From a small bottle of perfume for Guerlain to the fairing of the Nice tramway, Ora Ïto imprints his signature futuristic vision on projects small and large. We highlight 4 projects the dynamic and joyously unpredictable genius presented in 2017.
Ora ïto is a phenomenon in pop culture. Way back in 1997 he announced his entry when he hijacked top brands with his virtual Vuitton and Apple products that instantly became global icons of the digital revolution. He is the youngest designer of his generation to collaborate with leading brands of luxury goods and industry. Then there was the huge multi-acclaimed success of his aluminium Heineken bottle.
The multidisciplinary, transversal Ora ïto studio has since gone from telephone to architecture, from furniture to the hotel industry, from perfume to tramways and from flying saucers to restaurants, manipulating symbols to simplify them. A tenacious methodology for which he has invented a neologism: ‘simplexity,’ decoding today’s DNA to conceptualise future mutations. His fluid vocabulary materialises movement reinventing streamlining in the digital era and giving shape to the desires of our contemporary society.
In 2013, he created MAMO, an art centre on the roof terrace of the mythical Cité Radieuse designed by Le Corbusier in Marseille. A historical and contemporary place high in the sky, with a 360° view that summarises his passion for levitation and lightness, ‘Defying the laws of gravity creates feelings that go beyond aesthetics.’ The greatest contemporary artists from Xavier Veilhan to Dan Graham are exhibited there before Ito inaugurates an architectural collaboration with Daniel Buren, the master of French conceptual art.
In 2016, five iconic pieces of his work came into the permanent collection of the Centre Pompidou. A lover of contemporary art, he works in the tradition of Le Corbusier whom he greatly admires, always trying to purify his drawing “to the best of the maximum.” He was appointed Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres in 2011.
A selection of 4 Ora Ito projects in 2017.
1 - The Ico chair - A tribute to Cassina’s carpentry workmanship heritage.
The Ico chair is representative of the values that Cassina still maintains today. A combination of wood craftsmanship and technological innovation. It is the essence of the concept MedaMade. The project, developed over more than two years with Ora Ito, has completely centred the equilibrium between craft and industry, style and experimentation. Ico clearly references Cassina’s heritage and in particular the 814 chair designed by Ico Parisi in 1950; the chair’s name pays tribute to this historical model. A chair that has been invigorated by Ora Ito’s dynamism to form an instantly recognisable contour.
2 - The new Nice train and tramway - like an ideal and mobile portrait of the city.
Ora ïto is collaborating with Alstrom to create an organic and rational tram for the new generation of Alstom Citadis X05 citywide tramways. The lucid elegant shape is designed to slip through the historical town paving a contemporary ochre trail. Ochre like the pigments of the façades of the sumptuous Place Massena or Villa Matisse, emblematic 17th century jewels from when ice was still under Sardinian in uence. Ora ïto draws from his double Italian culture to update a tramway summarising this Mediterranean city. Traditional whitewashed workmanship has been converted into a hi-tech object with the ‘simplexity’ valued by the designer, this tenacious decoding of the most complex technology to simplify it for users.
The pure ochre tramway is trimmed with black strips structuring each train with a graphic and signage rhythm. Attention to detail is pushed to the extreme, metallic lacquering reflecting the city in the movement of the tram immediately resonating with the landscape. An object with the qualities of a chameleon that embodies the French designer’s transversal vision for Nice, like an ideal and mobile portrait of the city.
3 – Ora presented Jean Pierre Raynaud @ MAMO - July 2nd to October 1st 2017
Jean-Pierre Raynaud is the fth artist to be invited by the MAMO (Marseille Modulor) after Xavier Veilhan, Daniel Buren, Dan Graham and Felice Varini. The fth singular point of view given to the Cité Radieuse of Le Corbusier, its terrace and gymnasium having been redeveloped by Ora Ito into an art centre. With the support of Longchamp, the MAMO continues its annual exhibitions, inviting world-renowned artists, able to master imposing spaces and to measure themselves to this unique and extra-ordinary place.
“Jean-Pierre Raynaud has been essential in my awakening to Art. His house of course, his stature and the whole of his oeuvre have shaped my artistic culture”, Says Ora Ito.
“I don’t feel as though I am in competition with other artists, I feel like a guest of the MAMO. Invited by Le Corbusier to whom I must address a response, as free as the man himself. The point of interest here is not in the exhibition of art-works, but in an encounter with the architecture, especially with the listed terrace where restrictions apply”, describes Jean-Pierre Raynaud, returning from the art market and its excess to the pleasure of pure creation.
The making of MAMO
In 2010, Ora Ito heard that the Cité Radieuse’s rooftop gym, built in the 1960s, was for sale. The location was extraordinary, but an extension marred the view. It would have to be demolished... except it had been listed with the rest of the building in 1986. And so battle commenced. With the help of the Foundation Le Corbusier, which was also campaigning to restore the building’s original aspect, and later with the support of the building’s co- owners, obstacles were swept aside. The “wart” was removed and the initial grace of the rooftop terrace returned. The walls were sympathetically restored. Work was carried out with extreme care, to the original plans, backed by the building’s residents/admirers of Corbu. By putting an art centre on the roof, Ora Ito has taken onboard Le Corbusier’s philosophy of a place for all to share.
4 - YOOMA Hotel – A bold businessman, a talented designer, an ambitious artist: the trio behind Yooma.
“Yooma is not just another hotel. Yooma is the rst of a new genre, the rst hotel that has been custom-created for a new generation of clients, created to welcome families and city-breakers”. - PIERRE BECKERICH - Initiator and founder of the project.
When Pierre Beckerich initiated the project 3 years ago, he wanted Yooma to fit in seamlessly with the Front de Seine area, an atypical neighborhood of Paris built in the 70s and seen today as part of 20th century heritage. He called upon Ora Ïto to design the building and develop every small detail, partnering in this instance with the architecture rm Calq®.
Ora Ïto then asked Daniel Buren to join him on this project. Buren created a gigantic fresco to the rhythm of his signature “stripes”. Starting out from a deep blue outer wall, a blast trail weaves through the hotel shaping its structure. Graphic elements give a visual rhythm to the lobby and hallways before bursting out onto the façade. This work unfurls everywhere at Yooma. A close-knit dialogue between art and design where neither creator speaks louder than the other.
Find out more about Ora Ito: www.ora-ito.com