“A product should preserve aesthetic as well as ethic”
Story: Andrea Epifani, 49 years old from Lecce, is considered one of the most creative designers in Apulia. In 1998 he began his training as a self-taught, exploring the world of crafts in his family home, immediately revealing as an eclectic artist that can achieve highly appreciated results. He attended several laboratories to learn about stone, iron and clay processes. His creativity explodes in 2000 when he opens his first personal laboratory, where he designs and realizes many works: among the most appreciated collections "Cikli", lamps and complements between craftsmanship and design and the paper chairs "The body is perfect", presented at Salone Satellite in Milan in 2004. At the same time it constantly stimulates artistic activities on an urban level involving local and non-local personalities.
Particular signs: One of his iconic products is without a doubt the chair "No Smoking", produced in collaboration with Officine Tamborrino: made entirely of hand-pressed recycled paper, the seat can be in the smooth / rough or rough / smooth version and in different colors.
As Andrea states, "the production technique (common to the entire series of " No Smoking " by AE) turns what was once an industrial product into a “mold”: the material used makes this object solid but still extremely light" .
Current production: He works with passion different materials, such as wood, clay, iron and paper, for which he has been mentor & partner to us. An tireless and inexhaustible artist and designer, participant of many local, national and international initiatives, today he is a reference point for creativity and an example of professionalism for all the artists of the territory.
You are a disciple of an ancient and traditional art, how did you manage to innovate and be different?
I got to know the art of papier-mâché marginally and only at the beginning of my career in a studio in the historic center of my city, Lecce.
In every city the papier-mâché has a traditional use and in Lecce specific sheets of paper are used, therefore new, not posing on molds but to be modeled in figures and drapes.
Therefore, compared to my work today, I would definitely not speak of papier-mâché, but of innovative use of paper.
If we really want to remain tied to tradition, my gesture was to betray it! First of all, betray the material: in the "NO Smoking" series, in fact, I do not use new material but recycled paper obtained with catalogs discarded by furnishing companies and newspapers; secondly, betray of the technique: in the same series the paper is blended and not used in intact sheets as it is done for the cartapesta Leccese;
finally the use of the mold removes the final product from being a sculptural object and brings it closer to the seriality of the industry making it contemporary and accessible.
The innovations are multiple and are all driven by the need to return the product to its own ethics. I didn't start from tradition but from this energy boost, it was the instrument of my imagination.
How do you see yourself in ten years?
Creative people have a huge responsibility: open new worlds. In 10 years I hope that reality has come closer to me and it will surely have found me more beautiful, younger, healthier and freer [laughs]
I will be at the same time in every place of this wonderful planet, perhaps inaugurating new ethical and aesthetic productions together with many communities. I prefer to live this present anyway.
artist - designer