In the 14th of the series of Sofa Chats, top interior designer Andrea Dallari talks about his relationship with the Minotti team, his favourite piece and his trip to the Minotti factory.
Andrea was an Associate Partner at Foster + Partners, with over 13 years of experience in Residential, Commercial, Retail, Mixed-use and Master planning schemes, both nationally and internationally.
Over the years, Andrea has been leading teams through complex projects of various scales, managing resources and liaising directly with Clients’ Teams, Construction Managers and Contractor Teams.
He is also the founder of the Architecture & Interior Design company Andrea Dallari Workshop. ADW architects is a multidisciplinary design company, working across a range of residential, commercial, hospitality, sports entertainment and retail projects.
Hit the play button below to watch the full conversation, or read the full transcript below:
Anthony Wilson: Hi, I’m Anthony and I’m here from Minotti London. And we’re having a sofa chat today with Andrea from AD Workshop. Welcome, Andrea.
Andrea Dallari: Thank you, Anthony. Thank you.
Anthony: Maybe if you could start and just let us know who you are and what you do.
Andrea: Of course, yeah. ADW is an architecture and interior design company. We started a couple of years ago and our company focused mainly on residential commercial buildings. And we have a team of architects, a team of interior designers. You know? Work with Marga. So Marga is a very good part of the team.
Andrea: But yeah. It’s been two very interesting years.
Anthony: Of course. Yeah.
Andrea: Yeah. Mainly, last year was very good when we start working together. Yeah. And we have a couple of projects together, which are, I think very good-
Anthony: Yeah. Absolutely
Andrea: … very good. Good project. And that’s what we do.
Anthony: Yeah. Nice. I could joke and say actually that it’s been a while since we’ve seen one another, but that’s not actually the case.
Anthony: You know? We caught up many times really in the past year or two years really. And we saw-
Andrea: Yeah. The last year of this, it became almost-
Anthony: This is your second home, right? Pretty much?
Andrea: My second home. Pretty much. Yes.
Anthony: Yeah. No, absolutely.
Andrea: It’s interesting.
Anthony: So I guess a sort of good question to think about would be, “How did you come across Minotti? What were your first interactions with Minotti?
Andrea: And it’s very interesting because the project we’re doing together, the client brief was very specific.
Andrea: And he came to me and he called me one day. And he asked me, “Andrea, I have done this beautiful house,” which he has-
Anthony: It is. It truly is.
Andrea: He has a beautiful house.
Andrea: And he asked me, “We want something that has quality, it’s contemporary, and is substantial.”
Andrea: Okay. And that’s the word that’s…
Andrea: So I have to go back to the office and I ask the team, “Okay, we got this very important brief, which is we need to give to the clients this excellent quality and beautiful contemporary items, and substantial item. It’s to be substantial. What…
Andrea: So we start thinking about it. And then Marga says, “I think I know. Probably we should look at different brands…” We start designing ourself our own furniture. And then we say, “Okay, maybe we should just go to Minotti.”
Anthony: Minotti’s in London. Yeah.
Andrea: And then, the day after I think Marga, she came to you, and-
Anthony: She did. Yeah.
Andrea: She met you.
Andrea: And that’s where we started.
Andrea: And it’s…
Anthony: And thank goodness you did. Yeah. It’s proved out to work quite nicely actually for-
Andrea: Yeah. I think-
Anthony: … for we’ve delivered some of it already. Haven’t we?
Anthony: And it looks great, I think.
Andrea: And it proved to be that, and I think the client appreciated that, that we’re substantial. I didn’t know how to actually use the world because “What do you mean?”
Andrea: And I thought everything here in Minotti actually does reflect the entire brief that he gave us.
Anthony: Sure. Yeah.
Andrea: You know? You have very contemporary, very slick, very precise furniture.
Andrea: And the quality obviously is excellence. It’s-
Anthony: Yeah. As you know, because we went to the factory trip in between all of this as well. We managed to do that and-
Andrea: Yeah. The factory trip was really inspiring on-
Anthony: Yeah. I was glad you could-
Andrea: … and understanding the way things are made and the quality. There is this sort of craftsmanship, this artisan embedded in each project, which is-
Anthony: It’s such a key point of it really, the quality. Isn’t it really?
Andrea: Yeah. Yes.
Anthony: Because you can kind of, in a sense, go from maybe one brand to the next. And to the untrained eye, it can seem like some designs are similar, but when you look a bit closer and you see the quality-
Andrea: The quality.
Anthony: … the build quality. You know? And you said about the substantial as well. I mean, we sat next to the Connery sofa here and, for instance, you can just see that’s what sums it up really.
Anthony: They’re substantial. They can be substantial pieces. Yeah.
Andrea: They’re substantial. With this word, we could have to go to classical, and then say, “No, we have to stay in the contemporary.” And these are like… You know? They stay in a place. They’re timeless.
Anthony: Sure. Yeah.
Andrea: They’re timeless. They’re really beautiful to just look at and-
Anthony: Yeah, of course. The other thing for the particular project they’re working on as well, and I think it’s fair to say that there’s quite a big art component involved with the project.
Anthony: And would you say that the integration of Minotti into that area is part of what helps that?
Andrea: Yes. The fact that Minotti and all your furniture are very clean.
