Deanna Comellini designer - GT Design

Deanna Comellini

“The rug is the earth-platform on which we were born. It is just like us. It is the first element in the creation of an intimate and domestic atmosphere. In the home, it represents the scent, the habits, the poetry. The rug is an archaic symbol that G.T.DESIGN transforms into something contemporary, a part of everyday life, a sign that indicates the boundaries of our personal space.”

“The Manifesto of the Contemporary Rug”

Deanna Comellini

Deanna Comellini studied in Bologna’s artistic environment in the 70s, spending time in various art studios. In 1974, she approached the design world while working with Italian architectural firms and furniture companies until 1977. She founded G.T.DESIGN, taking on designer and art director’s role.

Her design research became the center of her production philosophy through her initial work on materials and shapes. During the 80s, a drive to discover, explore and safeguard traditional techniques from various international cultures led her to process the idea of the ‘imperfect design’. Her curiosity and independent spirit resulted in the fusion of craftsmanship know-how and customizable design projects.

In the 90s, her attention turned to hand-made techniques, natural materials, colors, and elementary shapes, resulting in a new design trend that reinvented textiles’ relevance in interior design. Today, Deanna Comellini’s research focuses on the contemporary rug, interpreted as an essential element of interior architecture. Her creative approach, which starts from an artistic vision of the product rather than an industrial one, generates a production process proper of the luxury industry, with unparalleled attention to detail.

Deanna Comellini’s creative process focuses on the interaction between matter, form, and space, concentrating for more than 40 years on the contemporary rug’s notion. Aside from the obsessive quest for the perfect color palette, and the use of top-quality natural materials and high-performance technical yarns, it was her inventive idea of revisiting the rug that marked her story as a designer. A perfect example is her innovative use of viscose fibers (referring to the rug Kama) to capture and reflect light, completely revolutionizing how the rug design and its importance in interior design projects. The same free-minded observation of the world drove her to undertake the exciting digital era for rug design which, among other things, allows the production of rugs of large dimensions.

Deanna Comellini has brought the weaving process – an expression of technology, identity, and innovation for centuries – into the design universe. Natural fibers – such as linen, coconut, bamboo, pure wool, hemp, silk, and natural derivatives such as Tencel – lie at the heart of her experimentation into design and processing methods.

These natural materials are at the core of her research into the function, performance, and inherent symbolism of the objects produced. Unlike mere industrial production, the crafting highlights their imperfections and the sensitive vitality of their delightfully unique flaws.

They wrote about her

I don’t know if Deanna Comellini knows artists Lygia Clark, Lucy Orta and Andrea Zittel, yet she is their companion in  exploring  the relationship between body and living.

In considering living as a condition of being, being on earth, as Martin Heidegger said. Lygia Clark and her husband Helio Oiticica worked in post-colonial Brazil. Their works on the body and the Brazilian “being on earth” materialized into perceptive clothing that put individuals in relation to each other through touch; clothes in which to seek refuge and rediscover an identity ousted by colonialism.

Lucy Orta makes no secret of following Clark’s work, she uses haute-couture techniques to construct clothing refuges, some collective, designed for the urban homeless. Clothing/dwellings which establish relations between the being on earth of the excluded.

Andrea Zittel creates living units, fitted around her needs and sensitivity, that become extensions of clothing, understood as a uniform. The first step taken towards units were living rugs, designed to recreate the traditional functions of living on the floor.

Deanna weaves rugs that have atmospheric vibrations, the scorching heat of the earth, the softness of moss, the shimmer of water, the warmth of the sun, the flickering of flames.  Rugs that are earth on which to be, that are living ideas.

Rugs that have the colour of seasons to re-establish ties between body and nature, to recreate that original idea of living that is being on earth. Not decorative, not furnishings, but portions of earth, near and far, fertile and arid, that make living a journey, that retrace the nomadic origin.

She weaves rugs that become irregular, imperfect, unstable and fragile bodies to be embraced, to hold on to in order to rediscover the thrill of contact and the taste of carnal relations. They become encircling and protective like nests.  Softness to dive into, to drown in.

Deanna doesn’t strictly design objects or weave rugs and mats; she explores, with the delicacy of a hand accustomed to caressing natural materials and revealing their beats, the relationships between bodies and their being on earth.

This is what makes us think of art, of the sensitivity that Lygia, Lucy and Andrea have for this condition of being that is living: a body, clothing, a rug, a unit, a space. This is why Lygia, Lucy, Andrea and Deanna seem as sisters to me in how they mark the confines of living in connection to the body, to its existential condition.  At the end of the day,  to feel at home anywhere in the world, it is enough to have a small piece of earth on which to leave an impression, a den to use as a refuge; a rug is enough, a cushion is enough. If they seem to be made of sand, moss, sun, water, fire and clouds, then it really is a home ‘to be’, free from the problems of living.

Cristina Morozzi