Canny collaborations: Lanzavecchia + Wai

Canny collaborations: Lanzavecchia + Wai
Singaporean designer Hunn Wai and Italian Francesca Lanzavecchia (left).

Together with his Italian partner, Singaporean designer Hunn Wai has helped put the country on the international design map.

The graduate of National University of Singapore formed Lanzavecchia + Wai in 2009 with Francesca Lanzavecchia, who graduated from Politecnico di Milano. They first met at the Design Academy Eindhoven in the Netherlands, where they were studying for their master's in design.

Her main interest lies in the relationships between objects and the human body, while he is fascinated with the interplay of materials, meanings and forms.

Their first international collaboration was in 2011, when they designed pieces for the Mercedes Benz Home Collection.

At this year's Milan Design Fair, they debuted three showpieces, including Taco - a side table with two table tops, one on top of the other - which was designed for Cappellini.

"We have a great supporter of our work and philosophy in Giulio Cappellini since we worked together for the Alcantara - MAXXI project 'Home Sweet Car' where he was co-curator, back in 2012," says Mr Wai, of their collaboration. "We have subsequently worked with companies and brands he art directs for."

Following a successful collaboration with Nodus High Design Rugs in 2013, the duo launched Mutazioni 2.0 earlier this year. This second collection showcases two rugs, one with a dragonfly on it, and the other a salamander. Mr Wai says, "We had great critical and commercial success with Mutazioni 1.0, and were asked to do a second collection."

They also started designing for Italian ceramics company Bosa. In January, Francesca Bosa, a designer in her family's business approached Lanzavecchia + Wai to contribute their design for an exhibition at the Triennale Design Museum. The brief was to create a collection of ceramic objects with animistic and even apotropaic (having the power to avert evil influences) characteristics, of which the theme is obviously animality.

The two designed fox sculptures for the exhibition, which have since been made commercially available at the recent Milan furniture fair.

Mr Wai says they are now less star-struck about working with known brands than when they first started.

"Working with great brands opens doors to working with other clients. And on top of designing products, some clients have also asked us to get on board to dictate their creative direction," he says.


This article was first published on June 13, 2015.
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