Paolo Piva (13 March 1950 in Adria − 6 July 2017 in Vienna) was one of the most prominent Italian architect-designers of the late 20th century. Over the course of his career, he created seating, case goods, kitchens and more for major European design brands while making a significant contribution to the field of architecture in Venice and Vienna. Before he passed away in 2017, Paolo Piva created a very sophisticated and stylish product line for Ersa Life with great enthusiasm, and this heritage was enough for his designer sons, Daniel and Oliver Piva, to finish what Paolo Piva began.
Interview: Merve Aktaş
First of all, we are very grateful to you for accepting our interview request. Please tell us briefly about yourselves.
We are Oliver and Daniel, the two older sons of Paolo Piva, and it is our pleasure to be given the possibility to continue Paolo’s work with Ersa.
Oliver, the oldest of three sons of Paolo, was born in 1972. Trained in architecture, he worked with Wilhelm Holzbauer and joined Paolo’s Studio after graduation at the IUAV in Venice. Daniel, born in 1974, studied architecture and graduated in industrial design at the University of Applied Arts in Vienna with Borek Sipek.
Together we worked in our father’s studio for both architecture and design.When our father passed away so unexpectedly two years ago, we decided to continue our path on the foundation of the experience we gained collaborating with Paolo.
How would you describe growing up with one of the most prominent architects and designers of the world? We believe Paolo Piva’s perception and personality deeply changed your personal and professional life.
Paolo was a very strong character – consistent in his principles and statements in design and life. He was, first and foremost our father of course. There was a whole lot to learn from his example – as a designer and as a person. Architecture, design and art were normal to us – we simply grew up with it.
Görselleştirme : Tansu Fidan
We know that Paolo Piva was held by a fascination for architecture and design, and kept it throughout his life. We’d like to know what lay behind such great fascination and motivation.
In the years when our father started his business, design was still very much based on human relation and the actual object – computer-drawings did not play the role that they do nowadays. At the times design was beginning to be established as an independent profession, there was great conceptual freedom. This we believe is a rich driver for motivation.
As you know Ersa Life is the first product line developed for living spaces by Ersa with 60 years of experience in the office furniture sector. It’s also the first time Paolo Piva and you collaborated with a Turkish brand. What are your thoughts on the new Ersa Life series and products Paolo Piva and you designed and developed?
When Paolo got to know Ersa, he immediately felt affinity for this family-owned business and was enthusiastic about the challenge to design for this innovative endeavor built on rich experience of generations. The spirit of personal relation and discussion recalled the enthusiasm and motivation at the beginning of his career.
With the design for the products for Ersa Life, we pursue Paolo’s notion of timeless design that goes beyond short-lived fashions. The elegance of Paolo’s products derives from his search for balanced proportions.
Antilia Kanepe & Squadro Sehpa Designed by Paolo Piva
Fotoğraf: Şener Yılmaz Aslan
Ersa is celebrating its 60th anniversary with “60 years of Good Design” motto that underlines its passion for good design and heritage. We strongly believe these are very familiar notions for you. What does “good design” mean to you and what do you think is the role of heritage in design?
There is a great responsibility in designing and shaping the material environment we live in. We try to design things that are still justified when our children will live with them. Heritage is a treasure and responsibility at the same time.
Speaking of heritage, your collection in Ersa Life also stands for its contemporary and modern characteristics. Can we say your design approach embraces the past while it is actually shaped by future?
Starting from Paolo’s designs, we simply continue to seek what we feel can last.
Fotoğraf: Şener Yılmaz Aslan
As co-founders of Studio Piva, you built your company on a background of years of close collaboration with Paolo Piva, and you have developing individual ideas and concepts in architecture and design since 2007. What about the future of architecture and design excites you the most?
The dynamic changes of our society, of our ways of life, of work and the complexity of product development pose an exciting challenge to the profession of design. So there is a whole lot of changing requirements and “new” questions that we are curious to find answers to.
Thank you for your time.