Founded in 2020, atelier anna arpa stands out for the creation of tailor-made projects that exploit the use and knowledge of solid wood to create modular joints that do not require the use of nails or glues.
Anna Arpa was born as an architect, working in Berlin, New York and Milan, but then chose the path of design, participating in fairs such as ADI Design and Isola Design Festival, and currently her s/m-w desk is represented by Mint Gallery in London.
Wood and its ancient tradition meet innovation with elegance and practicality, intelligence in design and passion for the creative and, above all, concretely productive process.
For Atelier Anna Arpa, wood, tradition and production are together the origin, purpose and motive for a thoughtful, elegant and functional design.
You started your career as an architect in Mendrisio, but why did you decide to move on to interior design?
I began my career as an architect working in various studios in Milan and internationally, but since I was young I have cultivated a keen interest in the handcrafted wooden products that I had discovered in my uncle's workshop, and it was this passion that influenced me in my choice to return to the origins.
When it comes to production, in fact, I believe it is essential to reclaim an artisanal, authentic and lively dimension, full of people to collaborate with and prototypes to examine, adapt and love.
Design, compared to architecture, offers me the opportunity to experiment in a deeper and more direct way: what I appreciate is the ability to intervene directly, materially on what I am creating.
Practically speaking, how do you create the mosaic effect with wood? And what were your sources of inspiration?
The s/m-w collection aims to introduce a fresh and innovative perspective into the traditional woodworking and inlay technique thanks to Multi-Wood©, patented by Atelier Anna Arpa in 2022.
The panel can be entirely customized in size, pattern and essence, with the desk top featuring an intricate pattern of approximately 15,000 solid wood fragments from 10 different essences. These authentic pieces of wood crafted together create a unique design, these are not just thin layers or surface decorations.
Among my models and sources of inspiration, Angelo Mangiarotti stands out above all, whose design philosophy focused on sustainability and the creation of long-lasting objects reflects those values that I consider essential and with which I completely identify.
But there is also the strong influence of Japanese tradition, with its principles of respect, harmony, modesty and beauty, which permeates my works. I want them to express, to shout powerfully while remaining silent, following the essence of this culture.
Do you have other ideas and plans for the future?
At the moment I am focusing both on interior design, collaborating with Studio Urquiola, and on the production of furniture that combines the no-screw-no-glue and s/m-w collections.
In parallel with these projects, I continue to develop my personal research on the potential of wood and its applications.
I also continue to maintain an active role as an interior designer for private clients, tackling challenges and creating tailor-made solutions to meet individual needs. This double perspective allows me to explore and integrate both the conceptual and experimental aspect of design, and the practical and functional aspect, offering me a more complete approach and point of view on the world of design and furniture.
What do you think of fairs, both as a person and as a designer?
From a professional point of view, an international fair like Milano Home offers the opportunity to explore new markets and connect with commercial partners globally, allowing a direct relationship between exhibitors and point of sale representatives.
However, intense competition cannot be ignored, given that with the presence of numerous companies, getting noticed by visitors and potential buyers can be difficult: we could therefore say that it is a bit of a double-edged sword, from this point of view.
From a personal point of view, however, the advantages are certainly the uniqueness of the experience itself, humanly and not only professionally, and the possibility of exploring the latest trends in the sector and above all dealing with new innovative products.
And networking, with the possibility of interfacing with other professionals and companies, is certainly one of the strong and unique points of