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October 14, 2021

A Design talk

European telephone number

An informal conversation about design with Umberto Palermo, founder and CEO of UP Design, the Homa appointed design house, and Federico Rebaudo, the General Manager of Homa Europe representative office based in Milan.

Umberto Palermo, Visiting Homa Europe Studio, Milan

Umberto Palermo, Visiting Homa Europe Studio, Milan

Federico Rebaudo (FR): Umberto, you have been designing Homa products for the last eight years. Together, we created Homa's "design Manifesto"
( E.Ds: a manifesto advances a set of ideas or views); as a famous writer said, "creativity is like jam; it must be spread on a solid slice of bread".

Umberto Palermo (UP): You are right! I'm Italian, I like beauty, I'm surrounded by it.
But beauty in industrial design is a complex exercise, a precise process.
In the beginning, there is a company with an idea. There is the end-user with a need. Then I come in, the designer.
This is how a beautiful product is born: it all starts from a problem to solve. Then it arrives the inspiration, an emotion that becomes an object used every day!

(FR): We attach great importance to what we call "Homa Experience", we focus on the customer and his requirements, the end-user and his needs, and to do so, there is a magic word: "the details".
The ones that trigger the emotions, the ones that generate memorable moments.

(UP): Exactly! Precisely for this reason, I work so empathetically with Homa. My research starts with the analysis of details.
If they all fit together, there is aesthetic and functional harmony. At that precise moment, I'm sure: the path is the right one.
Design is just like a beautiful painting or a beautiful work of art.
It is the sum of many small elements, little emotions that determine an atmosphere, the moments to remember. In the case of appliances like refrigerators, everything must be highly functional as well as beautiful.
You know great success is achieved with many small victories.

(UP): I'm used to travelling a lot, to get inspired. It happens more and more often, when I go to dinner with friends, in their kitchens, around Europe to see a product designed for Homa, it is always a great satisfaction.
I'm humble. I keep it to myself.
I don't even say it, but inside, my heart beats rate goes up, I fill with joy. And when you find a fridge made by Homa in a friend's house, what do you do?

(FR): Ahh, in Homa, we are humble too, but we can't hide. We are very proud of the appliances we manufacture. I immediately say, "this is made in Homa!"

Umberto Palermo, UP Design HQ, Turin

Umberto Palermo, UP Design HQ, Turin

(FR): One thing that intimately binds you to Homa is designing something that can be used well.
I see a lot of bond with the cities you grew up in from Turin and its industrial history to Milan, international and pragmatic but always attentive to aesthetic balance, the design capital.

(UP): Breathing the air of these two cities was fundamental for me. We are made by our history. I do not draw a line that is not oriented towards something functional.
I can't stand for design without purpose.
Even art got a purpose, in my opinion. Its goal is to excite.
The place of the refrigerator is the kitchen, the beating heart of the house.
It must be as functional as it is exciting.

(FR): You know that when it comes to design and if you are Italian, you inevitably end up talking about sports cars, sometimes even inappropriately. What do you answer to those who tell you that you were inspired by sports cars for the new 4 doors?

(UP): I love and design sports cars. I can say that what I certainly appreciate about car design is combining functionality, performance, and great emotions. In this sense, then yes, if they compare refrigerators to cars, I agree with them. Supercars inspire the philosophy behind this product. The blend is rooted in 2 words, Performance and Beauty. 

(FR): Another cliché is that design is often confused with fashion.

(UP): I hope it is clear to everybody that we are talking about the same coin's two sides, same background but very different approach.
If you want, I'll tell you a fashion product that intrigues me: women's bags! Able to contain so many objects, so organized even in confusion.
Here I think that basically, the refrigerator is an organizer, an organizer of lunches, dinners, parties.
Moments that inevitably generate emotions, as you say, "memorable!"
Like when a woman puts her hand in her bag and takes out those sunglasses, or that scarf, capable of immediately attracting and making a difference.

design on the coffe table homa europe office

Sketches on the coffee table in Homa Europe Studio, Milan

(FR): The design has become a fundamental part of Homa.
Today, beauty is in Homa DNA. It is part of the company legacy.
The difference between Homa and others is increasingly evident!

P): Impressive! Competitors' refrigerators? I don't look at them.
With Homa, we have made an essential journey. In a short time, we have come to draw original lines, and with this new four-door, we have arrived at the essence of design, authenticity, in every tiny detail.
It is the only way to generate surprise in those who look at them and use them. In short, to excite.

Design Museum, Triennale, Milan

Design Museum, Triennale, Milan

FR): We make competitive, technologically advanced but above all beautiful products! Projects that have become the point of reference for the competition and not vice versa.

(UP): Design defines all Homa product proposals, but the 4-door is undoubtedly the masterpiece, a large canvas where every brushstroke traces a fascinating work of art.
The Homa QUATTROPORTE! ( E.Ds.: the Italian way to say four-doors, as per some peculiar sports car with 4 doors, commonly called Quattroporte).

Enjoy the "Design Talk" video on our YouTube channel at this link.

For more information on UP Design and Umberto Palermo, please visit the Up design website

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