FROM is a young design firm founded by Cesare Bizzotto (Padua), Manuel Amaral Netto (Lisbon) and Tobias Nitsche (Munich), who got to know each other in 2011 attending the Master’s Programme in Product Design at the prestigious Écal in Lausanne.

Despite honing different skills, the three share the same vision of design: their approach starts from the observation of production methods and the particularities of materials, exploring new applications in different contexts. In contrast to purely experimental or more “making” approaches that are so commonplace among the new generations of designers, the firm sets out to work with and for businesses, creating designs focusing on production.

For its début at the Salone Satellite – the event founded in 1998 as a showcase for emerging designers and schools, placing new talents in contact with big business names and talent scouts in Milan for the Salons – FROM presents Undercover Office, a collection of four products interpreting unique formulas of contemporary work: two lamps, Volta and Abyss, the desk Duo and the chair Alpine.

And Volta won first prize in the SaloneSatellite Award, now in its 5th edition: the lamp was considered the best of all the designs on display by the authoritative panel of judges, including Paola Antonelli (senior design curator at MoMA), Elisa Astori (AD Driade), Maurizio Galante (stylist and designer), Diego Grandi (designer), Eusebio Gualino (AD Gessi, representative of the “Salone del Bagno” – International bathroom Exhibition) Justin Mc Guirk (critic and writer), Andrea Molteni (head of the Design and Development department at Dada, representative of EuroCucina), Vanni Pasca (design critic) and Livia Peraldo Matton (director of Elle Decor).

Based on economic, logistic and family considerations, or simply opportunity, analysing how people choose to manage their professions today, all leader companies have begun to focus on the overlapping idea of home and office: products must therefore have specific characteristics that make them blend into both domestic and collective settings in terms of performance, appearance and perception.

FROM’s answer to this challenge is to design complements which do not impose their own functionality but rather suggest (and allow) alternative and less formal uses. This is precisely the concept of flexibility that underlines the four items, ironically entitled “under cover”.

Volta is a ceiling lamp, its form is reminiscent of the archetypical neon strip light but by introducing LED strips it becomes a directional light. The lamp hangs from two copper cables which not only allow the strip to rotate (directing the light upwards, downwards or sideways) but are also used to conduct electricity.

Available in aluminium and granite, it can be installed in various contexts, changing the setting as needed: installed above a desk or a dining table, it can be simply rotated to change the lighting from direct to indirect. The principle is very simple, but the possibility to touch the lamp with your bare hands makes it almost magical.

Among the other products, Duo particularly stands out: a practical workstation far removed from the typically technical appearance of this type of furniture. The two drawers can be used from both sides as cable ducts, simply by fixing a multi-socket inside. Thus the table remains functional and practical for the user, but offers a more everyday and friendly sensation.

Chiara Pagani

Chiara Pagani

Originally from Modena, Chiara Pagani moved to Treviso in 2000 to study for a degree in Industrial Design at IUAV University in Venice, graduating in 2003. After her degree, she immediately started working with Evelina Bazzo/Umbrella studio, playing an active role in the press office and handling organisation and communications involving design issues. She has been in charge of coordinating cultural activities and special projects for the degree course in Industrial Design and Multimedia at IUAV since 2005: she takes care of exhibitions, conferences, workshops, competitions and editorials for publication. She has been responsible for the work placement of students since 2011, handling the entire process starting from the initial interview, the review of portfolios right through to the actual placement in companies, studios or agencies. She recently opted to make her busy schedule even more hectic by embarking upon several personal collaborations: copywriting, but most of all working with her many designer- and graphic designer friends.