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— interview with signora Antonia Astori


Driade was founded in 1968. Right from the start it worked with designers able to anticipate new lines of research and trends. Its aim is to define a personal and quasi-aristocratic philosophy of home-living. Through the years it has produced furniture and objects to suit every furnishing and lifestyle requirement. Belonging to the Driade trademark are the DriadeChef kitchen catalogues, the Oikos, EasyOikos, Kaos and Pantos systems, and DriadeAleph furniture. The DriadeStore brand is a line of furniture destined for a youthful public. The Follies and D.House object catalogues are part of the DriadeKosmo brand.

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Interview Ideas

  • Ensure each product takes the time it needs to get the right final result.
  • Keeps systems new by updating them constantly.
  • Driade encourages their designers to work with other firms. This allows them to keep an open mind rather than boxing in their thoughts, and keep ahead of new trends.
  • Showroom is created in a way that the design objects are shown as close to the context of use as possible.
  • Driade products are designed in terms of adding to a family of existing designs as opposed to creating a family of a design all at once.

Video/Key Quotes

  1. White Snowopen link
  2. Design's relationship to engineeringopen link
  3. Importance of Project Lengthopen link
  4. Designers' Relationships with Companies in Italyopen link
  5. Asia's Impact in Italyopen link
  6. Archetypesopen link
  7. Role of the Designer Todayopen link

What We Learned

Signora Antonia Astori spends much of her time focusing on the process of creating a lasting, evolving, design, both for new products and for updating older products. Her craft is honed by spending the time it takes to get the final quality up to her impeccable standards for products made by Driade. She believes that the quality products created in the end are directly correlated to how much time is devoted to the design process, where most decisions are made. Further, the thought process involved at the design level is intended to encompass any use for a product and consider how the target market will react to a given product. Signora Antonia learned from her father, an engineer, about the concept of structure and how object fit into space. This sense of the spatial is present in many of the products that she designs.

In order to keep pace with an ever changing society and marketplace, Astori creates archetypes for new products. An archetype is a generic, idealized model of a person, object or concept from which similar instances are derived, copied, patterned or emulated. Because of this platform of archetypes, she is able to make small changes year over year to her line of products, which improve their looks, usability, or usefulness. This idea is central to the process of Italian design: time honoured craft improved through constant revisions year over year. This is one idea we will bring home: the importance of creating a solid base model and making strides with each iteration of the model.

When we moved from her office to the showroom for Da Driade, Signora Antonia stressed to us the importance of context. We learned that it is extremely vital to place products into the context that they will be used so that people can relate to the products and see how they could use the products in their lives. After gaining a thorough understanding of how the product will be used and by whom, Signora Astori makes sure the end product is as usable and visually appealing as possible. When used, the end goal for Signora Antonia's designs is to be a very gratifying experience. When we were in the showroom, we experienced the feeling of this context-richness first hand, where the product takes on a contextual reality. This feeling takes the product beyond the use value and shifts your perspective into memory. You realize the higher level value of the design. Nearly every furniture store puts their products into context in a room. Yet, Da Driade feels different. You get a heightened sense of awareness of how Signora Antonia makes her products relevant to daily life. It is these higher level senses that make an experience memorable, that make it unique, that make it relevant to the user.