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The Magic of Fire Meets the Eclectic Inspiration of Paola Navone: Sahara by MCZ is the Result


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In the history of MCZ, a leading brand that produces stoves and fireplaces, 2019 will be remembered as one of the company’s milestone years. Despite being one of the brands in the heating sector that has distinguished itself most for its focus on design – it won the iF Design Award in 2010 – today MCZ is taking a further step in this direction by teaming up with three prominent figures in the field of international design: Patricia Urquiola, Paola Navone and Michael Geldmacher, who designed some of the new products of 2019.

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These designers have one thing in common: none of them have ever worked in the fire sector. They decided to take different approaches to fire, based on their experience and personality, while still being open and curious, unbiased by preconceived notions – which are typical of those who experience something for the first time – and giving original and alternative perspectives. Let’s take a closer look at the projects by talking to those directly involved: we now talk to Paola Navone, who tells us more about Sahara, and to Andrea Brosolo, Marketing Manager of MCZ Group.

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How does the decision to work with designers of the likes of Patricia Urquiola, Paola Navone and Michael Geldmacher fit into MCZ’s strategy?

Andrea Brosolo: Working with designers with extensive experience in the furniture industry has allowed us to bring fire back to the forefront of the latest living trends. An increasing number of consumers want homes that are beautiful to live in, in a broad sense, therefore cosy, energy-efficient, healthy and sustainable. The revival of the domestic fire fits perfectly into this trend. Paola Navone, this is the first time you have worked on a project linked to fire.

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What was the most interesting thing about approaching this sector?

Paola Navone: Fire is a strongly metaphorical element, which is inherently and deeply human and therefore shared
by all cultures, although with a different symbology. What fascinates me about fire is its universal connection with people everywhere and through all ages. That is why I was interested in the experience of ‘clothing’ it with my contemporary and slightly nomadic approach to design. I did not envision it with a clearly-defined geographical character – for me, design is an alchemy that extends beyond geography and boundaries.
In my work, I have always been inspired by my journeys in Africa, Asia, the Middle East… I have been travelling and taking in the world for decades now, and everything I experience is transfused in what I design. I feel a bit like a ‘treasure hunter’ – when I find something that attracts me and tickles my curiosity, I absorb it immediately just like a sponge. Sooner or later, it will appear in my work in some form.

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Do you have a usual routine for your projects?

Paola Navone: My work is not an actual routine, but more of an involuntary activity. Every day, 24/7, my brain takes snapshots of whatever I lay my eyes on. Every time something attracts my attention, it ends up in my head, like in a sort of large bin. I continuously collect all this information, it is never a rational or contrived process. It’s something that happens on its own, wherever I go, whatever I happen to be doing, a natural instinct to ‘capture’ things. When I embark on a new project, the information I stored in my head is conjured up, as if by magic.

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Is that what happened also when you designed Sahara, the MCZ fireplace cladding?

Paola Navone: For Sahara we portrayed the magic of fire by using a non conventional, poetic and decorative material such as the zellije, the traditional, hand-pressed natural ceramic tiles typical of Morocco. What makes zellije very special is their unevenness: each tile is unique and differs from the other ones by the tone, brightness and transparency of the glaze. The iridescent hues of the glazed surface reveal the poetic and somewhat flawed beauty that is characteristic of handmade objects.

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How did the collaboration between Paola Navone and MCZ go?

Paola Navone: When I discovered the MCZ world, I was won over by the company’s knowhow. Working with MCZ has been a beautiful creative adventure for me. The company’s special ability to combine the poetry of the hearth, the  energy of fire and high-level technological performance is a strength we built upon. Everything else came by itself.

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Andrea Brosolo: Paola works at her best when she is given ‘free rein’. Not coincidentally, the symbol she likes the most is the fish. A free being, difficult to catch, just like her. That is why we specifically asked Paola to design a fireplace cladding. Among all our products, it is actually the one that has the fewest technical limitations and leaves more room for creativity. One can play with shapes, colour and materials, the only constraint being the presence of a naked flame.

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Sahara is a cladding that fits with two of our fireplaces, a wood burning one and a pellet burning one. Vivo 90 Wood is characterised by the reduced dimensions and weight, which enable a easier and more rapid installation compared to other wood fireplaces. Vivo 90 Pellet is a pellet fireplace with a large view, which ensures the most intuitive ease-of-use and can be controlled via a smartphone both at home and away from home.

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