Behind the Design: Something

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What is Something?

Something is a thing, unspecified or unknown. Debiasi Sandri is a description, not exact, in-between. Something is exceptional: that was something else. Something is impressive: that was really something. Collate all of this and Something is a punctilious and rather handsome design studio. Set up in 2010 by Messrs Daniel Debiasi and Federico Sandri, Something works on product design and design consultancy. Based between London and Verona, Something’s Daniel and Federico approach design with an inquisitive mind, an observant eye and a reasoned reflection. Their designs are closely connected, each sharing similar qualities: an affable air, a modest appearance, an expressive form, a useful purpose and an aesthetic appeal.

Both Daniel and Federico work in tandem, their collaborative effort one that ensures Something’s designs are exciting and experimental, always striving and ever evolving. They encompass a broad product portfolio, including lighting, kitchenware, furniture and bathroom pieces. For the two designers, their objects are not viewed in isolation but rather conceived as part of a holistic vision, their purpose clearly thought out. It is something that makes Something special.

Gessato gets behind the design with Something’s Daniel Debiasi and Federico Sandri.

What are five words that best describe Something?

Balanced. Detailed. Simple. Tangible. Kind.

As designers, what are your indispensable qualities?

Together, as a duo, we would say: passion, flexibility, curiosity, commitment, criticism and thoughtfulness.

Where do you find inspiration?

Inspiration is mostly a subconscious process where many things come together. It is pretty much everywhere and something we absorb continuously in everyday life . It is sometimes conscious, but more often subconscious. We might have to do our homework in order to spark inspiration and make it tangible; or we might absorb it in a subliminal way.

What is the quintessence of good design?

Good design means finding the equilibrium between a number of different aspects of design. It also means establishing a link, and ideally a long-lasting connection, between a project, the surroundings and those who will experience the design. It might simply mean catching a glimpse of a smile from time to time, but that’s fine.

Are you more concerned about doing things right or doing the right things?

Perhaps doing things right, but occasionally we are lucky and the two propositions collide.

What excites you most about your work?

We have the possibility to tackle projects in various fields with access to completely different skills and technologies. We have frequent exchanges with the many people involved in a project and an ability to observe how things grow and materialise; as such we feel a sense of enrichment.

Conversely, what do you worry most about?

We worry about dropping a concept at an unreasonably early stage.

What does being successful mean to you?

Quite simply, to choose and do what it is you like to do.

What are your thoughts on the current state of design?

On the positive side, we see design reaching a much broader audience, whereas in the past it was typically an elitist concept. On the negative side, the word ‘design’ has become an umbrella term: all-encompassing, with everything and everyone searching for cover. In other words, the discipline of design may become something of a parody of itself, in a way owing to an unwarranted level of pretentiousness.

What do you feel most proud of?

It’s the path we have followed this far and the fact we still have the same level of dedication and enthusiasm.


Gerard McGuickin


I’m a design writer, lover and aficionado, living in a modish neighbourhood in south Belfast. My writing is studied and yet uninhibited, and my perspective on design is typically punctilious and urbane. My thinking is often guided by Dieter Rams’ ten principles for good design. I have an educational background in psychology (MSc + BSc) and believe in the potential for design to improve our daily quality of life. And without affectation, I value that which is aesthetically pleasing and inspiring (great design excites my imagination). Find out more at Walnut Grey Design.

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