Per Ross Lovegrove it is “a magnificent moment of transition”. He has moved to the countryside, he is building one large house-studio in Portugal, south of Lisbon, and he has in mind a foundation that collects all the work he has done up to now.
At 64, he can be said to have designed everything: lamps, chairs, clocks, stereo systems, perfume bottles, mineral water bottles, cars of the future such as car on a stick, solar-powered spaceship houses… «I can’t only design sofas. I would go crazy. She has always interested me explore new technologies, new possibilities, new ways. It makes me feel alive and honest.”
The more sci-fi visions have remained on paper but he seems to make it a point of honour. “When I imagined them, certain things seemed impossible. Now we discover that they can be done ». Ila, his partner, intervenes in connection with him via Zoom: “We talked about it many times, I say that hers was self-sabotage”.
Creating forms that are difficult, if not impossible to achieve, was an unconscious mechanism to arrive at sculpture, which has a different longevity compared to the consumer object. If you call him an industrial designer, Lovegrove is embarrassed today. He prefers ‘sculptor of technology’.
«When I look at a product, even if I appreciate its quality, I think of the resources it consumes and which we will never get back. Even if indirectly I feel responsible for the problems we have. Today, in my eyes, design only makes sense if it has an artistic value. I think of the teachers: Sottsass, Branzi, Munari, Castiglionibut also Marc Newson, Tokujin Yoshioka… The problem is that they are a rarity. The sad reality is glasses cost ten euros, and as soon as they get scratched you throw them away».
He has always been rather jealous of his private life. «Someone said: keep the inside for yourself, the outside you can give to anyone. I thought so too, then I changed my mind. It’s time to share».
The house in the Cotswolds whose doors it opens to us, an hour and a half from London, is a dream. It is a sign of destiny. “We passed by it by chance and were enchanted,” recalls Ila. “A week later, our realtor calls and says it might be for sale.
It’s called Lovedays House. It felt like a perfect alignment.” «We didn’t choose it, it’s the house that she chose us», Ross echoes, «I thought it was a gift from my mother, who passed away recently. Her name was Mary and the property overlooks St. Mary’s Street».
The old house of Lovegrove, a terra-cielo a Notting Hill (apparently he was on the market for 17 million pounds, he neither confirms nor denies), now belongs to a record company who has been the agent of many big names in music. “I’m glad he lives there, he’s a fantastic person. That house was my life. Knowing that it is frequented by incredibly creative people, who thus have the opportunity to interact with my work, makes me happy».
Lovedays House it’s a completely different planet. In the small town of Painswick – nicknamed ‘The Queen of the Cotswolds’ because it dominates Gloucestershire from atop a hill – was built in the first half of the 18th century for a family of farmers and cloth merchants, the Lovedays indeed.
Georgian architecture and French-inspired facade, overlooking a cemetery dotted with yew trees that look like sculptures, is a grade II listed propertyunder the protection of the Fine Arts. It was one light renovation and respectfuldesigned to do space for art.
“This place has an important history. Special,” says Lovegrove. “It would have made no sense to create interiors at Tadao Ando, and in any case we could not. I see it as a container of interesting things. I have a collection of ethnographic art, primitive objects, contemporary works. Picasso, Anish Kapoor, Christo… We live surrounded by unique presences that elevate the spirit».
Covid acted as a watershed, neither he nor Ila lacks the city: «Shortly before the lockdown we went to Portugal. For three months we have lived with no one around and we remembered how nice it is to have nature before your eyes» she remembers. «On our return it seemed natural to us to decide to leave London. Among other things, I was pregnant…».
Their little girl, Ocean (“Without the ocean there is no life, and I can’t imagine my life without her”, her father is moved), is now two years old. The parents’ working day starts at nine, when she goes to kindergarten. The countryside is silent and between calls, it’s easy to focus.
“I’ve always worked a lot remotely, right from the start,” he explains Lovegrove“It’s normal for me. Here I realize that I am more productive than usual. And I doI’ve always been very productive.”
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