Established in April 2015 by Marie-Charlotte Bassi (Paris, 1989) and Diego Petroso (Naples, 1983), Chapel Petrassi is a French manufacturing studio at the border between art and design specializing in handcrafted, sculptural wood furniture and applied arts. All of Chapel Petrassi’s pieces are realized by master cabinetmakers at Falegnameria Petroso, an Italian, family-owned woodworking factory founded Naples in 1968.
Bassi earned a Master Degree in Arts and Literature at the University of Paris and is an autodidact in the Design field. Petroso, meanwhile, studied design at Nuova Accademia di Belle Arti (NABA) in Milan in 2007; he went on to earn a Bachelor’s degree in visual arts from the Fine Arts Academy of Rome in 2011. Separate from his work with Chapel Petrassi, Petroso’s individual visual art projects have been exhibited in a variety of private and institutional spaces, including the American Academy in Rome (2014) and Viafarini in Milan (2013). He grew up observing and working with cabinet makers in an Italian woodworking factory, that has been operated by his family since 1960.
Chapel Petrassi's designs are characterized by a strong, contemporary aesthetic and bold combinations of wood in geometric shapes and vivid colors. They launched their first collection of sculpture-furniture in 2015, which was at the exhibition #InFurnitureWeTrust at Klokgebouw for Dutch Design Week (Eindhoven, 2015). Other notable presentations include: Ventura Lambrate during FuoriSalone in Milan (2016); Venice Design 2016, in coordination with the Dutch non-profit organization Global Arts Affairs Foundation for the 15th International Venice Architecture Biennale (2016); Tent London during the London Design Festival (2016); and ALCOVA Milan during Salone del Mobile (2018).
What type of product do you design?
We realize contemporary furniture not only concentrated on function but also connected to different ways of living and use of space. We love the idea that our designs take part in homes, intimate spaces, places of leisure or work, bringing their identities and sharing feelings.
How would you summarize your approach to design?
Thanks to contemporary art background and its influence in our path, our approach to design is without rules. For us creativity must be very fluid and can be contaminated by different disciplines. We really like the idea of transforming a free concept into a concrete piece of furniture.
Do you have a preferred material? If so, which one? Is it related to a particular meeting or event?
Initially to realize our first collection we entrusted the experience and the know-how of the family owned woodworking factory and naturally used lacquered wood as a preferred material. As we like to experience new challenges with artisans our latest pieces are made of metal also for outdoor use to make the most of the infinity of reflections that natural light offers on metal surfaces.
Has there been a person or event or other that has had a significant influence on your work / career?
We are fascinated by artists that before, during or after their artistic carrier have in a way brushed architecture or design practice. We feel related in our creative process for the multidisciplinary of research and approach.
A maxim, a saying to share?
“I treat objects as if they were human beings, I make them smile.” Alessandro Mendini