Italian design studio Gumdesign was established by designer Laura Fiaschi (born 1977) and architect-designer Gabriele Pardi (born 1966) in 1999 in Viareggio, Italy. The studio’s purview is broad, ranging from product and industrial design, architecture, graphics, and art direction for companies and events. Both Fiaschi and Pardi also hold and have held a number of teaching positions including at the Free University of Bolzano, the IED in Florence and Rome, and Pisa University, amongst others; since 2017, they have taken on the role of coordinators and lecturers of the first Masters in Design - Innovation and Product at the IED Florence.
Fiaschi and Pardi have applied their extensive skill-set to a wide range of projects—from the Fatti di Pietra (2016) urban outdoor concrete furniture for Testori Marmi, to children’s building-block-like sculptures made out of luxurious Carrara marble, and a range of stunning tableware and accessories. This is a design studio that does not like to be limited to a narrow creative practice, nor a single aesthetic. And yet there is a common sensibility throughout all of the Gumdesign projects; one that emphasizes the inherent qualities of the materials and that is distinctly rational, conceptual in its approach. The duo describe their approach as being “expressed and developed through narration; the object reaches its shape after a path of analysis, research, and graphic synthesis.” A perfect example is the Istanti Inclusi Testa container by Gumdesign for La Casa di Pietra; the lathe-worked Carrara marble vessel and lid are held together by a natural leather strap, like a time capsule or treasure chest for memories. The objects are made to be used and yet their function is not always obvious or straightforward: the Versatile Cocktail Set, for example, provides an exquisite range of crystal and marble appurtenances for cocktail-making and yet the utility of each piece is flexible and becomes defined through interaction with the user and ingredients.
Gumdesign’s out-of-the-box thinking—embodied completely in pieces like the Pause (2018) glass ceiling lamp for Siru Lighting that seems frozen in the act of escaping its metal frame—has garnered the studio considerable recognition. Gumdesign was awarded the Marmomac Best Communicator Award 2014 at Fiera di Verona; the studio was selected for the Adi Design Index 2016; and was a finalist in the Meneghetti International Art Prize. Their work is in the permanent collections of the Triennale di Milano, MoMA San Francisco, and the Glass Museum of Shanghai, amongst others. Gumdesign has collaborated with well-known industry names such as Hands on Design and De Castelli, and exhibited at most major industry events and fairs. The studio is located on the north-western Italian coast, between La Spezia and Pisa.