Here at The Merchant Home we have been fans of Palorosa Project since discovering the line last year- these gorgeous bags were one of the first items we bought for our shop. Not only are her handwoven bags and baskets perfect for toting around during the summer, but Cecilia Pirani, the brand's founder, shares much in common with us. Cecilia built her brand around her background in architecture, and sought out to merge her experience in the design world with her interest in artisan-made: resulting in Palorosa Project. The company is based in both Milan and Guatemala City. We recently caught up with Cecilia to learn more about how her passions are brought to life: you'll find her answers to our questions below, in her own words.
Your sense of color is quite exquisite: can you tell us a bit about your process of choosing colors for the line?
Thank you! I think it is something spontaneous. I’m always looking for something minimal, calming and quiet. I need to be very comfortable with a color, with a space.
I loved the contrast of the urban environment where I used to live, but I’m in love with the tones of the nature and rural areas. In the Guatemalan villages and Mexican desert I discovered new forms of color, earthy and natural.
The color line for the Spring and Summer 2016 is something special and representative. The process of choosing the tones were pretty spontaneous but at the same time I recollected different cutouts, things and objects, and I put them together to decide how to choose and combine them. I share my work space with a friend, a textile designer, and she helps me very naturally to choose names of the colors.
The line is made in Guatemala City. How do the traditional techniques or materials of that city and country inform your design?
The line of tote bags and the new Pot series combine the passions into design with the idea of promoting the traditional techniques and the local manufacturing. I present a common Guatemalan object in a different way to become a new project, a way to preserve and support the local high quality craft.
Everything must be essential and functional.
The weaving technique is very typical and it has different meanings: it is about women, people, family tradition. It is about materials: the plastic at first, when possible; recycled. Something very durable and strong, modified by a new aesthetic through colors and designs. Natural fibers, wicker for example, is a new material that I’m trying to explore and mix with plastic.
What's the biggest risk you've taken as a designer and business-owner?
Starting a project in Guatemala, in a new city with native people, working with them, finding the way they trust me and finding a common language.
Be in the market for the first time: in the US and in Milan.
Developing a new aesthetic, defining something in me to share with everyone.
What other designers, artists, or creative figures do you draw inspiration from? What product lines do you think are doing an exceptional job?
To name a few, Luisa Cevese and Hella Jongerious: women, designers, related to textiles and experimentation, materials and colors. Related to traces of the process of making. Petra Blaisse for her special relationship with architecture on the boundary between outdoor and indoor. Recently I discovered the work of Francesco Faccin, an Italian designer: I like his affinity with raw materials, wood and people.
I love the Archive New York pillows line, they are a must have!
Name one (or several!) crazy things you hope to do someday (either personally or professionally).
Learn and make a giant basket, leaving tomorrow for a trip to Japan. Go to the Marni store and buy everything I like!
What's next for you and Palorosa Project?
An interdisciplinary design studio, between landscape and design curatorship. A store with a collection of objects made by me and by others designers. (I really like to promote projects and works of other people).
So hard decide about future!!
Photography by Palorosa Project. Please credit and link appropriately.