While hitting the Milan Design Week fair grounds, Marcel Gull caught up with Monica Armani, an Italian architect and designer sought by leading furniture brands for the innovative and distinctive style of her work. The enduring modernism and delicate detailing of her Tosca range for Tribù encapsulate her signature design style
Why we can’t get enough of Tribù’s iconic outdoor furniture design
The intriguing design of Tribù’s Tosca range has become an icon for this Belgian outdoor furniture brand. With the structure of the chairs, lounger and daybed appearing to be woven, or knitted together, Monica Armani has created her own distinctive artform. “It was the first of this style of large weaving,” says the designer. “And when you see how difficult it is to copy, you understand why it’s so unique.”
Monica grew up in a family home designed by her architect father, Marcello, in Trento, a mountain town north of Verona. Surrounded by nature and creativity as a child, she learnt to express her own voice as a designer. She also learnt that research and refining every detail are key to creating products that endure, especially outdoors.
Today, Monica’s designs are influenced by both nature and structure. As an architect, she can’t help but bring construction to her work, but the nuances come from the natural world where she retreats for inspiration. She divides her time between Trento, amid the beauty of nature, and Milan, which constantly challenges her innovation.
More than 20 years ago Monica established a design company with her husband, Luca Dallabetta, which went on to cement her name in the industry.
“My husband is a very technical, very visual man and together we’ve been able to internationalise our work,” she says. “We started out very small, with a design for his office – a very simple, welded steel table, but beautiful.”
From one humble product, the pair grew their range and slowly built the company, alongside Monica’s reputation as a leading designer. “For many years it was very tough but now my name is more known it has become easier,” she says. Monica and Luca continue to work together on collaborations for leading design brands such as Tribù, the design house known for its simplicity, innovation and quality.
“My husband and I fight a lot but we love what we do,” she laughs. “We do a lot of research on new materials and how they can be applied and used in our work.”