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Interview, Patrizia Moroso, Motel One, Berlin

Good design must form a synthesis – an interview with Patrizia Moroso

Ms Moroso, we're in the heart of Berlin here. What do you associate with this city?
Berlin is a dream for me, the myth of my youth. I was 20 or 21 when I first came here. Germany was a completely different country at the time, and Berlin a completely different city. But I've felt a connection to it ever since, and I'm actually here every year. Berlin is a city of art, and I love art. I'm good friends with some of the artists here – Olafur Eliasson, for example. I have many nice projects of my own here in the city, especially hotels. Patricia Urquiola fitted out Das Stue with us, and Werner Aisslinger the 25Hours.

How did the cooperation with Motel One come about, and what was your concept for this building?

Our cooperation with Motel One began in Munich, then we fitted out a hotel in Vienna, then one in Zurich, one in London, etc. So we've known each other for a while. Previously, however, we only acted as furniture deliverers. Here in Berlin for the first time we have selected all the items together with Motel One. The architecture of this building is very austere, beautiful and strong. Consequently, the interior design has to be of equal quality, and equally powerful. We have chosen strong colours to make the atmosphere warmer. Berlin is already so grey and cold that we wanted to counteract this with some warmth. (laughs) We work here with many different designs from very different designers. It's like in real life: A house isn't finished the moment you move in. It grows with you. Even in a hotel you want to feel at home and welcome. To achieve this, you have to combine things. It's like a home, with layers of old, new and very old things. Heirlooms, gifts, all sorts of things that accumulate. It's just part of being human, I think. (laughs)

So you've created a collage out of Moroso furniture here?
Yes, you can say that. Ron Arad's Soft Big Easy armchair, for example, will soon be thirty years old. The furnishings here are like a walk through our company's history, which is also a piece of design history. But it isn't just the sculptural furniture that's important. It's about building relationships between the items. Some take a back seat and form the background. Their beauty lies in their diversity.

From Patricia Urquiola to Sebastian Herkner, you've "discovered" many designers or predicted their success. How do you know that a designer will fit in at your company?
Life?! (laughs) I'm not a talent scout looking for the "new star". I believe in destiny. All the people I wanted to work with came to me or I approached them. I met the Front group at the SaloneSatellite. Patricia Urquiola was recommended to me by friends. She worked in a big design studio, nobody knew her name, but I instantly sensed that she had talent. We are very good friends, even if we don't see each other all the time. We're getting old together now. (laughs) Doshi Levien sent me a letter. It was pink and gold and huge, and naturally from India. Beautiful! I called them. A week later we met in their studio. You just have to follow your gut feeling.

What is good design?
The design world is small. All the people I know in it dedicate themselves entirely to their work. A good designer needs to be familiar with many artistic disciplines. First and foremost with the fine arts, because the creation of a work of art is similar to that of a design object. But the work of art stands for itself, and not for a function, which is why art stands above everything else. The architect creates a space that is connected to the city, but not with other things. Designers need to know about art, architecture and music. Music is the rhythm of life, and every object has a rhythm. Good design must be a synthesis of all these creative disciplines and function. That's what makes design so special – as well as the people who create it. And that's why I love working with them.

Ms Moroso, thank you very much for talking to us!
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