In the history of MCZ, a leading brand that produces stoves and fireplaces, 2019 will be remembered as one of the company's milestone years. Despite being one of the brands in the heating sector that has distinguished itself most for its focus on design - it won the iF Design Award in 2010 - today, MCZ is taking a further step in this direction by teaming up with three prominent figures in the field of international design: Patricia Urquiola, Paola Navone and Michael Geldmacher, who designed some of the new products of 2019.
These designers have one thing in common: none of them have ever worked in the fire sector. They decided to take different approaches to fire, based on their experience and personality, while still being open and curious, unbiased by preconceived notions - which are typical of those who experience something for the first time - and giving original and alternative perspectives.
Let's take a closer look at the projects by talking to those directly involved: Patricia Urquiola, who told us more about her Wall stove, and Andrea Brosolo, Marketing Manager of MCZ Group.
How does the decision to work with designers of the likes of Patricia Urquiola, Paola Navone and Michael Geldmacher fit into MCZ's strategy?
Andrea Brosolo: Working with designers with extensive experience in the furniture industry has allowed us to bring fire back to the forefront of the latest living trends. An increasing number of consumers want homes that are beautiful to live in, in a broad sense, therefore cosy, energy-efficient, healthy and sustainable. The revival of the domestic fire fits perfectly into this trend.
Patricia Urquiola, it is the first time you tackled the design of a stove. What was the most interesting thing about approaching this sector?
Patricia Urquiola: I was delighted to design this pellet stove because pellet's efficiency exceeds 90 percent and it ensures clean combustion with low emission levels compared to other products available on the market. Pellet stoves are both affordable and eco-friendly. The focus on sustainability and research is something that I care deeply about. Designers can play a part in making new heating products greener: as designers, we need to address this issue as far as heating is concerned, but we also have to take into consideration all the objects around us. We have to rethink the way we use energy, be it in production, transport or consumption.
How did you go about designing a stove, that is to say an object with a high level of technology that must be predefined, as opposed to designing furnishing items?
Patricia Urquiola: I like the fact that pellet stoves are smart objects, designed to interact and communicate with us. As a designer and architect, I have to deal with different and complex projects on a daily basis. I think the key aspect of any project is to be able to devise innovative and functional solutions which, first and foremost, create a deep connection with the people who will use and experience them. For the Wall stove, I had to come up with a solution to conceal the pipes, which is why I created an innovative shape, simple yet functional, to conceal the technical elements of the stove and make sure its sleek design would blend in naturally with the house.
What can you tell us about the Wall project? What was your source of inspiration for the design of this stove?
Patricia Urquiola: The idea for this stove was to create an architectural element that would blend in with the interior of the house where it is installed. This is why I chose a plain and simple geometric shape, a cylinder in which the functional parts, such as the grilles or handles, are not visible. The cylinder rests on a base that can be either made of different materials that match the surrounding environment or a decorative element.
What can a stove offer in a living environment? What do you think are the advantages of having a burning flame at home?
Patricia Urquiola: There are two aspects to be considered. The first and most important one is the focus on sustainability, which has become a priority for us designers, and I find that pellet stoves are the ideal object in this respect. The second aspect, which is more romantic, has to do with the beauty and magic of a burning flame, which is always fascinating.
Did anything in particular impress you while working with MCZ?
Patricia Urquiola: I was rather impressed by its potential and openness to the world of design and technology, its focus on the environment, its curiosity, its modernity and how easy it is to communicate and exchange ideas. And the fact that it is a smart company - in every aspect!
What was it like working with Patricia Urquiola?
Andrea Brosolo: It was such an honour for us to be able to work with Patricia, who is rightfully recognised as one of the heirs to the tradition of Italian design. Her rigorous, analytical approach is what really struck me. Before accepting the project, Patricia wanted to know more about our industry and the sustainability of our products. In order to design a product, she needs to make it her own and it must reflect her own values. And then, once she gets going, she injects vibrant energy into the project, which is evident in all her work.
How did you decide that Patricia Urquiola was the right designer for a stove?
Andrea Brosolo: Unlike many others, Patricia captures the emotional aspect of an object, as well as the value it has in our everyday life. And that is essential for a stove. It is an object that enters into family life and that must be seen as an integral part of our daily routine.
How can design positively influence the world we live in?
Andrea Brosolo: In my opinion, design is one of the most effective means of persuading an increasingly large number of consumers to choose eco-friendly, sustainable and energyefficient products. Aesthetic quality is one of the key elements of a “good product”. As a result, environmental performance and cutting-edge, attractive design are set to become the ideal combination.
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