Born in Germany, lives and works in London and Venice. She started her career as a fashion designer in Munich Germany. For the following years working in this field, including designing haute couture collections for a private clientele, she launched her inspiring own label ‘zwei’ in London, creating ‘modern clothes for working women’ for which she received the best British Design Award of the year 1982.
A long-running compulsion to design furniture led her to leave the fashion business, and study furniture design at the Royal College of Art London. Since graduating in 1993 she has worked as a designer for a number of renowned european furniture manufacturers, including Classicon, Wittmann and Habitat, as well as private commissions. She has won numerous awards including two Red Dot Awards for high quality design and the International Design Award for longevity Baden-Württenberg. She had various exhibitions and a calling to the teaching profession that reflect her achievements, which go beyond the market success of her products.
Gioia designs have been publicized in countless books and international publications. In her approach to fashion lies her secret to success in furniture. What is astonishing given her fashion design background is the sophisticated nature of her furniture that embodies these concepts, combining timeless and aesthetic forms with stylish functionality without relinquishing sensuality and movement.
© LUCY BULLIVANT
Folding and wrapping allows one to visualize the sheer geometry of these shapes and yet adjust them to the way one may work or wander, sit down or even sleep.
This is geometry and skin, articulated elements which can be put to use – a work of art, and here one may just be looking at a hollowed-out sculpture, embracing the surrounding space in the negative, but also unfolding in a multifunctional pattern:
Such as the Monolith and the Infinite
Whether it is steel or glass, there is an Inside and an Outside, light plays on its surface and enhances the multifaceted perception one has of Gioia’s works. Lines cutting through space, defining the inner and outer volumes, while simultaneously inviting the body to relax into their elegant folds. A perpetual tension, steel and glass, the weight of which is offset to a perfect balance.
Then there is light, again carved through ever bending parts, combining soft curves and sharp verticality. This can be assembled in an endless span of shapes to suit one’s surroundings.
While these works are borne, emerging from of a two-dimensional plan, the drawing board or the spread-out surface of steel or glass sheets, once built, they fill their three-dimensional function, and keep their ever changing purpose adapting to the body as much as challenging the eyes and mind.
Tension and contrast take yet a further course in Gioia’s most recent realisations, from grasping the very density of matter to letting the media disappear as if drowning into air.
The Va-Vite, a living machine, a solely functional piece, pure volume which is designed to concentrate and thus rationalize the daily use of various elements which usually fill at random the inner void of a lived-in space. From a double-bed to a sofa where side-tables become comfortable backboards, the ideal studio module created to one unique organic combination.
The Façade, where light is the colour as these stained-glass windows stream down the wall of a XVII century courtyard. All the illusions of the mind mirrored in the changing hues of the Laguna waters, the capricious weather playing with the designs and in the bottom window from the dark flow surges a barely recognizable profile, a gentle salute to whoever has meandered his way up to that running river of light and darkness.
© CATHERINE BERNARD