caused as a result of nefarious deals that lose sight of the real needs of people, society, culture, memory and the land. It is Cyclopean damage that sadly has been going on all too long. We need a real Cultural Revolution that can put man and a peaceful future back at the centre of “Making Architecture” rather than the economic interests of the few who, supported by a nefarious political class, only cause damage to and sterility of true important “places”.

What projects are you working on right now?

There are several projects my staff and I are currently working on.

My eclectic tastes have always helped me greatly in my profession because I have always avoided the static nature of the simple offer of an architect or designer, entering rather into diverse and more specialised fields on a design, cultural and entrepreneurial level.

At the moment I am working a lot with companies as an all-round creative consultant to generate savings, break into new markets, create culture and lend quality to “doing” and to the product.

Consulting in the fields of Architecture, Interiors, Design and Exhibiting is still my daily bread but I should stress that there is a “modus operandi” to all my work that keeps Man, Nature, the Land and a future of great beauty and peace at the forefront.

We started with the future, but do you have any regrets regarding the past?

Oh no, definitely no regrets.

I think we shouldn’t regret the past but rather we must analyse it and always make the most of it.

The fact of having had a past is already something positive; in fact it is proof that we have existed and had experience.

The past can be more or less full of positive or negative things, experiences, defeats and victories, loves and disappointments, but this is right and normal.

Our task is to always bear in mind the past and all that it has given or taken from us.

Past experiences help us avoid making the same mistakes and give us strength to do things and in the right way, and achieve results; in my mind this is the basis for building the foundations of a better, peaceful and more beautiful future.

We thank the architect Diego Granese for giving us  a clear vision of the contemporary world

Short Interview with Massimo Cianciullo


The history of Cianciullo Marmi began four generations ago. What has characterised these generations?

Towards the end of the 19th century, the founder Antonio Baldi, a sculptor and craftsman with a degree from the Academy of Fine Arts, distinguished himself for his initiative and entrepreneurship.

Between the turn of the 20th century and the end of World War II, his grandchildren Bonaventura and Cianciullo Carmine further developed the manufacturing and commercial side of his business.

The following generation, in the 60s, was represented by Ugo Cianciullo, the son of Bonaventura, who formed the current company in Salerno and boosted trade with the expansion to foreign markets.

The current generation, Paola and Massimo Cianciullo, took over in the early 80s at the time of the second economic boom, and favoured an expansion into the markets of the USA and Europe while establishing the company’s firm position in the Italian market.

Innovate to compete?

Innovation is now a whole new ball game; it is no longer about a simple entrepreneurial spark that can make a product an easily reproducible work of art. Innovation means to first change one’s mindset and be willing to take on the risks associated with new horizons, and not sit idly by but continue to be inspired to build and invent. Cianciullo Marmi lives for innovation as much today as it did yesterday, and will continue to do so.

What should the modern-day entrepreneur do to be competitive in the field of architecture and interior design?

He should be conscientious, work out the production processes and the costs of construction involved, and must ensure better distribution and know how to communicate.

What are the critical issues of today?

The weakness of the sector lies in the two latter stages, distribution and communication. Communication requires continuous updating of the product and its various forms. Distribution requires widespread presence in the target markets.

What is the best approach to production for those who work with marble?

We begin with the research and selection of raw materials, and then offer the benefit of our skills and expertise to help architects and designers best harness their creativity for their projects.

How do you see the prospect of Italian businesses?

Italy needs an industrial future that is a long time coming! Italian companies are conditioned by globalisation and may yet emerge again if they focus on quality, excellence and broadening of the scope of production. Entrepreneurial Italy will have to work harder than ever before to attain the levels of widespread well-being to which we were formerly accustomed.

Is there a solution?

I think it is necessary to jump-start a spending power, currently blocked by the austerity policy.

What is your opinion of Made in Italy?

It is to be promoted nationwide. Its success is down to creativity, design, quality and entrepreneurial drive, all intangible values that meet non-rational desires better than any others, and this has previously been possible thanks also to competitive labour costs and a favourable foreign exchange rate. The world of Made in Italy has suffered on three fronts: a growth in labour costs (from 2002 to date, these have gone up 18% in Italy but down 8% in Germany), a weak position on the currency markets, and a financial and economic crisis (in 2008) that has reduced consumption on traditional markets. To extricate ourselves from this, we need a competitive industrial policy.

The crisis?

It is a crisis to be interpreted as a global trap: an economy gone mad, a machine “governed” only by the lack of rules desired only by a few speculators, and an impersonal sovereignty of a mere game of playing with capital.

What change do you foresee?

Change will be a very long and slow process. There will definitely be a need to review all the welfare systems to which we are accustomed. We must hope that the system can withstand this new transition. The task of the sovereign states will be to lead and follow change to avoid any dangerous repercussions.

And Europe?

Europe is currently an aggregate of countries where the strongest, and Germany in particular, exercise their hegemony over the others. Germany and the stronger states will in fact be the ones forced to revise their economic policies, or risk an implosion that could damage first their autonomy and then that of Europe. There is a need to step up and take forward the process of expansion beyond Europe.

What hope do we have?

To deconstruct and then rebuild, starting with the real economy. This reasoning leads me to hope that we can still build a future for our country, supporting the real economy and rebalancing it with the financial one. Change will be possible when the market, also through the medium of politics, will overcome distributional inequalities. The system will have to develop greater institutional credibility, modernising the concept of the country.

The future?

It belongs to the young; I believe the under 30s will be those who’ll change the future. I see them, I listen to them and I respect them. They are growing up with the fear of insecurity, with the desire to change and with the energy of their age. I see them facing up to collaborative competition that produces positive effects with a view to rebuild our country.

Cianciullo Marmi, Partner of the Young Factory Design project

Positive synergies between Professionals and Enterprises thanks to Young Factory Design – Contest Salerno of the CONFINDUSTRIA of Salerno.
Young Factory Design. Contest reserved for architects, designers and planners under 40
The Gruppo Legno – Sistema Casa of Confindustria Salerno has organised the first edition of the Young Factory Design, a contest of ideas addressing architects, designers and planners under 40. The contest was sponsored by the Roll of Architects of Salerno, and the industrial design Association of Campania and Napoli Creativa.
Design solutions for furnishing and/or design items were proposed and/or textile products for the home and/or showrooms, including proposals that uphold the material of the participating manufacturing companies.
It is our pleasure to publish a brief presentation of the projects related to the Marbles sector

Slovenia calls Made in Italy: Cianciullo responds.

The meeting in Ljubljana has opened new horizons for the future.
Marino Firman, the Project Manager for Cianciullo, has joined PetraZakrajšek, SaraHočevar and Tjaša to form a working group for the study of furnishing solutions suited to a market increasingly attentive to detail.
The purpose is to offer housing solutions with a modern twist where classic tradition is the new value.
Mediterranean culture is creatively combined with that of Central Europe to meet the need for a new European interpretation of living.
Ljubljana meets Salerno. Slovenia calls #MadeInItaly. “Designing-Stone” is the result of European influence
A mixture combining the modern with the traditional.


#House #interior #design #livingroom #Slovenia #Mediterraneo #Italy #GaoArchitects #minimalist #Ljubljana #CianciulloMarmi

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