Giorgia Zanellato and Daniele Bortotto founded Zanellato/Bortotto Studio in Treviso, Italy, in 2013.
Their first joint work, Acqua Alta, was dedicated to the city of Venice and presented at the Salone Satellite in Milan in 2013; it marked the beginning of their long-term research project on the relationship between places and the passage of time.
Their work has been shown in galleries and institutions including MAXXI, Rome; Triennale Design Museum, Milan; and Somerset House and The Aram Gallery in London.
In 2015, they were named Young Talent of the Year by Elle Decor Italia, were awarded the NYCxDESIGN prize by Interior Design in 2016, and won the Red Dot Design Award in 2017.
What is your main source of inspiration?
Our path has been always deeply influenced by places we visit and live, whose secrets and traditions have shaped many of our projects. Our first joined work, Acqua Alta Collection, has been completely inspired by Venice and by all the signs that time and high tide left in every corner of the city: from walls to floors, from canals stairs to churches stones. Since then we are engaged in a long research which investigate the relation between places and the passage of time.
What particular aspects of your background have shaped your design vision?
Our studies in Italian schools have surely influenced our relation with our history and traditions. We studied at Iuav, Architecture University of Venice, under the guidance of great masters such as Michele de Lucchi and Tobia Scarpa. We fell in love since the first moment with Italian design history and with the great masters who shaped this story and who are a strong reference for us. Our approach and method deeply grew while studying at Ecal, Switzerland, where we were challenged with complex projects that have brought us closer to a more professional experience and to the world of contemporary design.
What is your favourite object to design?
We don’t have a favorite object to design. We rather prefer to work with craftsman challenging traditional techniques, bringing them into nowadays and seeing what the outcome can be. The result is always different, and we like to question ourselves working on various scales and topologies.
What do you feel are the biggest challenges for designers working today?
The scenario we live and work in changed completely in the last ten years, and this changes are set to continue for long. We need to keep our point of view ready to evolve and even change radically when necessary. The traditional product designer from the past, working for industries and mass production, is a rare figure nowadays. As Italian designers we live in an incredible context, made up of small companies that need innovation and change. We have to work together to create a completely new system that responds to the new challenges of a global world, in search of innovation, uniqueness and sustainability.
What is your dream project?
We have a project in the drawer dedicated to the city of Rome, developed during a period of study at the American Academy in Rome. It’s a collection inspired by the artisan tradition of the city, born and developed in strong connection with the Church and the ecclesial world. It’s composed by objects inspired by the sacred furnishings, which try however to bring them into a daily context, preserving a strong nature of spirituality and intimacy. We hope we will soon have the time to develop it.