Andrea: They’re very… You know? The perfect line, the architectural lines will not compete with the art aspect, which was another, as you said, another very important aspect. So that’s why we thought that would be the right brand to go. And we end up almost doing the entire project and the entire house in Minotti.
Anthony: That’s true. Yeah.
Andrea: And the reason is not only because obviously it’s excellent quality and it’s beautiful, it’s because it works well with the art.
Anthony: With that. Yeah.
Andrea: Yeah. And because it doesn’t overrule the art-
Anthony: Interrupt or… Yeah.
Andrea: Yes. And I just looking forward to see it all. To finish. Yeah.
Anthony: Yeah. Me too. I was going to say actually because, like we said, we’ve installed some of it and we yet to see that finished.
Anthony: You know? The finished project. But I think that’s something I’m really looking forward to with this, with seeing how it integrates with all of that.
Andrea: Yes. For sure.
Anthony: And how do you feel, I know your background is architecture, from an architectural standpoint how Minotti is made, and with the manufacturing and going from our factory trip as well because architects are involved with the production of the project products as well, aren’t they?
Andrea: Yeah. When we went to do this, I didn’t know what to expect.
Andrea: I’ve been to all different factories, but I didn’t go in such in a furniture factory before. And as I said before, it was really inspiring the fact that from the design department through there is this continuous process and when you go into the actual manufacturing department where you start looking at the stitching department, the leather department, the cutting of the fabric, there is this sort of craftsmanship, artisan, Italian artisan feeling.
Anthony: Sure. Yeah.
Andrea: So there are so many people. I thought I was going to this sort of more robotic industry and actually no, the human part behind is which you see that result into the… For me, it’s what really impressed me.
Andrea: And it was very interesting to see that there’s a lot of human effort behind and which makes this project and these little pieces unique.
Anthony: Yeah. I mean the bespoke element as well. Right?
Andrea: Yeah. The bespoke element. Yes.
Anthony: Yeah. It’s something which I’ve found also from the time that I’ve worked here is the ability, although there are very defined pieces and styles and how they’re built and crafted to look a certain way, but you know how we’ve worked with them as well is there is the ability to customise if you need to, to quite an extent.
So from one piece to the next, like we’ve experienced, you can somewhat change it to how it will fit the brief. Right?
Andrea: Yes. You can. We had this on a few occasions and that’s-
Anthony: Yeah. Sometimes it can be too extreme.
Andrea: Yeah. Well, sometimes, but we have to also accept there is certain rule from your side because this is how it’s your design in a way.
Anthony: Yeah. Absolutely.
Andrea: So we can’t just-
Anthony: Create something like-
Andrea: … create something completely new. So I think it’s good sometimes you can help us to make it fit properly, but we should not overrule your Minotti design. Right?
Anthony: Of course. Yeah.
Andrea: But overall, I think your team and Minotti has done great work for us.
Anthony: Yeah. No, I agree.
Andrea: Really helpful.
Anthony: That’s good.
Andrea: We had really help from you, from your team, and it was a good team effort. And hopefully, very soon we’ll see it finish.
Anthony: Yeah. No. For sure. From your pretty extensive experience with the collection now, if you had to, say, choose a style that was your favourite in terms of maybe the seating or from some of the sofa systems, what would you lean towards maybe in your kind of dream project or something like that? What would-
Andrea: I could tell you which part of my favourite-
Anthony: Yeah, sure.
Andrea: Because we use it already. And I think from your last collection, you have, I think, the Roger sofa.
Anthony: Yes. Of course.
Andrea: The way we use… Actually, you and your team, you came out with a great idea when we used in the other project-
Anthony: Yeah. I know what you’re talking about.
Andrea: … to use this double aspect sofa.
Andrea: And I think that this sofa is just absolutely beautiful.
Anthony: Yeah. No, I agree.
Andrea: And again, I want to see a finished, but it will be perfect in that position.
Andrea: And it’s one of my favourite Minotti products.
Anthony: Actually, I had a feeling that would be the one you would say. Yeah.
Andrea: Yeah. And then the stitching, the material, and then the variety that you can choose from.
Anthony: Yes. Yeah.
Andrea: That is… You know? And it’s really, really helpful for us when we start thinking about how do we plan this room? How do we layout? And then with your help in doing that. And then I thought you came with that idea to this double aspect.
Andrea: That was really-
Anthony: Yeah. No, I agree. I think-
Andrea: That was really good teamwork-
Andrea: Because we spent a lot of time trying to-
Anthony: We did.
Andrea: How did we do it?
Anthony: We tried different ideas, didn’t we?
Anthony: And different configurations. Yeah.
Andrea: And then you come out with that idea. I said, “Wow. That’s spot on. That works very well.”
Anthony: Yeah. No, I’m looking forward to it. And instantly, that is a separate project to the one we were actually talking about originally.
Andrea: Yeah. Sure.
Anthony: No, I’m excited to see that as well. That’s been great, Andrea. Thank you very much. I’ve really enjoyed talking about that. And yeah, thanks so much for coming to have the chat. And here’s to the future.
Anthony: And more projects. Yeah.
Andrea: Thank you to you, Anthony.
Anthony: You’re very welcome.
Andrea: And thank you to Minotti London.
Anthony: And thank you to Marga as well.
Andrea: Of course. I will. And I’m sure she will be here next time.
Anthony: Perfect. Thank you. Cheers.
Andrea: All right. Okay. Thank you.
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