Natasha Calandrino Van Kleef is an acclaimed architect and designer, and the owner of several patents in partnership with the Polytechnic Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering in Milan. She is a graduate degrees commissioner and specialist lecturer at the Polytechnic University of Milan. In 2010 she founded the NVK Architecture & Design studio, creating her NVK Daydoll sustainable and ethical fashion collection, which is certified by the Textile and Health Project as part of the Italian Ministry of Health’s Textile and Health Association. Shortly she will launch a new design brand called “Kushim caring design” (together with Riccardo Cavozzi and Silvia Bignami), for inactivating pathogens through indoor processes and furnishing accessories. Her interests include reading about anthropology, physics, and scientific innovations, and she is passionate about the application of new technologies in the fields of architecture, civil engineering and design. The fil rouge connecting the entire body of works of NVK Architecture & Design is the will to respect sustainability, both for the environment and for personal wellbeing. From designing interiors to creating fashion, the mission is always a search for beauty and elegance.
Awareness of the need to work sustainably, in order to guarantee a livable world for the generations to come, while still operating as an architect, led to formulating a body of norms especially tailored for design. Such rules are collected in a Manifesto of Slowdesign, which was published in Interni Magazine in 2002, during Milan Design Week, in the occasion of a Fuorisalone exibition called Slowdesign: daily objects inspired by wellbeing. Slowdesign promotes the reunion of local consumption and local production, favouring local raw material and manpower during all the stages of production of an item.
In order to minimise wastefulness and contain pollution, in particular as far as CO2 is concerned, an architect and designer should bear in mind a number of key ideas. In particular:
- Designing useful objects, therefore limiting the production of materials aimed at constructing ephemeral gadgets
- Designing objects that promote an ecological behaviour, such as items and clothes that help keeping the warmth of the own body, creating a pleasant feeling and avoiding the waste of energy used for heating (Copertina da lettura - Reading Blanket, Divanosauro of Living Tribe, Yin and Yang)
- Designing objects that last for long and will be inherited by future generations, or multifunctional (Porta, Silentbloom), so that the emissions of CO2 for their production are counterbalanced by a long life
- Guaranteeing the traceability of the product, from raw material to final object, to be able to verify and control the emissions of polluting agents during the whole production process.
- Favouring local raw material and local manpower, so to cut on pollution connected with transport
- Favouring “poor” materials, that need less stages of processing and are generally more economically sustainable