Paola Navone "My attraction to design comes from my nomadic nature, from my innate passion for everyday objects coming from all over the world"

Architect, interior designer, product designer and art director, Paola Navone’s approach is direct, visionary and eclectic with a passion for the flavours and colours of the much-loved and much-travelled southern hemisphere, alongside tastes and styles from the western world with its wealth of tradition, open mindedness and creative energy. All of which has meant a boundless curiosity, seeking out materials, forms and structures, from the present, past and future. 

Founder of OTTO, the Milan design studio she runs with Gian Paolo Venier, Cristina Pettenuzzo and Domenico Diego, she has curated a vast number of exhibitions worldwide and worked with top names in Italian and international design scene. A wide list of projects for hotels, restaurants and public spaces in South East Asia, the United States, Italy, France and around the world. The many international accolades received include the Osaka International Design Award, several Elle Deco International Design Awards for product design, the Red Dot Design Award and the Good Design Award, as well as a nomination for induction to the Design Hall of Fame received from Interior Design Magazine in New York.

Paola Navone_REICHENBACH_ koi koi 2022

Paola Navone for REICHENBACH | Koi Koi vase 2022

Lets discover more about her!

– What are the biggest challenges you have met in your career?

Each project is always a new adventure and a new challenge. For example, when we work on product design, we tried to contaminate the strict rules of the industrial production process with some element of imperfection inspired by the world of craftsmanship. It’s not always easy, sometimes it’s a big challenge, but the results are always amazing.

– How would you describe your work?

I enjoy saying that designing is somehow like cooking an omelette. I can do the recipe with different ingredients and I have to mix them in the best way to have a good result. I can do an omelette with mushrooms, another time I can do it with zucchini… the point is simply to cook a good omelette for you, that is my client, and that you are happy with the result.

– How is your passion for visual art and design born?

My attraction to design comes from my nomadic nature, from my innate passion for everyday objects coming from all over the world, and from the people I met following this curiosity. Then, as with many things is my life, everything happened a bit by chance.

– What is the most difficult work you have done and why?

Each project is unique and different with its own specific issues. There is no specific rule. It’s never a question of scale, even a small design project can be very intense work. But I’m lucky, my head is made to forget the difficult things, so I don’t really have an answer for this…

 – What is your main source of inspiration?

The secret is to look at things with curious eyes. Inspirations can be everywhere. In the book you are reading. In a movie. In the drawer you did not open for a long time.

– What about your next project?

We have just finished the interior project of a castle in Tuscany and we are completing a hotel in the center of Athens. We are working on the project of a new Como Hotel & Resort in the South of France and of course we are already designing new collections of furniture that we will present at the next edition of Milan Design Week.

– Outside of design, what are you currently interested in and how is it influencing your design work?  

We like to experience the world. Traveling is our creative dimension and we love saying that it is somehow even our way of breathing. With the team at OTTO Studio we like to travel and discover new places and meet new people. They always give us the spin to do something new and unexpected

Paola Navone portrait | ph courtesy of Baxter

Paola Navone portrait | ph courtesy of Baxter