“Through materiality and innovation,” Piero Lissoni believes, “architecture and design have an opportunity to build locally. Authentic placemaking is about being true to the local context, culture and community.” The renowned architect and designer knows whereof he speaks. From Italy to India, the West Coast of Canada to his Americas base in New York City, native materials are the starting point wherever Lissoni creates, enabling him to implement his humanistic philosophy through each project.
On Tuesday, November 19 in Toronto, the 63-year-old master designer will offer rare insight into his “contextual, generative” approach, ranging from his inspirations and research to the sourcing and building techniques that make a design idea a reality. Lissoni’s talk, entitled It’s All Material, will start at 6:30 p.m. at the George Brown College Waterfront Campus, located at 51 Dockside Drive, just south of Queens Quay East and Lower Sherbourne Street. It will draw on his wide range of recent projects, many of them in North America.
Among the most significant of these projects is Oakridge x Piero Lissoni in Vancouver. Set to be unveiled in 2020, Lissoni’s contribution to the Oakridge redevelopment, which is transforming an existing shopping centre into 418,000 square metres of housing, retail, office and civic space, includes the interior design for one of the ambitious complex’s residential towers.
Encompassing 42 floors and 305 units, his designs for the building’s lobby, amenities, rooftop garden and apartments were “entirely informed by the proximity and connectivity to the majestic beauty and singular topography of the Pacific Northwest – the dense forests, tree variations and mountain caps visible on the horizon when the fog breaks.”
Another major project on the continent is the Ritz Carlton Residences & Villas in Miami Beach, for which Lissoni created the exterior and interior architectural concept designs. His first built work in the United States, the project sits on seven acres in the centre of Miami Beach and includes 111 condominiums and 15 single-family villas with custom interiors by Lissoni.
Smaller in scale but no less evocative is his interior design work for a one-of-a-kind townhouse by Ten Arquitectos in Manhattan’s Chelsea district. Featuring four bedrooms, seven marble-clad bathrooms, a wine cellar, a private hammam, a yoga room and a rooftop deck, the seven-storey house has the look and feel of an art gallery, a nod to its neighbourhood being an epicentre of contemporary art. The kitchen by Boffi (where Lissoni serves as art director) was custom designed by the architect; among its imposing features is a 6.7-metre-long cantilevered counter.
In addition to Boffi, Lissoni has served as creative director for a number of major brands, including Alpi, Lema, Living Divani and Porro. He has also designed products and exhibition stands for companies such as Alessi, B&B Italia, Cassina, Fantini, Kartell and Knoll.
Lissoni Associati, the interdisciplinary studio that the architect established with Nicoletta Canesi in 1986, is headquartered in Milan. Lissoni Inc., Piero’s interior design and architectural practice serving the Americas, is located in New York City’s Soho district.
Regardless of the medium, project scale or location, however, Lissoni has long embraced a holistic approach to design and especially to placemaking that synthesizes global influences, innovation and, as he will elucidate in his AZURE Talk in Toronto, context.
The talk will be held on Tuesday, November 19 from 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at the George Brown College Waterfront Campus, located at 51 Dockside Drive, just south of Queens Quay East and Lower Sherbourne Street. The talk qualifies as one ConEd structured learning hour. A certificate will be provided by request post-event.
The acclaimed Italian architect will deliver an address on the importance of native materials and techniques to authentic design on November 19 in Toronto.