Presented last week at Belgrade Design Week, the Gorenje Ora-Ito Collection consists of fridge-freezers, ovens, ceramic hobs, extractor hoods, all faced in black glass and with either black or silver finishes and handles.
Below is an interview with Ora-Ito and a press release, both from Gorenje:
The simply complex world of the designer Ora-Ito
ORA-ITO, ENFANT TERRIBLE OF INDUSTRIAL DESIGN
Simplexity in the new Gorenje Ora-Ito Collection
We met Ora-Ito in his atelier in Le Mare, one of the oldest districts in Paris, famous for numerous galleries and artistic atmosphere. Ora-Ito, the young French designer who rushes through his life with the speed of a jet plane, is also inspired by this bohemian verve.
As a teenager he simply could not wait for the others to discover his talents; instead, he proclaimed himself the artistic director of major global brands. He redesigned some of their flagship products to make them even more appealing and provocative, and presented them on his website. People from all over the world started ordering the actually non-existent products that were at the time merely a part of Ora-Ito's virtual world.
The beginning of your career as a designer is particularly interesting. You could say you found your fame with boldness, simply because you dared...
"When I started to work I was 19 years old and I wanted to create my own brand. But I didn't have the money. I didn't know how to make it so I decided to create a virtual brand. And two years later I declared myself art director of all the biggest brands I knew... It was like I was really working for them.
"So I did some products for brands which were let's say 'icons of my generation' like Louis Vuitton, Apple, Bic, Nike, Visa etc. I did products for those brands without asking them. I put them on the internet and it had a great success. That is how I started my career... Everyone said "Wow, what this guy did is cool!" and instead of attacking me, they asked me to work for them."
At least they knew they weren't buying a pig in the poke... You actually proved you were a very talented designer. How do you create, what do you draw on for your ideas, what kinds of shapes are on your mind?
"My inspiration in general comes from everyday life. I like to observe everything that surrounds me. So the nature can inspire me a lot, but also a good movie, all the sounds, just a shadow that makes me think. Everything can inspire me. I get my inspiration from a lot of different backgrounds. Because of my job I travel a lot and I get a lot of inspiration when I go to different places. I absorb a lot of new energy, new vibes, and when I come back to my studio I bring a lot of new ideas."
You have been working (and you still do) for different international brands, currently you are also cooperating with the Slovenian company Gorenje, one of Europe’s leading household appliance manufacturers. How do you see your cooperation with Gorenje?
"I would say that it was a great opportunity for both me and Gorenje to combine our talents and create the kitchen that will break a new deal in the kitchen history. Both of our companies are well known for their respective qualities: Gorenje for the quality of its appliances, and my design brand for its way of conceiving the future in terms of creation. I see Gorenje as a brand of undeniable tradition, of timeless quality concerning the craftsmanship of their appliances, as well as their inner qualities of consistent performance and resilience. I am sure that the brand will soon become a world’s reference when talking about the kitchen of tomorrow."
You are not very "domesticated" type ... What was your first reaction when Gorenje approached you to design appliances for them?
"When they called me I was like "what is a kitchen again?" (laugh) No, not really, but it is true that I am a very poor cook myself. Without a fiancée (french actress Vahina Giocante) I would probably starve. I barely know how to cook an egg. I know – what a shame for a French guy! But still, it was a project that was really inspiring for me. A kitchen is a part of everyday life and for a designer it is an interesting challenge to create through the numerous aspects of the relationship that I have with the people who use the products I design."
Your first collection of household appliances is just about to be launched. How do you feel about it? Will it be difficult to "let it go"?
"Of course, I am really excited about this launch. Who wouldn’t be? I am also a little nervous because it is for me a very important project that will connect my philosophy with consumers and interact with their everyday lives. It is always difficult to let my creation go, as you said, because it means there is no way back for me to make changes and add some final adjustments, like a couturier does when he takes care of the last details of his dresses before they hit the runway."
How would you evaluate the new collection, Collection Gorenje Ora-Ito?
"It is like asking a mother if her baby is cute ... Of course I think this collection is the greatest on Earth. Without joking, I really love this slick and timeless range of household appliances because it is intelligent and beautiful. The volumes are very simple, yet sophisticated. This collection of household appliances introduces a new idea of luxury in the kitchen environment. These appliances are futuristic, but they perfectly fit into our time."
What will in your opinion charm the potential buyers of the Gorenje Ora-Ito Collection?
"Personally I like the material treatment and the quality of the finishes. I think that consumers will fall for their intriguing beauty and will enjoy their functionalities. Complex technologies are hidden behind a minimalist façade and that is exactly what makes the product look elegant. People will also like the fact that each product is easy to understand and to live with. They are not complicated to use and for me that is very important. Not only because I am a poor cook, but because I love simplicity."
You have also designed a futuristic kitchen for this new collection.
"Yes ... I wanted to integrate these appliances into a special environment. It looks simple and it is made in one piece. Nothing is rectangular, all the angles are rounded. It’s special!"
In your opinion, what will the kitchen look like in the future?
"It will definitely look simple! The more complex the technologies are going to become, the more their interface with the consumers will be simplified. In the future, our kitchen will not look like kitchens anymore because there is no reason why the functions of cooking need to remain in the same setting. In my opinion, kitchen functions will be dispersed throughout the apartment. They will become nomad products easy to move inside and maybe outside the place of residence. The appliances will also be able to connect with each other and with you through the internet so that you can start cooking before you come back home."
The main purpose of a kitchen is preparing the food ... How practical and convenient is your futuristic kitchen?
"The one we have just made is inspired by the future. But remember that the real future is by definition something that is not possible to do today – otherwise it would be called 'today', not 'the future'. That is why I have to explain this kitchen is inspired with the worlds we will live in tomorrow, using the best of the state-of-the-art technologies available in the market."
