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28/04/2021 | DESIGN, PEOPLE

LUDOVICA+ROBERTO PALOMBA: OUR GENDERLESS PROJECTS

Posted by: Gisella Borioli, interview

Looking at women as architecture and design protagonists, it immediately stands out that in addition to a very few world-renowned womankind archistars, many studios are conducted by a cosy couple where she’s completely equal and complementary to him. Business relationship, born out of esteem and love, whose success is due to the strange chemistry that this type of partnership generates, especially after many years of mutual cooperation. It can be found in elegant objects, creative consultancy, sophisticated interior projects by Palomba Serafini Associati studio... Ludovica (Serafini) and Roberto (Palomba) celebrated their 25 years together in Milan before the pandemic darkness with an exhibition of very important unique pieces between art, design and artistic manufacture. They tell their two-voice story for AT with complicity and joy.

There are not many architects couples that, working together, have a dual-named studio. I would like to start analyzing this equal relationship with you, but not too much. Does this bipartisan approach bother you?
Ludovica: No, actually, it’s our strength! There are a lot of companies founded by several partners, we’re both architects, within the studio we stand out for different features.
Roberto: Absolutely not, on the contrary I believe that it completes our vision, a man and a woman, half of a complete overview and therefore I’m sure that our point of view is respectful for both realities. At most, we’re talking about a "Genderized" company, our project idea is Genderless.

When did you meet and what convinced you to open a studio together?
Ludovica: We got to know each other more in-depth, I think by elective, mental, taste, vision affinity, so I can say that opening a studio together was a natural consequence without too many retro-thoughts.
Roberto: We met when we were very young, we were driven by the same things view but also by both’s ability to complete the thought, making it more complex and complete.

How do you merge your personalities into a single project?
Ludovica: I would not speak of personality but vision. Two very close visions that merge, after which, in the studio’s organization we do not always participate in all works at the same time. The review moment, instead, opens the dialogue in order to develop the two-headed project. This is one of our studio great values.
Roberto: With great respect to others opinion but also through the great appreciation we have of each other.

Are they peaches and cream arguments?
Ludovica: They are always peaches, because it’s about beautiful cream, and at the same time, they sometimes hide challenges.
Roberto: It’s passion, they can be passionate and animated peaches and cream, civilization excess or detachment are synonymous with lack of interest.

Is there an intrinsic difference between a male or a female designer?
Ludovica: Intuition, creativity and intelligence have no gender. There are passions, for example he’s very fond of design, while I’m more passionate about architecture, this creates a great alchemy within the studio.
Roberto: No, person’s quality makes the difference between a good or a bad designer.

Does everyone have a role or are you interchangeable?
Ludovica: In theory, we are interchangeable, within companies. Who takes care of a project the most, then carries it forward as project manager.
Roberto: We are complementary, together we make a Super 1.

In the relationship with company and customer, are roles separate?
Ludovica: Roles are not distinct, projects are then carried out together. What is set up immediately is who will take care of a given project.
Roberto: Maybe I have a greater relationship in everyday life, however there is equality also in this.

There is yet another prize to be collected. Who goes?
Ludovica: Both!
Roberto: Absolutely both.

Is there any successful project that one deserves more than the other
Ludovica: Of course, of course! Although in all projects there is always review and a change that comes from the other, arriving, with continuous sharing, to change the sign. In a lonely world we’re never completely alone!
Roberto: We always support ourselves in every creative path, especially in process difficulty.

In 25 projects’ years, which one has given you the most joy?
Ludovica: Ginevra! Our daughter!
Roberto: Definitely our daughter.

There are many great architects considered as Masters, far fewer women in the same position. Why?
Ludovica: Being multitasking has always fooled women, that’s to say their ability to be able to do many things at the same time. However this aspect inevitably creates less time availability. While men have the tenacity to achieve a single goal on their side, women have to achieve many more roles. This holistic view of life's commitments necessarily reduces the convergence of energies in a single direction.
Roberto: Men are self-centered selfish people and tend to forget that women represent a great opportunity and resource rather than a life accessory.

Have you ever thought that it’s time to enhance the female category?
Ludovica: Yes, so deeply. Every single person thinking to be responsible for his own life, must set a goal, and a value.
Roberto: Absolutely Yes!

Did the pandemic, the lockdown, make you discover hidden sides of yourself? Did it improve or worsen your work?
Ludovica: The lockdown when we all started with smart working has certainly slowed down our work, not because we weren't ready, but because we mainly love working with other people. Talking about lockdown in general, it was a very interesting moment of analysis because it allowed us to deepen many aspects of our projects.
Roberto: For those of us who are great travelers, the lockdown forced us to make a journey this time inside ourselves and every introspection represents anyway a growth.

Tell me the truth, who is the boss?
Ludovica: Definitely Noha - golden-eyed, a little stray girl found in Salento.
Roberto: Surely the legendary stray Noha, adopted in Salento and who certainly has the greatest attitude to command in the family.

Ludovica Serafini and Roberto Palomba for Ipertesto, exhibition dedicated to Palomba Serafini's 25 years at Tommaso Calabro gallery in Milan.
Sogliano Cavour, a 17th century old oil mill renovated maintaining the link with territory, from local stone to the typical “star” ceilings. Ph. Francesco Bolis
Palazzo Daniele, Boutique Hotel born from the architectural restoration project of the aristocratic residence dating back to the 19th century.
Palazzo Daniele, winner of the AHEAD award, highlights the theme of detachment, spaces left by their function, where ancient and modern dialogue in perfect harmony.

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