Studiolo 2.0

Alessandra Fumagalli Romario

Milan, Italy | Wood: cherry

Alessandra Fumagalli Romario is a product designer based in Milan. After her degree at the Polytechnic of Milan she moved to London to continue her studies at the Royal College of Art, where she graduated in 2019 in Design Product. During her last year of her masters she developed “Imaginary Language”, a tool to foster creativity. The project has been nominated for the “Design kids award 2019” and has won the “KI award”. Her approach to design is holistic and responsible: she always combines different disciples into her research with the aim of designing products that are socially and environmentally sustainable.

‘I really liked the contrast that we were all working together virtually but talking about, and working with, a material that is very solid. We had to start thinking about the idea of touching, which was something we really missed during this time.’
  • The design process

    One aspect of many people’s lives that changed over lockdown was our new reliance on platforms such as Zoom. We discovered new things about people from the objects on the shelves behind them. ‘We have new boundaries but, at the same time, many disappeared,’ Fumagalli Romario points out. ‘It was a new way of having a relationship with people. Everything moved from the physical dimension to a virtual one. And it was very interesting for me to see people using their own environments to express themselves. The private and the public space got completely mixed together. That made me wonder how we can regain control of our private sphere.’

  • The making of the final piece

    For Studiolo 2.0, Fumagalli Romario elected to use American cherry. ‘The aesthetic of it is amazing,’ she explains. ‘The veins are very unusual – they kind of create abstract shapes. You can project different scenarios in the wood itself. I wanted a wood that talked by itself and I think cherry does that. Also, I love its warm colour. The other thing is that it’s a wood that changes colour very quickly if exposed to the light. It’s very important nowadays to have objects that remind us that they come from nature and change and mutate over time.’

  • The end result

    Studiolo 2.0 is a kind of cabinet that sits behind the user on a Zoom call – acting almost like the set of a stage play – with doors that flip in different directions. ‘My idea was to create a scenography that can be used as an extension of ourself. It can be controlled so you can decide what you show and what you don’t.’