Do you like good food? How important are eating rituals and environment for you?
"I love great food. As long as I am not the chef, but even then it should be edible anyway. I like very simple food like the one my mother prepared for me when I was a kid. My “faute de bon gout" /lack of good taste/ for a French guy is McDonald’s, but I also love the food my girlfriend cooks for me. I love to be fed like a tiny baby."
What is the best moment of the day for you?
"I have a lot of pleasure during the whole day, when I fall asleep, when I wake up, when I take my shower, when I go to work when I eat my lunch, when I have breakfast and when I eat my dinner (laughter)."
What books do you have on your bedside table?
"A lot of books on architecture. I don't read the books, I have a big problem, I am more of a visual type."
Five most important words in your vocabulary...
"Good, bad, better, even better, best."
Is it a privilege to be a designer today? Do you feel like an opinion maker?
"Of course it is a real privilege to do something exciting. My work is my passion so I do not consider it like actual work. At this job, it is difficult to become famous enough to be able to produce things, even though for me it is a great adventure to invent new designs for tomorrow. I do not feel I am an opinion maker even if some people say I am."
Modern design – how do you see it? Development, trends...
"I hate to talk about trends because when I started my career people where saying I was a trendy star that will never become a real creator. I just love modern design as long it is strong, influential, audacious and visionary. In the future, I think we will see fun and interaction become the strong core elements of every product, which will make its use more enjoyable."
Would you be interested in working with Gorenje again? Do you already have any ideas you would like to realize with them?
"Of course, I would really love to work again with such nice and warm people like the Gorenje team. I love this brand and there are many things I want to design. We have to work together to invent what the technology does not allow yet, but will become possible tomorrow. We must advance as much as possible towards the kitchen of the future."
The Gorenje Ora-Ito Collection
The new classic for tomorrow’s kitchen
THE GORENJE ORA-ITO COLLECTION
Elegance in black for the trend-oriented urban consumers
Velenje, March 2007 – This spring, Gorenje will surprise the European markets with a new range of household appliances, called the Gorenje Ora-Ito Collection. This trendy range of technologically perfected household appliances from Gorenje is signed by the world-famous designer of the younger generation, Ora-Ito.
The Gorenje Ora-Ito Collection is a result of the company’s desire to offer the contemporary consumer superiorly designed yet reasonably priced appliances, affordable for a wider population. The Gorenje Ora-Ito Collection will be launched in two color combinations: completely black and black & silver. Gorenje is proud to present this product range as the new classic for the kitchen of the future.
The result of Gorenje's cooperation with Ora-Ito, the designer who dubs his style Simplexity – the combination of simplicity and complexity – was nothing short of a new trend in arranging and designing the kitchens of tomorrow.
"By being so bold, so different, and so intrepid in his wading against the mainstream, Ora-Ito is the perfect choice for Gorenje. He combined the simple shapes that surround us into an image of a futuristic kitchen of today, tomorrow, and the day after. I am convinced that the new product range designed in his distinctive minimalist style and featuring the cutting-edge technology of Gorenje appliances, will indeed enchant numerous consumers across Europe, and remain the trend for quite some time" says Mr. Franjo Bobinac, president and CEO of Gorenje, d.d., on the new range of household appliances with which Gorenje has assumed the role of the visionary setting the design trends of the future.
The Gorenje Ora-Ito Collection combines the latest technology, excellent and distinctive design, and superior quality. In line with its ambition to become the most innovative design-oriented household appliance manufacturer in the world, Gorenje seeks to impress with originality, technological superlatives, refined elegance, and ecological accountability. Thus it follows its vision in the field of design with great confidence and constantly improves its distinctiveness among users across Europe.
Ora-Ito, the creative rebel of the industrial design who was invited to team up with Gorenje for the company's most recent effort, started his career by creating his own virtual brand. This greatly boosted his distinctiveness and soon he started to work with numerous internationally renowned brands.
Here is how Ora-Ito sees his cooperation with Gorenje, a company distinctive above all for the quality of its products: "We have taken a great opportunity to combine creative talent and technology, thus creating a kitchen that sets a milestone in kitchen design. I am delighted to work with a partner that realizes the importance of design in its products. The design aspect of the appliances that we use daily, and this also includes household appliances, is often completely neglected. As the designer of the collection created in cooperation with Gorenje I believe that this product range will become a global reference for the kitchens of tomorrow, a new classic for the kitchen of the future."
In his interviews, Ora-Ito often emphasizes how much he enjoys seeing his productsfunction in different environments: "I like to imagine how the products that I design are integrated into different settings and how they perform in them. When creating the new collection, I wanted to design appliances fit for any kitchen. I omitted everything redundant, only the pure essence of the product remained. I believe we have succeeded..." Ora-Ito concludes with satisfaction.
Also satisfied with the results of this cooperation is Mr. Aleksander Uranc, Head of Marketing in Gorenje, d.d.: "This Gorenje product range primarily addresses the trend-oriented urban consumers looking for high quality appliances with superior and distinctive design, along with reasonable pricing that will make them accessible to a wider population. The collection is appealing mainly because it is different; it is entirely based on black color, which is a rather new approach in household appliances."
The Gorenje Ora-Ito Collection consists of a series of fridge freezers, multi-functional ovens, ceramic hobs, ducting kitchen hoods, and decorative panels that round up the consistency of the entire collection's design. The appliances of the Gorenje Ora-Ito Collection are classified in energy class A and they feature all contemporary user functions. One of their key distinguishing features is the uniform appearance of the front decoration panels covered completely with black glass, and brushed aluminum handles available either in stainless steel or black.