The new collection has a wild and fantastical feel to it. With designs that transport you to another world, the new collection combines organic forms with an element of escapism. New models, concepts and colorways come together to form a range of unique and artistic Porta Romana pieces.
BOH caught up with Andrew Hills, the owner and creative director of Porta Romana, to discuss the inspiration behind the brand’s latest introductions, which takes its cues from the natural world, boasting earthy hues and organic shapes.
What’s the inspiration behind the new collection?
The new collection is characterized by its wild and fantastical feel, formed by eccentric and artistic designs that transport you to another world. The pieces in the collection are largely inspired by a sense of escapism, combined with our distinctive approach to design.
What was the starting point for this collection?
The pieces take much of their inspiration from the natural world, as well as from artists, sculptors and designers, such as Diego Giacometti and Eduardo Chillida. We wanted to look at the beautiful forms, interesting characters and unique textures found in the wild—while paying homage to some of the makers and artists that inspire us most.
The Clam Shell pieces are some of the most exciting pieces in the new collection. With grooves evocative of Botticelli’s hair and curves that echo water, the Clam Shell mirror and wall light capture the wild, whimsical feel of the collection. The Etienne lantern is another standout piece. It hangs from the ceiling like a small-scale illuminated sculpture, with a charming bird perching on its ledge as if it could fly off at any second.
How do you feel this collection pushes the brand forward?
This collection continues to combine elements of classical-based design with a contemporary, forward-thinking approach. As with all Porta Romana collections, each piece in the new line has its own identity, however, this collection has a unique focus on character. With a palette of natural hues and an attention to textural surfaces, the collection demonstrates our ever-present appreciation of nature.
How does the collection build on or complement your other offerings?
The new designs are part of a rich heritage of creativity, decoration and inspiration from the natural world, and as such, all of our pieces are instantly identifiable as Porta Romana designs. Popular pieces have been rescaled, transformed into other pieces, or given new colorways to complement existing pieces.
What about the collection feels fresh and exciting?
We have focused on pushing the limits of what can be achieved in design through glass-blowing, ceramics, forging, glazing and finishing. Each new piece adds an exciting dimension to an interior, from the ethereal Large Ophelia that emerges from the wall as a piece of art, to the new glass patterning on the Vespa lamp.
Tell us about the materials in this collection.
The new colorways for this collection extend the potential for our existing designs, from the Red Magma of the Baobab to the new Verdigris finish. The Verdigris finish is unique to any finish we have produced before. Compelling in texture and patination, this finish was imagined, developed and applied in the Porta Romana workshop. Incorporating the distinctive green hues of the Verdigris pigment, this finish has a similar sense of grandeur to a bronze sculpture, while evoking findings from antiquity.
How do you envision designers using this collection?
Porta Romana pieces exist as punctuation marks in an interior, tying schemes together and enhancing other elements of the setting. Designs such the Etienne lantern and the Clam Shell mirror create a focal point for designers to work around and build upon.
Can the collection be customized?
Every painted Porta Romana piece is available in any custom finish. Interior designers and customers can choose from many finishes, or come to us with a specific color reference to create a piece unique to their interior. Many other pieces are also available in a range of finishes and colorways, from the dual tones of glass on the Vespa, to the Tan and Chocolate leather that wraps its way around the stem of the Huxley.
Any special memories or experiences working on this?
The collection marked the beginning of our experimentation in 3D printing. This has extended the possibilities of concept and design, allowing us to push forward and make our designers’ and makers’ visions a reality. The small bird that sits in the Etienne lantern was our first instance of 3D printing, and has since influenced our ideas and approaches to future collections.