Interview with Laura Dominici on the occasion of the "Design Parade" exhibition.
Hi Laura, Can you introduce yourself ?
Hi! My name is Laura Dominici, I’m an object designer from Vienna, currently living in Rotterdam. I’m making one-of-a-kind utopian objects, that aim to be an impulse for one’s own imagination.
Can you introduce Magic Tapestry ? What was the starting point of the project? Your inspirations for the project?
Magic Tapestry is a minimal interior in a digital working world - a handwoven carpet that is soft, that one can sit on and a small table to put on your lap. It can be hung on the wall or carried under the arm and can unfold into a workplace in a cross-legged position at home and away.
The work deals with the transformation of working space and the decline of physical presence in offices. The working place can be everywhere today, the main tool is the laptop. While everyone works from anywhere, I think work still needs a location. It needs a physical space next to the digital room.
I was already really inspired with Hans Hollein’s „Mobile Office“ as a Teenager. There is a video of Hans Hollein sitting in his inflatable office on an airfield in 1969, picking up the cable phone and telling his client that he just finished the drawing of the house, while he is drawing smoke coming out of the chimney on the elevation plan.
I started working on Magic Tapestry in 2020 while studying with Stefan Diez at the Angewandte. At that time I had just started weaving in tapestry technique. I was inspired by medieval wandering kingdoms, whose tapestries were among their household goods that they took with them on their travels from palace to palace. Upon arrival they were hung, to serve as thermal insulation and perhaps for a homely feeling.
I thought of people working on laptops, wandering around like wandering kings, reigning their businesses from different places. And I liked the idea of a tapestry as a companion next to the laptop.
What are the benefits of exhibiting at the Villa Noailles for the Design Parade?
I am very grateful for this extraordinary week at the Villa Noailles.
The best part was really meeting all these interesting and talented people in this setting of the perfect summer vacation. And my aunt, who was a Finalist of the Fashion Competition exactly 20 years ago, came to visit me from Vienna.
I look forward to anything that might come out of it.
What links do you have with architecture, design and craft? For example, you make your own pieces, including the weaving of magic tapestry.
I was already studying architecture for a while when Fiona Raby took me into her class at the Angewandte. Industrial Design was a scale that was much more appealing to me as it was suddenly possible to manage it on my own. And with making my own pieces I have it even more under control. But now I think the time has come when I would like to collaborate with a company on the tapestry project.
Are slowness and fiction the pillars of your practice?
I think so. The numbers on my tapestries refer to that as well. Making them is a very slow process. I always weave in the first and last date of the weaving process.
I like to use techniques with a time-consuming nature, techniques that force you out of the usual fast rhythm. I think the slow manufacturing process inscribes itself in the objects. And it then takes time to engage with the objects, to experience them.
Many young designers do not live from their practice. Is your personal activity your main activity? If not, what are your professional sides ?
I've always had side jobs, during my studies too, some very funny and some more serious, like in an architecture office. And now I just started an internship at Studio Wieki Somers in Rotterdam.
What challenges have you faced as an emerging designer?
When I first started entering design competitions, I had to learn not to take the rejections too personally. Just like dealing with invitations to exhibitions that turn back into rejections months later. I mean, try telling your family that you won't be exhibiting at the World Expo in Dubai after all because the concept of the exhibition has been changed.
What is the project that occupies you the most at the moment?
Idleness - a series of scagliola pillows with imprints of static body positions, that accompany the act of sinking into a world of thoughts up to a state of trance.
New work from this series will be shown at the London Design Festival in Mint's new gallery space.
What are your inspirations for this project?
Squashed pillows and washed out covers. Pillows on windowsills with traces of elbows that do not fade, from all the hours spent looking out the window.
More generally, what are your latest artistic favorites?
The more I learn about the work of Wieki Somers, the more I like it.
The collaboration you would like to realize?
I'm looking for a collaboration with rug makers for the Magic Tapestry series.