The Italian Designer Elisa Passino is a master when it comes to transforming surfaces into contemporary and unique colour experiences. Hand made in Portugal and Morocco, these terra cotta, ceramic and cement tiles are inspired by the history of architecture.
IRMA: How did you built / create your very own design language?
ELISA PASSINO: Geometry has always been the main component and protagonist of my work; I grew up in Venice, Italy, breathing geometrical art of the artistic work of my grandfather, who was a painter and a designer that has developed a very peculiar style through his carrier, and which has, with no doubt, influenced my taste and my approach to design. Being Italian, I find inspiration in every small detail that surrounds me, starting from a window on a typical Venetian palace (which I can clearly see in my designs, do you? 🙂 ); for Geometrie Componibili Tile Collection, in particular, I found my inspiration from the timeless work of the “Architects of Colours”, like Corbusier, Bofill, Barragan, and from their vision, their angles, their representations. During the research about colours in architecture, I came across stunning architectural images and I studied the compositions, the colours, the shapes. I came to realize that it was the perfect inspiration to create the design idea that I had in mind.
IRMA: Tell us about your creative background and what has influenced your work most ?
ELISA PASSINO: After graduating with honour at Naba Milano in 2013 and completing a specialization courses in Surface &Textile Design and Interior Design, I have worked in different creative fields as graphic, textile and interior designer. In 2019 I founded my own creative studio because I was feeling a strong need to bring to life my visions and designs. I think that the biggest influence that is visible in my work is the desire to transpose colours and patterns that are usually linked to the fashion world and the textile design, into the interior and product design.
IRMA: How does designing wallpaper from tiles are different, although both are made for wall/ art?
ELISA PASSINO: The main difference I see is that the tiles is a placement design that works alone and matched with the other tiles in infinite possibilities, while when designing a wallpaper, you already take in consideration the repetition factor of the print on a big scale. I believe the main mission of every designer is to make useful objects pieces of art, making them look in a certain way that for us is beautiful. I like the idea of people feeling well and inspired, even when they contemplate the wall of their kitchen.
IRMA: What are the first steps you do when creating new tiles?
ELISA PASSINO: Looking to create something new that is still not out there, durable, and unique. First, a lot of research and sketching, then finding the best technique and finally the colour development.
IRMA: Where does your inspiration and development for new things come from?
ELISA PASSINO: I try to look at everything that surrounds me as a possible inspiration, every little thing can be decontextualized to become something else, and everything keeps living also outside the meaning we gave to it before. Inspiration can come from an architectural detail, a shape of a path, a colour of a rug.
IRMA: How important is a mix and match of colour for your well-being when it comes to a mindful and balanced interior design?
ELISA PASSINO: Colour is what makes the design look like it is. The same design in other colours, might not work as well. That’s why I always develop colours at the same time as I am designing. Every colour has a story to tell, an emotion to give. I always try making my colours bold, but not overwhelming, always looking out for the right balance. For example, Souvenirs d’Été wants to be a joyful celebration of the playful summer vibes and its colours aim to bring a touch of Summer into the project and the house of our clients; that’s why the collection is all about warm shades and water colours. For Astratta Miami, the latest wall covering collection, I started from a Miami pastel palette but added touches of black and caramel to make it more elegant looking in an interior, rather than having only pastel candy colours.
IRMA: What is your favourite cake? Because if those tiles were edible, what would they taste like?
ELISA PASSINO: That’s hard to answer as I am a cake lover! If I had to pick one in general, I guess it would be a strawberry tiramisu (with no coffee, of course). And if my tiles were edible… I guess the Souvenirs d’Été collection would taste like a summer peach sorbet, and Geometrie Componibili collection would have a more structured taste, of pistachio ice-cream with orange blossom and rose petal notes.