Design Talk: Eleonore Cavalli

We discuss Visionnaire's latest opening in Dubai with Art Director Eleonore Cavalli

19 Dec 2021, words by Aneesha Rai in Design & Architecture

Visionnaire Dubai

In this edition of 'In the studio', we speak to Visionnaire's Art Director Eleonore Cavalli on the opening of their new store in Jumeirah, expansion plans and her favorite pieces to look out for.

Q: How has Visionnaire evolved in the past year?

Eleonore: Underlying Visionnaire's creative philosophy is the desire to contribute to self-expression and artistic freedom, fueling creativity, promoting innovation and reinventing the future. Diversity and inclusion are at the center of our creative vision. With our Beauty collection, one of the most interesting aspects was the desire to do research and innovation in the name of tradition. In fact, our artisans have brought back to life many craftsmanship techniques from ancient times, such as glass grinding or three-dimensional marble processing.

We also have seen a greater sensitivity by our clients towards materials obtained through recycling processes and which can be recycled. The idea has been consolidated that those who take resources from the planet must somehow reinsert them. Therefore, Visionnaire's strategy, which for some years had already been oriented in this direction, will certainly tend to be more and more relevant in the future. With the new book Re-Generation, entirely dedicated to those fabrics and leathers that meet low impact criteria, we have also presented Pray, the new special leather with antibacterial characteristics, effective up to 99%.

Eleonore Cavalli
Eleonore Cavalli, Art Director of Visionnaire
Visionnaire Dubai showroom
Visionnaire Dubai showroom

Q: Has the demand from the Middle East evolved the design direction of the brand? If yes, how so?

Eleonore: The Middle East market is very fond of the Visionnaire’s philosophy of living, so I believe that a great affinity between the brand and the local customer was immediately born.

Like all long-term experiences, these two years will undoubtedly bring about general structural changes. The homes, due to the will develop greater connectivity in all their parts with tools that guarantee adults to be able to work and children to study in a more organized way, will continue to have demand for domestic areas dedicated to intensive wellness (massage and spa areas) and sports. The residences of our customers have been perfected and integrated, making a real functional upgrade. The reason is obvious: everyone has invested in the house because they have spent much more time at home than before.

Q: Are there any recurring themes/trends in interiors you've seen that have grown more popular over the past year?

Eleonore: The trend is something we observe very carefully, because it tells a lot about what our society seeks and desires. Visionnaire, however, does not tend to follow trends, but rather acts as a driving force to define new ones, especially for the new generations. In the era of the prefixes "fast-", "ready to-", "easy to-", the speed and volatility of the purchase seem to be the key characteristics of many cases of entrepreneurial success and sometimes they are strategies with which even the world of luxury must confront. 

Visionnaire has always considered the shopping experience an emotional moment, and therefore in a certain sense fickle, in which something profound happens: the customer identifies an object that ignites a desire and, in an instant, it touches the strings of his soul giving him joy, memory, thrill, satisfaction. An elective affinity is created with the artifacts, a relationship that lasts over time, because if treated with love, they become an irreplaceable part of our life. If this happens, then it means that our objects are the tangible result of extraordinary imaginaries, in which people identify with and even derive impulse and creative freedom from them. Visionnaire understood that artifacts are first of all vectors of values ​​and immediately afterwards a beautiful creative manifestation. This broad concept, summarized in the expression Meta-Luxury, or "beyond" luxury, invites us to discover everything that exists beyond the artefact itself - as it presents itself - but induces to deepen the origin of the materials first and therefore the traceability, the production processes, the technological innovation that they represent, the artisan experience that has defined their uniqueness, the whole virtuous ecosystem that allows the creation of an object bearing value. All this means giving shape to timeless objects, not linked to trends or seasonality, but a positive expression of the spirit of that time and, why not, capable of carrying out a transformative action.

Kerwan dining table
Kerwan dining table
Basket sofa
Polaris chandelier
Basket sofa and Polaris chandelier

Q: What are your top three favourite pieces?

Eleonore: Among our best seller products, which has also become a manifesto of our design production, is the Kerwan dining table by Alessandro La Spada. Kerwan is a mix of unexpected geometries. The peculiarity of the table lies in the curvature of the marble of the legs from slab and not from block, avoiding waste of material. The steel and the stone of the base melt optically. The two materials, tensioned by concave and convex curves, make up a single two-faced element, while the mirrored surface of the curved steel reflects the surrounding environment. The marble top concludes the project sculpturally.

The new Polaris suspension lamp by Alessandro La Spada is an example of craftsmanship and modular design that give rise to a unique yet reproducible product. The lamp with a circular form is made through the combination of concave parts in aluminium, completed by a diffuser in onyx with an organic form. This sophisticated chandelier unites the worlds of technology and nature.

The capsule collection Caprice, designed for Visionnaire by Marijana Radovic and Marco Bonelli, alias m2atelier, responds to the needs of many places and moments of life, with the same versatility in both indoor and outdoor settings, where the common denominator is the same as well: comfort. Basket, a seating program composed of a sofa in two sizes and an armchair, takes its conceptual cue from the idea of a handmade basket, reflecting the sartorial quality of the world of fashion. The enveloping design is developed on an aluminium structure, through the elegant back made with segments of iroko wood held together to create a finely crafted necklace effect. A welcoming embrace of materials, sinuous forms and practical decorations make Basket a precious but also very functional object.

Q: Any new projects/expansion plans that you'd like to share with us?

Eleonore: From January 2022, IPE-Visionnaire becomes a Benefit Company, defining its business approach as one of promotion of positive values for the community. Benefit companies are for-profit organizations, but also have the objective of bringing shared benefits to the ecosystem of which they are a part and in which they operate, guiding and driving innovation through their activities. 

In its business practices IPE-Visionnaire intends to pursue one or more positive effects – or to reduce negative effects – in relation to people, communities, territories and the environment, cultural and social assets and activities, institutions and associations, as well as other stakeholders.