IT Interioritratti: Manhattan Shines with Stefania Vola’s Artistic Lamps

Francesca Di Folco (August 30, 2012)
Stefania Vola, artist and architect, gives i-Italy a preview of her latest collection of sculpted lamps, including the playful “Luminaria,” “Isadora,” a dreamy dedication to Isadora Duncan, “Quel Genio Di Arturo,” a lively item inspired by quick-change artist Arturo Brachetti. Vola also speaks about the realization of the Villa Grock multimedia museum in Imperia.

Stefania Vola is an expert architect who operates internationally, an interior and exterior designer, a restorer for public and private artworks, an author of booklets for fairs and conventions and a designer for interactive museums. How can so many different activities be condensed in one person? In Stefania’s life there’s this and much more. We met this multifaceted professional in Manhattan. 

Trained in the humanities, Stefania Vola became an architect in 2002. Her polyedric nature ranges over many different fields, fueled by her creativity.

Her career was a rapid ascent. She has worked for Think Pink, Converse All Stars, DSL 55 and other fashion and sportswear brands.

Since 2004 she has freelanced as a restorer and an interior designer. In 2005 she had an important collaboration: she even works with the Order of the Architects and the Turin Chamber of Commerce where she proposes and realizes “Turin Tour,” an eccentric design-guide to the city. 

In 2006 Stefania Vola expands beyond Turin and she starts collaborating with public institutions in Piedmont, Liguria, Sardinia and Sicily. For them, she is designing immersive and interactive museums and exhibitions.

Her architectural side is combined with her artistic side, which takes shape in time.

In 2009, Stefania Vola’s production ranges from a variety of projects in the field of arts, design, furnishings, lighting and jewelry-making. A 360° creator, Vola’s approach is transversal and multidisciplinary, highly emotional and evoking poetical atmospheres. In the design and in the choice of a material, she expresses and synthesizes an identity.

Vola is in Manhattan to introduce IT interioritratti, a collection of limited edition lighting accessories and furnishings. These extravagant items are born as objects of artistic inspiration. They transcend, evade, exceed the traditional schemes: the audience can feel it in the harmony pervading each composition.

Beyond individual interpretations, IT Interioritratti is a collection of objects which provide sensory pleasure, infusing the environment with poetry, irony and playful lightness.

“IT” suggests all that these objects can evoke without actually being “it,” offering subtle emotions and harmony, with the added value of a made in Italy design. Stefania introduces us to her latest creations… “Luminaria” is a series of lamps with peculiar shapes, sensual and precious elements, giving the impression of bathing in light. Tapered shapes of women in contortionists’ poses come out of the resin, the material the artist has chosen to bring them to life.

These charming sculptures unleash unconscious emotions in the beholders through their mix of strength, energy and verve. To ensure that her US debut would happen under a lucky star, Stefania Vola decided to invite quick-change artist and international sensation Arturo Brachetti,a friend of Vola, to participate in the collection’s presentation to the public.

To Brachetti, Vola dedicated one of her creations, “Quel Genio Di Arturo,” a reinterpretation of Aladdin’s magic lamp for a modern genius that embodies the fabulous in his whimsical art. This lamp is made out of a sheet of black, resin-coated carbon fiber and is golden on the inside. It truly is a magic object, as it allows to dim the intensity of the light it sheds just by touching it.

i-Italy interviewed Stefania Vola to ask her all about her creations and philosophy.

Stefania, you are a very busy professional and your resume speaks for itself. Can you tell us something about your beginnings?

I started collaborating with architectural firms while in college. Then I had many exciting opportunities such as designing stalls for DSL55, Diesel’s youth-oriented collection, for international fairs in Germany and California. I did the same for Converse All Stars at Firenze Pitti.
Once I started freelancing I turned towards interior design, with projects that I like to define as “tailored.” One example is a studio apartment I designed in Downtown Milan so that the interior could highlight a collection of documents and artworks that the client owns. I also designed several exhibitions for public institutions and museums, in collaboration with Studio Vassallo in Turin.

From the very beginning I’ve always been interested in “cultural projects,” I believe those are at the core of my activity: creativity always springs from “dense” ideas, a core that’s poignant of many meanings, and before you translate those in formal terms you have to dissect the many facets they have, then find your way to develop them.
The complexity of a project is fascinating, harmonizing the meaning and the form is always exciting for me. That’s also why I often embarked on editorial projects, such as the “Turin Tour” guide.

With this project I wanted to provide tourists with an interest in cultural activities with a tool to help them live the city in such an exciting time as year 2006, when Turin was getting ready for the Winter Olympics.
Among my multimedia interior design projects the Clown Museum at Villa Grock, Imperia, is surely one of the most important. It was very well constructed by Bernini SPA who won a competition to build it and it will be inaugurated next Fall.

Moving from architecture to art is a very bold decision, and Interioritratti demonstrates it. Why did you decide to change the course of your career?

The project is a very challenging one at all levels…Rogers used to say “From the spoon to the city.”
After devoting myself to restorations and museum-related projects I felt the need to develop my passion for art and design, finding in the so called “art design” the right mix of the two.
I have a transversal approach that ranges from lighting to furnishings to fashion accessories. I think in terms of “collections,” with limited edition productions and with formulas that may be repeated in time.

Interioritratti is a game I wish I could play forever!

You studied in Italy and so far your work experiences all happened in Italy too, but you decided to present your collection in New York City as well. How did you decide to do so?

I was inspired to realize “Turin Tour” while attending a high-tech architecture class in London. My perspective was always international and when I started working on Interioritratti I wanted my approach to really be without borders.
I would like to match each of my collections with a city picked by rolling a globe. I think Manhattan is a perfect way to begin, with the strength and energy it infects you with!
I established some interesting connections with institutions such as the MoMA and the Lincoln Center, and with exceptional promoters based in LA. We’ll see what happens!

We know that one of the lamps in the “Luminaria” series is dedicated to Arturo Brachetti, a very well known artist in Italy and one that the American audience is starting to recognize too…

Yes, I had the pleasure to meet him when I was researching about illusionism to develop my concept for the Clown Museum at Villa Grock.
When I told him about Interioritratti he specifically requested that I dedicate an object to him, that’s how my reinterpretation of Aladdin’s lamp in carbon fiber was born. Arturo is obviously the genie of this lamp!

How would you define your style? Is there a series or an artwork you are most attached to?

My style is simple and deeply felt. In the world of the arts, where provocation is used as a weapon to draw attention on one’s work, I believe my approach goes opposite-ways. I believe that to draw attention on my work I must mix my messages with playfulness and irony.
Each object that composes Interioritratti springs from a specific inspiration and has its own nature, its own soul. I am particularly in love with the “Luminaria” series which allowed me to dedicate myself to sculpting, one of my longtime passions, and to do so with such a contemporary and light material such as resin.
I am very attached to “Blue Green Soul” and “Isadora.”

How does New York City inspire you?

New York City fascinates me. I think it is not just a physical place but a place of the mind that expresses the idea of “possibility” beyond barriers and stereotypes. I believe this is well expressed in a project which is halfway between arts and business, Bond N°9, combining a product (a perfume and its bottle) with a series of exceptional artistic interpretation of the many souls of the city.

What do you think are the main differences between architecture and arts in the US and in Italy?

I believe that American architecture is characterized by a project-oriented approach which allows the designers to be free, from the lines to the volumes. Italian talent today is expressed by the attention to the details as a means to the creation of an identity. Italian creativity however is seldom supported by organization and articulation that make it possible for the Americans to be more daring. I believe the best results can probably spring from collaborations, as the two aspects are complementary to me.