Environments Offers a Deep Dive into Piero Lissoni’s World

In the new monograph edited by Stefano Casciani, Piero Lissoni’s extensive body of work is not just cataloged but philosophically unpacked.

"Environments” (Rizzoli), edited by Stefano Casciani, chronicles Piero Lissoni's extensive body of work. Photo by Francesco Caredda


March 1, 2024

In Environments (Rizzoli), edited by Stefano Casciani, Piero Lissoni’s extensive body of work is not just cataloged but philosophically unpacked, revealing the depth and breadth of a career that spans architecture, interior design, and product creation.

Piero, renowned for his minimalist ethos that quietly rebels against the clutter of modern life, presents through his work a manifesto of less but better. Tellingly, the very first image in the book is not a work of his, but instead a small black and white image of a Donald Judd sculpture, a minimalist stack of boxes that distances the artist from their work. This notion, where great artists “cede part of their representation of themselves in their work” in order to let the pieces themselves come alive, sets the foundation for the portfolio that follows.

Environments is meticulously laid out and richly illustrated. From the onset, it’s evident that Piero’s work is a dialogue with the environment, where each project, whether a sprawling corporate headquarters or an intimate residential space, speaks to its context with a language of understated elegance.

One of the most compelling aspects of Environments is its exploration of Piero’s ability to navigate and blend the boundaries between architecture and design. The projects featured, from the serene shores of the Oberoi Beach Resort to the structural sophistication of the Grand Park Hotel, underscore his talent for creating spaces that are visually stunning and deeply connected to their environment. His designs, characterized by clean lines and an uncluttered aesthetic, manage to evoke a sense of calm and balance, and timeless appeal.

The Ex-Libris glass cabinet designed by Piero Lissoni for Porro. The self-standing structure consists of black painted, cuvée, or rosso antico uprights and melamine base unit and top in black sugi or white cherry. Photo illustration by Guido Scarabottolo

The book illustrates how Piero treats light, texture, and material as co-conspirators when crafting living spaces. His work on furniture and product design, including collaborations with brands like Boffi, Knoll, and Porro, showcases his belief that design should enhance, not dictate, the way we live and interact with our surroundings. Reflecting on this ethos Piero says, “So when I design a kitchen, I imagine new ways of interpreting the space for conviviality. Or when I design sanitary appliances, I try to render in three dimensions a different setting for body care. If my work sometimes seems minimalistic, it’s because I keep thinking contemporaneously of objects and spaces like a modernist architect does: without ‘stuff’ interfering with the surroundings, and without the surroundings interfering with the ‘stuff.’”

Environments also delves into Piero’s graphic design ventures, revealing another layer of his design abilities, subtle and impactful. Regardless of the context, his work urges a design ethos that values restraint, harmony, and a skillful interplay between form and function. The book positions Piero not just as a designer but as a visionary, one whose legacy is defined by his ability to create environments that resonate with the essence of human experience.  Piero says, “The workings of a design office are an evolution of what you stand for, what your imagination does and what your dreams desire.”

Environments (Rizzoli, 488 pages, hardcover, $100)

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