When K.P.D.O’s Kerry Phelan and Stephen Javens met Italian luxury wood flooring company Listone Giordano, their mutual appreciation for quality, materials and rigorous detailing would shape a new collection called Butterfly, and the Italian manufacturer’s first collaboration with Australian designers.
‘What we love about Italian manufacturers,’ remarks Stephen Javens, as we discuss K.P.D.O’s new collection ‘Butterfly' for flooring company Listone Giordano, ‘is they have such a depth of experience, and a long tradition of craft.’
For Listone Giordano, that experience and craft would be shaped by innovation from the start. The company who first produced sleepers for the Italian railways following the second world war, moved into primary timber processing in 1962 when timber was replaced by concrete. Setting up an advanced production facility in Burgundy, France, and a carefully managed plantation of oak trees, it was there in 1984 where Professor Guglielmo Giordano developed a novel flooring system that had the characteristics to improve the limits of traditional hardwood flooring. The floorboard's multilayered birch support, together with transversal incisions and micro-metric joints, would prevent the hardwood flooring from ever warping.
After specifying the brand for years, K.P.D.O.’s Kerry Phelan and Stephen Javens would meet the manufacturer on a visit to Milan during the Salone del Mobile and they hit it off. ‘We loved the Medoc collection by Michele De Lucchi, one of our very favourite designers, and we have specified acres of it, I think we were the only designers in Australia to use Medoc and Biscuit by Patricia Urquiola,’ Javens remarks. ‘We all got on really well but at that stage we didn’t have a concept, so we said we’d like to have the opportunity to try and develop something and come back and pitch.’
By 2018, K.P.D.O. had designed Butterfly inspired by simple materials and how they are 'knitted' together, and the beautiful paving patterns found in Italy. ‘We have an obsession with pattern and one of the things we all do when we’re in Milan or Rome or San Remo, is walk around and get transfixed by the way stone in classical architecture is so beautifully knitted together,' explains Javens. ‘We have been laying the same parquetry patterns for centuries, so we began thinking about how we could give it a twist to give specifiers something with a touch more personality. I think there are complex reasons why things should be simple so that’s how the concept came together.’
After a year in design development, Listone Giordano would present Butterly back to Javens and Phelan the following year, the finished board bridging innovation and the traditions of woodworking. Through its system of two pieces, a plank and a connector, Butterly forms different geometric patterns while referencing the method for repairing split-timber sections that woodworkers have used for generations. ’When we went back to Listone Giordano in 2019, it was amazing. They had worked all night setting up a 1:1 installation in their showroom with all of Butterfly’s colours and finishes. This was during the Salone del Mobile so they had to pack it all up so they could open the showroom the next day. They must have been working for 24 hours straight!’
‘We have been laying the same parquetry patterns for centuries, so we began thinking about how we could give it a twist to give specifiers something with a touch more personality. I think there are complex reasons why things should be simple so that’s how the concept came together.’
— Stephen Javens, K.P.D.O.
Landing back to Australia with 30 samples in different colours and textures, K.P.D.O. went through another process of elimination to get the collection down to six colours and two shapes that create, as Javens remarks, ‘a range of permutations.’ ‘The team at Listone Giordano is incredibly enthusiastic,’ Javens continues. ‘They even said they could make the butterfly shapes in stone or metal so that might be what happens in the future. For now, it’s just a beautiful timber flooring system.’
Listone Giordano is available exclusively in South East Asia from Poliform Australia and Space Australia.