issue #16: undiscovered design
Caleido’s interview with Nina Yashar, gallery owner and founder of Nilufar Gallery, is the cover story of Issue #16, entitled: Undiscovered design. Welcome to Caleido, an inspirational diary, that narrates many stories: about creative people, trends, travels, objects. / Read the Editor’s letter here.
Diary of: @nilufargallery
1. When we started discussing this issue dedicated to talent scouting, your name unanimously and across the board. An achievement that is the result of incessant work that has relentlessly continued for decades. What does being considered a talent scout mean to you? Do you feel any obligation, constraint, or particular expectation from you?
It’s actually a difficult feeling to describe. Over the years, I have learned that to always listen to my instinct, in addition to focus on extensive documentation and research. In any case, I feel a great sense of responsibility and understand the expectation of the audience.
2. This publishing project is called caleido; a named inspired by the spirit of kaleidoscopic research that distinguishes us as creatives. Kaleidoscopic could be used to describe you as well, with an eclectic interplay of decompositions and recompositions at all levels: in your research work, personal background, style, spirit as a “merchant” (in the highest sense of the word). Looking at contemporary society from your kaleidoscope, what is the facet (macro-trend) that emerges most powerfully?
The unstoppable fading of limits and boundaries. We no longer seeing individual styles, sectors, movements, but rich sets of elements and a great desire to broaden the horizons. I have always believed in the strength of the whole rather than the individuals. From synergies and inequalities come much more fascinating opportunities.
3. Your style has the ability to be harmonious and disruptive at the same time, thanks to your original way of creating interwoven stylistic ensembles. How much rigor and impulsiveness are behind your work?
As for all things, no matter the level of much rigor as impulsiveness within us there must be a balance. The most important thing is having a direction. I, for one, have always let my instincts lead me, which is what continues to define my direction today.
4. What is your relationship with “forever”?
One of awe and hope, I think a bit like everyone else’s.
5. The world changes and ways of living evolve. Your style, on the other hand, is so iconic and timeless that it appears not to be needing these changes. Is this really the case? In your private life, are you a person of habit or do you love change?
Things are defined as iconic only after time has passed. I think that any contemporary element defined as iconic should be accompanied by skepticism. I love many and different things, including change and habit, without the presumption or desire to create icons.
6. You are often referred to as “the queen of Milan,” and other similar titles. A queen who became such by working tirelessly since the days of the first carpet store in via Bigli (you were 22). If you had to pin down one memory dating back to when you were pioneering of this work, what would it be? Is there any project in which you still feel like a beginner?
I have so many wonderful memories of that period of great discovery; and the best thing is that I always feel like a beginner, even though it is a definition I today associate with the perpetual discovery of things I don’t yet know. I wouldn’t be able to do my job if this wasn’t the case.
7. I have read about the feminist marches you took part in side-by-side with many other women (including Miuccia Prada) in the 1970s. Fashion has often been a direct mean of expression to fight social battles. Has there been any choice made with this specific intent on your part? Do you still take the field today?
I will just answer by saying that in my gallery we are almost all women.
8. When they talk about you, they never talk about “just” your store, or your gallery… Yours is always “a world.” Made up of art, interior design, collecting, patronage. Was there a time in your life when reasoning “by universes” created discomfort for you? How did you overcome it?
I have never wanted to think in these terms, specifically to avoid limiting the infinite possibilities related to the freedom of choice that I have always allowed myself.
9. How does such a rich aesthetic comprising pieces like those of Gio Ponti, Franco Albini, or Lina Bo Bardi combine with up-and-coming talents? What is the secret, for a new generation artist or designer, to be able to make their work coexist with the sacredness of certain absolute icons?
I recommend respecting, contemplating, and studying them, but not to consider them untouchable. My favorite element of the gallery’s work is precisely this medley of styles. It is important to be able to touch, get to know and represent different styles. This also well depicts one’s personality and taste.
10. What is one object in your home that you would never give up? What is the memory attached to it?
I have a beautiful flower vase by Peder Moss, a round centrepiece made of various test tubes, each of which is designed to hold one flower. This is an object I am very fond of, and it offers an unusual way of looking at floral arrangements. It is the star of the dining room.