Francesco Rota

ITALY (1966)

Francesco Rota was born in Milan, where he still lives, works and finds inspiration. In Rota’s family, design was always present. “My mom was a professor of fashion design at Istituto Marangoni and was always working on her designs at home. My grandfather was an engineer and had a company producing electronic items. Therefore the notions of aesthetics and functionality have been following me since I was a child.”


An understanding of how things work in combination with innate creativity attracted Rota to product design, which he studied at Art Center College of Design in La Tour-de-Peilz, Switzerland, graduating in 1994. After a bit of traveling, he realized Milan was the right place for his own business. At Francesca Rota Studio, founded in 1998, he works on product design, furniture, lighting, residential interiors, showrooms and offices, with clients including Arketipo, Fiat, Knoll, L’Oreal Paris, Nestlé, Daimler AG and Martini & Rossi. The studio’s eclectic portfolio includes ticket machines for parking garages, boat interiors, housewares and costume jewelry.


Rota’s furniture combines nods to iconic designs with simplicity and basic functionality. “Most of the designs I work on are aimed at meeting a specific market need or answering to a particular social behavior, always striving simultaneously to achieve great comfort and a visually pleasing appearance.” Firmly in the “visually pleasing” column is Rota’s Jey Table (2016), comprising a solid marble base, a steel stem and, ticking the “functionality” box, a tabletop made of Fenix laminate, an ultra-durable self-healing material.


Rota taught industrial design for a time at Istituto Europeo di Design (IED) in Milan. “Teaching offered an incredible opportunity to be in constant contact with young creatives. The interaction with students provided surprising new perspectives on what our eyes are already used to.” Since 2013, he’s been the creative director for Italian furniture manufacturer Lapalma, where he’s discovered that he enjoys the view from the other side of the business. “It permits me to understand the complete process and helps me as a designer to work with more attention to clients’ needs.”


His work has been included in exhibitions including the Milan Triennial, and in 2012 he took part in a more experimental exhibit, Copper Trilogy, at the Milan showroom of copper manufacturer KME. Rota was asked to create a design in copper to illustrate the design potential of the metal. His set of hexagonal copper nesting trays in various states of oxidation grew out of his interest in working with materials that change with time.


Inspiration for Rota comes from various passions and curiosities, including the seaside in Liguria, where he spent time as a child and where he still sails and windsurfs, and vintage boats, cars and motorbikes (he owns nine). “I find value in everything that’s created with great attention to detail and that has the potential to surprise or delight in some way.” Throughout, a thread in Rota’s designs has been timelessness. “I search for form, function and value by applying innovative materials and production processes that can make the products last a long time. Therefore my work is never subject to trends.”

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  • Designed by Francesco Rota for Lapalma

    $670.00
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