Dezeen Magazine

Tracing Identity

Seven female designers asked to create metal furniture with "strong emotional allure"

Italian metal brand De Castelli worked with seven female designers, including Nika Zupanc and Constance Guisset, to create this furniture collection that features rose-gold cabinets and multi-coloured tables.

De Castelli's brief was for items of furniture that dispel that myth the metal is a cold, masculine material.

To achieve this, the designers – who also include Alessandra Baldereschi, Nathalie Dewez, Francesca Lanzavecchia, Donata Paruccini and Elena Salmistraro – combined warm-toned metals with curved forms and decorative details.

The results, are on show at the Salone Internazionale del Mobile furniture fair this week, as part of Milan design week. The collection is titled Tracing Identity.

"Each piece has a precise use and a strong volumetric presence," said the brand, which describes the collection as having "strong emotional allure".

"Screens, cabinets, tables and bookcases clearly show the handcrafting skills of De Castelli, becoming also the opportunity for trying new finishes and types of manufacturing," it added.

Gender is a hot topic in architecture and design at the moment, with the industry largely dominated by men.

Architect David Adjaye recently said he was "embarrassed as a male" that women still need to fight for gender equality, while Denise Scott Brown petitioned to be recognised for the joint achievements of herself and husband Robert Venturi.

Industry studies have found a huge disparity in pay, as well as problems relating to long hours and childcare.

Some women also face stereotyping, finding that they are expected to produce a certain kind of work because of their gender – an idea that is arguably reinforced by this project.

Here's an overview of all seven products on show:

Scribble by Francesca Lanzavecchia

Polished, brushed and oxidised metals combine to form these coffee tables by Italian designer Francesca Lanzavecchia. She describes them as "like essential and soft lines drawn by a paintbrush".

Tracing Identity

Polifemo by Elena Salmistraro

Milan-based Elena Salmistraro used engraved copper to create the curved, textured doors of this cabinet. Its handles create a central circle, prompting comparisons with a "huge one-eyed cyclops with long legs".

Tracing Identity

Painting by Alessandra Baldereschi

Milanese designer Alessandra Baldereschi used a variety of metals to create this screen, including polished steel, brushed copper, brass and black iron. The curved forms are intended to represent landscapes.

Tracing Identity

Long Cabinet by Nika Zupanc

Golden keys unlock the different compartments of this "cabinet of wishes", created by Slovenian designer Nika Zupanc. Each door is made from copper, but they showcase a variety of finishes.

Tracing Identity

Elizabeth by Nathalie Dewez

Created by Belgian designer Nathalie Dewez to suit a hallway, this small cabinet shows a metal-bending technique developed by De Castelli. It is made from thin sheets of metal with a polished copper finish.

Tracing Identity

Volte by Constance Guisset

French designer Constance Guisset wanted to show how metal can be "warm and cosy". Her totem-inspired shelving unit is finished in copper and has a drawer in its base.

Vomere by Donata Paruccini

There are two clear halves to this table by Italian designer Donata Paruccini. The surface is a traditionally shaped tabletop, finished in copper, while the base is made up of overlapping metal sheets.

Photography is by Massimo Gardone.