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“Slice of Time,” designed by nendo for Officine Panerai, debuted during Tokyo Design Week, and then traveled to Milan last week for Salone del Mobile. On view from April 4—9 at the Palazzo Visconti the project explored the connection between time and design. Whitewall spoke with Panerai’s Angelo Bonati about the project.
WHITEWALL: Can you tell us about the story behind the title of the project, “Slice of Time”?
ANGELO BONATI: The architect, nendo approached time as seen through different sections. On the one hand, “Slice of Time” is a revolutionary concept. On the other hand, it’s the opposite of a watch. A watch is something one puts together, and the word “watch” is a term to describe different components that are put together to give a fraction of constant time. What did nendo do? He fractioned time according to his desire. That is to say, he chose every part to embody a muscle representing minutes. It is a way to interpret the watch differently, in a very creative way.
WW: How did the collaboration with nendo begin? Why nendo?
AB: He met with Panerai’s Japanese branch to discuss. Like many people working in the field of architecture and design, nendo likes Panerai. He likes our approach of design, our creativity, and so we did an exhibition in Tokyo. After we met up, we found ourselves with an amazing opportunity with the Palazzo Visconti space in Milan. And it was easier to bring nendo’s project to life in terms of logistics, here in Milan.
WW: When we take “Slice of Time” and the entire approach behind it, and when we compare it to our digital world, we see that “Slice of Time: is like a pause in time. Was that intentional?
AB: I’m not the designer but like a spectator, but I think it’s a provocation. This morning, while I was walking down the street, there were many people looking at their phone and I had to wave at them so they would not bump into the wall! This model is not good for human beings. There’s a need for provocation, something that is not a modern attitude. We needed something different, something that helps to think through things. The sun sets down everyday in this world. This is the human being’s ideal rhythm. Not something else.
WW: You were Panerai’s first employee 20 years ago. Now the brand employs more than 600 people and you are partnering with many design fairs. What can we expect from you for the future?
AB: That we continue with this orientation because it is the expression of our own DNA. The thing we based ourselves on for so many years is the creation of the brand and for it to be seen as a coherent brand. Coherence in the luxury world is fundamental. At Panerai, with a lot of delicacy we honor our heritage—we’re always at sea, via the Classic Yacht Challenge and America’s Cup. In terms of design, we sponsor events like Design Miami/ and the London Design Week. Those events allow us to be present and seen as contemporary. And at the same time, it absolutely represents the brand, with all our heart.