Thomas Geuder: Mr. Ippolito, as one of two heads of IF Group – the other one is Gunter Fleitz – you stand for an approach that regards architecture or interior design always as part of a whole entity, but as unmistakable within this cosmos. You call yourself "Identity Architects". Please explain to us how this claim positions itself against the current diversity of styles with which anything seems possible.
Peter Ippolito: In a world where everything seems possible, it is our aim to do projects that not only turn out to be beautiful but relevant. For us it is not about a particular style; rather, we want to create something that generates value, something that touches our emotions – and thus becomes part of our clients' history. That's why we almost radically identify ourselves with our clients. We aim to design appropriate spaces for their identities. Given today's flood of images, we want to create the right ones, not just more.
TG: How can we actually imagine the first steps in a project or how and in which team composition are ideas conceived?
PI: We are an interdisciplinary studio. That has been the basic idea from the beginning. We never wanted to consider things from one particular direction only. Besides interior designers and product designers, we also employ historians and carpenters. Due to the broad background and the diverse educational qualifications of our team, we are able to see things from the perspective of our clients. We never only think in rooms, but also in brand identities. This is how we put our international teams together – to suit the client and his specific needs.
TG: In recent years, the bathroom has developed from a functional room for washing oneself to a feel-good place with spa quality – at least that's how many people like to see it. Tell us about your daily work routine: Are such room configurations specifically requested from you? Please give us a few examples.
PI: The day starts in the bathroom and usually also ends there. One should therefore feel comfortable in this room, take the necessary time for oneself there. We have never considered bathrooms to be wet rooms but rather a part of living. If the available space permits, bathrooms are currently being requested as en-suites. Bathroom, bedroom and dressing room thus form a barrier-free entity.
TG: When it comes to the choice of materials, everything that creates a feel-good atmosphere is in demand, especially in bathrooms – of course, always connected with the demand that it can also be used in damp rooms. Where do you think the trend in bathroom design is primarily heading at the moment?
PI: In the bathroom we have body experiences. Latently, this provides for design approaches conveying an idea of nature to us. Materials such as wood, natural stone, or copper are currently in great demand, as are stone and wood imitations. At the same time, the material and color depth are increasing. In combination with decorative as well as olfactory elements, with light and refinement, the bathroom becomes an atmospherically dense overall experience – and is thus perceived as an important part of living.
TG: A personal question at the end: Which bathroom furniture would you like to design and implement? Describe it, please.
PI: I would like to design bathroom furniture the edges of which shine discreetly at night. So I don't run the risk of breaking my toes in the dark, nor of being annoyed by unnecessarily bright light that rudely wakes me from half-sleep. This would meet my personal needs as well as the natural rhythm of light.
TG: The smart home doesn't stop at the bathroom door. Showers that know the preferences of the respective user, mirrors with built-in screens displaying the latest news, or a connected washing machine – all this makes technology more complicated and is intended to simplify life. How do you deal with these new technologies?
PI: Bathrooms are places where we spend most of our time on our own. Future bathroom worlds, on the other hand, indicate extensive connectivity. Digitalization changes our view of many topics, but for us, the bathroom will always remain a place of retreat, a place that fulfills our longing for ourselves, for our own identity. As a modern, material-oriented world of experience, the bathroom is a perfect place to bring body and soul into harmony. Ultimately, however, everyone must decide for themselves what added value they see in digitalization. We are always very happy about analog things, for example when we see water in the shower gently flowing off in a beautiful spiral movement.