Italian designer Elena Bompani has just launched a new furniture line with the nomadic spirit in mind. Itaca is a flexible, easy-to-transport system that can be reconfigured to suit an individual’s needs, and quickly recreate private spaces on-the-go.
As a recent graduate of Kolding Designskolen, Elena Bompani was inspired by the materials and colors used by nomadic shepherds and artisans to create the new light-weight design. Merging the old with the new, Bompani says that Itaca tells the “stories of journeys, of landscapes that change, of people moving.”
“We have more flexible lifestyles now, less anchored to the places [in which we live or work], and within a few years [one] can happen to move many times. I think about my own experience, or that of many people I know, and that every six months I’m liv[ing] in a different place,” she tells Culture Trip.
In our technological age, frequent travel has become more commonplace – particularly with millennials – so it’s no surprise that our design choices reflect this shift. The desire to get up and go can be seen in everything from Scandanavian minimalism to the ubiquitous hipster aesthetic. With a direct focus on utility, the turn towards a pared-down approach to design has undoubtedly been a direct response to this surge in international travel.
The role of the designer, she says, is to be able to adapt to changes in society, and even precede them. While design itself acts as a cultural vector or a storyteller, “reading and interpreting [new] phenomena and trends is a vital role of the designer.”
Bompani’s design reflects an alternative view on the idea of home and was born out of “an investigation on new types of nomadism and the new relationship between humans and objects.”
“I think you always feel the need to carry around a piece of your own history, of your land. [To] have roots in one place and branches growing in any direction – this was wanted I wanted to explore with Ithaca.”
She points out that while the nomadic life is exciting, it also comes with certain practical and emotional challenges. “We have many objects, many memories, with which often we have emotional ties, but is not always easy [to] bring them with us,” she adds.
“Today, more than ever, the house is no longer a specific place but a feeling, a small cosmos that can be anywhere. The objects are often not only ‘tools’, but rather the things with which we establish relations, to which we tie memories. They are important because they are apart of our identity,” Bompani says.
“Materiality is a key element in people’s lives, but at the same time I think it’s possible to rethink certain characteristics, particularly transportation factors, and weight, material used, without depriving [the design] of its soul,” she tells Culture Trip. “It would be interesting to find a balance between the ephemeral and temporary, light and mutable, and at the same time physical and present, real and lasting.”
The easy-to-assemble structure is held together by leather belts, and comes with linen pockets, shelves, and boxes to allow for customization. The daybed is made from beech wood, making the system lightweight and easy to transport.
The emergence of Itaca is a practical response to the collective desire for travel, change, and adventure, and puts us all one step closer to becoming global citizens of the world. We definitely hope to see more nomadically-inspired designs in the near future.