Maker Monday: An ASPIRE Exclusive Interview With Valentina Fontana

“Furniture with WOW effect” is how Altreforme perfectly describes the pieces they create. It all started with aluminum, for the creator of Altreforme, Valentina Fontana. With a family background of making car parts with aluminum, Valentina had the idea of carrying on tradition, except using the metal to make incredible furniture. The company has gone on to design Moschino’s first home collection and has received an Elle Decor International Design Award. Introducing this week’s Aspire Maker Monday, Valentina Fontana of Altreforme.

Pictured in the middle of the floor is an aluminum chair called Cyber, which was designed by Antonio Arico. Each piece can be fully customized.

Andrew Joseph: Describe your design style as if you were explaining it to someone who cannot see.
Valentina Fontana: My design style is colour, irony, fun, happiness, sexy details, surprising shapes and obviously a strong wow effect!

Andrew: What is something you hope to see trending in design in the future?
Valentina: I hope to see courage in the future of design. I cannot tolerate forced alignment to standards and I see them so dangerous for our minds. I hope to see a world where creative ideas are supported and chosen and become the rule without rules. This would be so inspiring for our children’s’ future!

Andrew: What’s the best thing that happened to you this month?
Valentina: It was a few weeks ago, when my daughter, 4 years old, told me that I am her best friend. For a hard-working mum, full of guilt feelings…this is the most important result you can reach. And I am very proud of this

Andrew: What’s your favorite cocktail?
Valentina: Hugo. It is an Italian quite new cocktail made of Prosecco and Saint Germain liquor and I do really love it! It is very feminine with a special and sophisticated vintage flavor.

On each wall are the Mata and Grifo coat hanger cabinets, also designed by Antonio Arico and Elena Salmistraro. There is a mirror in the center and the faces can be opened up for storage space.

Andrew: What are three words to describe where you live?
Valentina: For me, my city, Milan, means: Inspirations; Opportunities; Improvement

Andrew: What’s one thing people don’t know about you?
Valentina: When I met my husband for the first time I immediately thought (in one minute or less): this person will mean something to me. I Didn’t know what already, but I was sure about something important for my life. His way of being was so nicely “out of the box” that I felt immediately familiar to him. This is so unbelievable but it is true!

Andrew: What’s your design pet peeve?
Valentina: I cannot tolerate too much or too little. I love great and diverse pieces of design, neither too simple nor too exaggerated.

Andrew: How would you describe your personal style?
Valentina: If I should describe with one word my style I would say that it is distinguishing. I don’t like standardization and I always try to be different. This does not mean necessarily exaggerating or daring, but expressing myself without fear to be noticed or judged. I think that personal style is a way of expressing our personality and nobody should be scared about being sincere.

Another word would be harmony, I love balance in shapes, colors and matching, so I always try to search for this in my look and my accessories.

This collection is the Festa Mobile, also known as A Moveable Feast. It was designed by Elena Cutolo and was inspired by Ernest Hemingway’s, Festa Mobile which was a diary of his time in Paris.

Andrew: How would you define your work in three words?
Valentina: Challenging, Exciting, Creative.

Andrew: Favorite piece of clothing you own?
Valentina: My Gucci rainbow Swarovski headband. When I wear it I really feel “Hey, this is so me!”

Andrew: What would you like to be remembered for?
Valentina: For what I created and for the super talented, happy and balanced daughter I raised.

About The Maker | Valentina Fontana is Vice President and first representative standing for the 3rd generation of the family business Fontana Group, multinational Company based in Lecco and leader for over 60 years in the production of the most prestigious car bodies, with 9 production plants in Italy, Turkey and Romania.

After graduating with a “summa cum laude” degree in Business Administration at Bocconi University in Milan, Valentina works as ghost writer for the famous Italian Economist Marco Vitale writing the book “Il mito Alfa”. Then she experiences the world of real estate in Miami first (JLL), and of strategies advisory later on (PwC and Bain&co, Milan).

Since 2006 carries on her adventure in the Family Business where she leads the challenging change of an entrepreneurial Company becoming a managerial and structured international organization and, alongside the CEO, she takes care of the Strategy plan and Development programs. Powerhouse of ideas, full of enthusiasm, in 2008 Valentina Fontana starts-up the altreforme design project, where aluminium sheets turn out into refined pieces of furniture, giving shape to the most daring design ideas. As from her first steps Valentina has literally jumped a stage: in 2009 altreformeis selected by Design Miami, besides getting the “Elle Decor International Design Award” in Istanbul; in 2010 introduces successful textures patented for aluminium only and at the end of 2011 Valentina strikes a prestigious collaboration with Fashion: she is asked by Moschino to manage the start-up of its first home collection. Every year altreforme presents new collections of iconic and innovative Design in the prestigious setting of Salone del Mobile in Milan.

Valentina has been selected as “Mercedes Classe A” ambassador. She has been contributor for the Condé Nast magazines Traveller and AD China, collaborates as project leader with Domus Academy and is a mentor at Bocconi University for the Business Strategy department.

Andrew Joseph is a regular contributing editor for ASPIRE DESIGN AND HOME magazine. See more of his work here

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ASPIRE DESIGN AND HOME is seeker and storyteller of the sublime in living. It is a global guide to in-depth and varied views of beauty and shelter that stirs imagination; that delights and inspires homeowners as well as art and design doyens. Collaborating with emergent and eminent architects, artisans, designers, developers and tastemakers, ASPIRE creates captivating content that savors the subjects and transports with stunning imagery and clever, thought-provoking writing. Through lush and unique visuals and a fresh editorial lens, ASPIRE explores what is new and undiscovered in art, interiors, design, culture, real estate, travel and more. ASPIRE DESIGN AND HOME is an international narrative and resource for all seeking the sublime.