What does TIPTOE through the eyes of an artist look like?
Constantly in search of inspiration, we gave carte blanche to artists to appropriate our pieces in their universe. This way, we can mix two creative fields and discover TIPTOE in a new light. Do you know Laura Simonati? She is an Italian illustrator and graphic designer based in Brussels. In a few words, we would describe her universe as authentic, fresh and adorable. Portrait.
Hey Laura, can you introduce yourself?
I am an Italian illustrator and graphic designer born and raised in the suburbs of Verona, in the north of Italy. After obtaining my bachelor degree at the Faculty of Design and Art of Unibz (Bozen, Italy) I moved to Brussels, where I’m currently living and working.
How do you describe your creative world?
My main practice is illustration and I realize artworks for a wide range of purposes: posters for cultural events and institutions, children picture books, editorial design as well as commercial projects. I always combine hand drawing and digital tools but I start feeling the necessity to explore new media: I hope to find the time to experiment for example with animation or sculpture, in order to translate my visual world into new supports. I recently became part of Cuistax, a Brussel-based collective of illustrators who publish a colourful fanzine for children.
Où trouves-tu l’inspiration au quotidien ?
Inspiration is potentially everywhere! I’m very fascinated and inspired by vernacular art, so I often get impressed by shop signs in the street or, for example, by exotic packaging and vintage and ephemera. Of course Instagram and digital libraries are important source of inspiration, but I always try to keep my eyes open in “the real world”, especially while traveling or visiting museums.
How important is your home to you? What does it say about you?
I live in a tiny apartment in the neighborhood of Saint-Gilles in Brussels together with my boyfriend and my cat Balthazar. We love the house we live in but we are aware that the process of creating a space that fits and “represents” us is always a “work in progress”, often limited by issues of space and budget. Our house is a mix of new furniture and second hand one. I’m a flea market lover so I often came up with some home stuff found in the brocantes and I love to cover the walls of the house with prints of other artists I love and admire. I dream about finding a house with a garden or terrace to let my cat go out and manage to grow a big vegetable garden!
Why did you choose the LOU stool and TIPTOE table legs?
I first choose the LOU stool because I simply love it as much as object for its look and versatility, I find it iconic and a very good sample of TIPTOE material and designs. I especially love the VENEZIA tool because I think that the recycled plastic seat is a perfect combination of sustainability and aesthetic, in the sense that its peculiar aesthetic its due to its sustainable production. Concerning the TIPTOE table legs, they will be the perfect way to give new life to our current kitchen table. We really love the solid wood plank but not the current legs. By giving the possibility to buy single legs you also give customers the possibility to “re-style” and extend the life-cycle of old furniture, that’s also a sustainable choice.
What is your vision of TIPTOE?
I really like TIPTOE for the quality and sustainability of its products. I’m also fascinated by how, from the simple combination of modular steel legs and wooden /recycled plastic boards you managed to develop a whole set of furniture, from kitchen table to bench and stools.
What inspired you to integrate our items into your drawings?
I had fun imagining how cats would interact with your furniture, taking inspiration of course from my own pet, which is extremely curious. I’m fascinated about the way animals appropriate objects as we do, but in a more unpredictable and funny way.
A recent creative discovery to share with us?
A friend recently showed me a lovely IG page called “ceramiche INA-CASA” ! It’s a sort of catalog of ceramic plates that decorate some public residential houses – the project INA-Casa – built in Italy between 1949 and 1963. I love how these figurative and sometimes folkloristic images were combined with the rational and rigorous architecture of the buildings.
A cool address to share with all Brussels visitors?
If you come to Brussels, I warmly suggest having a drink at Brasserie Verschueren, located in my neighborhood, Saint-Giles. This is an historical Brasserie founded in 1880, marked by a great Art Deco interior and facade. This place is very informal and friendly, the customers range from old belgian guys drinking beer at 10 in the morning to young people enjoying the terrasse in the evening. Apart from a great selection of beers, here you can drink a delicious ginger juice while staring at the beautiful Eglise de Saint-Gilles.