How Italian Roots and a Holistic Approach Shapes the Design Philosophy of Sergio Mannino Studio

At the crossroads of tradition and today, Sergio Mannino Studio has established itself as a key player in the global design landscape. Founded in 2008 by Sergio Mannino, a designer and architect with deep roots in Florence, Italy, the studio has made a name for itself by blending the rich heritage of Italian design with contemporary elements. This unique approach has led to the creation of spaces and products that resonate with both functionality and beauty, spanning various countries including China, Italy, Canada, and the United States.

Sergio Mannino’s educational and professional journey in Italy, from Memphis Milano, and particularly his work with design icons Ettore Sottsass and Remo Buti, has significantly influenced his design philosophy. His experiences have instilled in him a belief that design goes beyond function, serving instead as a method of communication and a means to enhance human behaviors and affect feelings. This foundation led him to New York, where he has continued to apply these principles through a wide array of projects, from retail spaces to residential interiors and custom furniture.

Sergio Mannino Studio has developed a reputation for its diverse capabilities, encompassing retail, residential, interior, and furniture design. The studio thrives on its multidisciplinary approach, merging architecture, interior design, graphic design, and branding to create cohesive and immersive environments. This holistic approach is a testament to the studio’s belief in the seamless integration of various design disciplines to achieve a unified vision.

Conceptual design is central to the studio’s philosophy, utilizing design thinking as a catalyst for sustainability, diversity, and ethical considerations. Design today seems eager to focus on the outcome very early in the process and is often stuck with the idea of just creating something “purely functional or, even worse, something that follows the norm because that’s what’s popular and easy to sell”. (SM). At Mannino’s studio, they demonstrate that starting with “why” and using design thinking in all aspects leads to environments and objects that are interesting, appealing, new, and responsive to their social and political contexts.

Angel Care Pharmacy © Sergio Mannino Studio

“At the Studio, we work on each project by simultaneously looking at all the different angles. We believe in the traditional Italian creative process involving various disciplines and facets in the same bottega. We don’t think a line separates architecture from interiors from graphics from décor. All of these different disciplines are part of the same whole.”

– Sergio Mannino

Sergio Mannino’s design process is deeply rooted in the Italian design tradition of integrating multiple disciplines within a single project, and “creating objects and spaces that are first and foremost poetic.(SM)” This approach allows for a rich exploration of ideas and solutions, ensuring that each project is both innovative and reflective of a coherent design philosophy. The studio’s work, as Mannino describes, is about looking at projects from various angles simultaneously, ensuring that architecture, interiors, graphics, and décor contribute equally to the outcome and that the Client’s vision is properly translated into reality. This comprehensive approach has set the studio apart and enabled it to deliver projects that are meaningful, engaging, and reflective of contemporary design trends while deeply emotional.

A noteworthy example of the studio’s innovative approach is the Secret Gardens Rug Collection. This collection showcases the studio’s ability to extend its design philosophy into the realm of product design, offering a range of hand-drawn rugs that embody the studio’s ethos of blending tradition with modernity. The rugs are notable because of their intricate designs, vibrant colors, and the use of sustainable materials, crafted with the expertise of Nepalese artisans. Each rug in the collection is a narrative that invites viewers to explore imaginary landscapes of memories through color and pattern. “It is like stepping into an Alice in Wonderland type of world where everything looks familiar while at the same time something is off. (SM)”

Available in customizable sizes and colors, the rugs are expressions of Mannino’s conversations around contemporary design practices. Each project, from retail environments to private residences, embodies a thoughtful consideration of how space, form, and material can come together to create meaningful experiences. The Secret Gardens Rug Collection exemplifies this approach. With its imaginative designs and sustainable production, the collection represents a fusion of art and utility. The designs invite interaction and reflection, suggesting that the objects we choose to surround ourselves with can deeply influence our perception of space and, by extension, our interactions within it.

“Design is a form of communication, and, just like language, is a characteristic that defines human nature. We share ideas and feelings through a complex system of signs and symbols such as colors, materials, finishes, forms, lights, and shadows.”

– Sergio Mannino

Sergio Mannino Studio, under the guidance of its founder, has consistently demonstrated that design is a powerful tool for expressing ideas, evoking feelings, and facilitating interactions. Mannino himself emphasizes that design, in all its forms, is inherent to human nature, a complex system of signs and symbols that we use to share our ideas and emotions.

Through projects that span the globe, the studio has shown that it is possible to honor the rich traditions of Italian design while embracing the challenges and opportunities of today’s society. Whether through the layout of a retail space, the interior of a home, or the pattern of a rug, Sergio Mannino Studio invites us to see design as an integral part of our lives, shaping our environments and shaping us.

In a constantly evolving world, the work of Sergio Mannino is a testament to the enduring value of good design. It proves that thoughtful, well-considered design can create spaces that not only serve functional needs but also enrich our lives, making them more beautiful, engaging, and sustainable. Stay tuned as Sergio Mannino Studio continues to bridge traditions with today, and craft meaningful stories, one design at a time.

Discover the work of Sergio Mannino Studio on Adorno

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