Insight: Gianni Vallino

Insight: Gianni Vallino

“I hunt and gather for pieces and then put them together in whimsical ways,” explains Gianni Vallino, who uses pressure gears, airplane filters and other industrial parts to create his one-of-a-kind light fixtures. The Italian native began his career as a liaison between designers and management at a fashion house in Milan, but he felt a nagging sense of disillusionment. “Creativity was being sacrificed on the altar of making the collection fit and the buyer happy,” Vallino explains. Seeking his own creative outlet, Vallino began building furnishings for his home using recycled materials. What started as a hobby became a new career after Vallino relocated to California and turned his attention to lighting. “A light fixture really brings out the character of a space,” explains Vallino, who crafts his singular lamps and chandeliers from his studio in Santa Barbara and sells them through Blackman Cruz in Los Angeles and Coup D’Etat in San Francisco. “I know that what I do is very unusual,” he adds. “It started with me, and it will end with me.”

LX: What's inspiring you now?

GV: I was not really that keen on brass, but when I started to use it, everything became a little more whimsical. It was challenging but also rewarding to work with that particular metal.

LX: Design icon:

GV: Alexander Calder. He conveys an idea of infinity by using simple earthy elements.

LX: Greatest influences:

GV: The Wiener Werkstätte, Bauhaus and the Italian master artisans of the 1950s and ’60s.

LX: My work is...

GV: Post-industrial alchemy.

LX: Tools of the trade:

GV: Persistence, patience and perfectionism.

LX: Dream dinner party guests:

GV: Marcel Proust, Jean Cocteau, Maya Deren, Elsa Schiaparelli, Federico Fellini, Madeleine Vionnet, and Walter Benjamin.

LX: Go-to host gift:

GV: My tuna tartare and my tiramisu.

LX: Entertaining dos and don'ts:

GV: As my Grandma taught me, “democracy ends in the kitchen.”;



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