2 September 2015
Among the many projects he worked on for the 2015 Salone del Mobile, Giulio Iacchetti has described the pipe he designed for Savinelli as the “crispest.” It is a decidedly unusual adjective to apply to an object of design, but we get what he means. Radica Chic is a pipe that stays perfectly upright, avoiding the spilling of tobacco or ash and making it possible to enjoy a smoke with a sure and elegant gesture, without resorting to special equipment like a pipe rack. While using it, or when you’ve finished with it, the pipe can simply be put down on a table just as you do with a glass, without having to worry about it falling over. The pipe has always fascinated designers. Giulio Iacchetti is certainly not the first to try his hand at the object: it suffices to recall Roberto Sambonet and his 1988 pipe with two elliptical bowls set side by side and connected to the long and tapered mouthpiece with a variable section. Or the Optimal series designed by Joe Colombo in 1969 and produced by the French manufacturer Butz-Choquin at Saint-Claude: the pipe had a square bowl, shaped in such a way that it could be placed on a surface. The most interesting aspect of Radica Chic—the name is a play on words between the Italian for briar and the famous definition coined by Tom Wolfe—is its utilization of handicraft, in line with the approach to design that Iacchetti has perfected in recent years, especially with the products of Internoitaliano. In this case, the production has not been entrusted to a set of craft workshops, but to a single company with a reputation for excellence and its specialized workers (Savinelli is located at the center of the Varese region where Brebbia Pipe is also based). The pipe is made out of a single block of briar root, harvested from Erica arborea growing in Tuscany, that reaches its final form after a process of around 80 steps, almost all of them manual. The small imperfections in the briar, which might be considered defects in such a refined article, guarantee the uniqueness of each product. Radica Chic is a model for collectors, and can be ordered from Savinelli stores (in Milan, at Via Orefici 2).