Kostantia Manthou is an architect. After working with the Campana brothers developing an experimental furniture collection for a hotel in Athens, she moved to Milan to study at SPD. She has worked with several firms and participated in Com’on, a special project with Poliform in 2011.

Manuel Torres is a Madrid based designer. He studied at SPD thanks to a scholarship from Hune Institute. His work has been exhibited in Madrid and in Milan. With Kostantia Manthou he was selected for an experimental project with Poliform, supervised by Massimiliano Adami.

How was your experience with the birth of this project? Any blank page syndrome?
K: Our ingredients were: a classic but still contemporary piece to be reinvented (the Io wardrobe by Paolo Piva) and a company with a clean and precise image (Poliform). You cannot start with anything but the blank page syndrome, but for an entire month we actually lived inside the factory. It’s been like an awesome and intense boarding school of design.
M: Yes, it’s true. From the moment we set foot in this project, it was all about intense work and development until the very end.
Voi seems to me such a small architecture, a pure volume comprising different functions.
M: It is a small architecture as it grows in space but it can also be understood as a sculpture made by different pieces you can extract or add. We designed it with a mirror in the back so that in this way it would have gone beyond the idea of a wardrobe that has a front and a back.
Even though we twisted the concept greatly, we stayed close
to its original function of a modular storage system. Or at least this is what we think it has become.
K: A piece of furniture with two different personalities was an intriguing point.
Io, which was our reference, was a slightly bigger architecture, like a boat that floats in a room. Voi is everything that Io was, and more, as it is an exploded storage facility that can hold clothes, papers, books, everything.
Konstantia, we are both architects with a passion for design. I like to think we share a human centred approach so that we tend to imagine products, which are in close relation with a space. Do you feel more challenged as a designer or as an architect?
K: Honestly, after some years of practice within both disciplines, I think that design is a form of recreation for an architect. If it is not your main job, it’s like doing architecture in a smaller scale. And then it is your chance to be creative beyond rules and restrictions.

Architect and designer, SPD teacher, Marco Merendi inherited a curiosity for lighting systems from his Dutch grandfather who used to work for Philips. He has been a consultant to Artemide, designing and developing new products. He worked with Cerri Associati before opening his own studio. His activity ranges from architecture to product and lighting design.