Five minutes with Italian design legend Paola Navone, who recently collaborated with NLXL on a vibrant wallpaper collection, on why she is so in love with the colour blue.
How do you describe the particular blue you use most?
“My” blue is a kind of fluid, powerful indigo. It’s a mysterious, ancient colour, and it makes me feel at home while also taking me far away – to countries like Africa or India, or to places near the Mediterranean Sea that are very special to me.
What first drew you to this colour? It’s been part of your work since the 1980s.
I have a huge attraction for cold, liquid colours that do not have a sense of earth. I was born in March; I am a fish. Water is my natural element, and blue for me has a kind of hypnotic effect. I’m drawn to it because it can be so many things: it can be soft or full of energy, or it can look contemporary or traditional, or ironic, or tribal or pop. It gives me so many unexpected opportunities to be creative.
You’ve designed for a wide range of brands, from Gervasoni and NLXL to Crate&Barrel and Anthropologie. Do you take a different approach with each client?
My “tools” are always the same: simplicity, curiosity and irony. Simplicity is my way of living and thinking about design. Curiosity is to see the little wonders that are everywhere. And irony makes even the simplest things special.
What are you working on now that uses your signature colour?
I’m working on two interior projects: a patisserie in Athens and a bar in Paris. I have just finished a new collection for Dominique Kieffer by Rubelli, the Venetian textile company. Of course, in all these things my blue is always there.