NATASHA CALANDRINO VAN KLEEF
After graduating from the Faculty of Architecture at Milan Polytechnic (which was followed by a professional qualification), I worked for a decade in an architecture and design studio, of which I was a founding partner, and then as a freelance professional, working on the design and supervision of works for flats, commercial premises and public buildings for private clients. I immediately established important collaborative relationships with the Politecnico in the field of Slowdesign, and together with the other partners of my first studio I drew up the Slowdesign manifesto: everyday objects inspired by well-being, published in the magazine "Interni", no. 534, September 2003.
As an architect and eco-innovation designer, I pay particular attention to environmental impact, independence from suppliers and labour, and the responsibility of the project manager in terms of both correct design choices and the well-considered choice of materials and the development of construction techniques. I believe in respect for the client and in fairness between colleagues, and I particularly like collaborations between different professionals with a view to total transparency.
I have always been convinced that wellbeing, science, technology and culture are essential aspects of a healthy society, and in 2010 I founded the NVK brand with the aim of starting production of a new, completely sustainable fashion collection in the name of ethics and quality. I identified the so-called tencel as the most sustainable yarn on the market, as it has the quality of requiring 40 to 70% less energy than natural fibres and one tenth of the water needed for cotton. Thanks to my experience at Slowdesign, I was able to overcome the limitations of the unsupported structure of tencel (which has traditionally been used in combination with cotton) and work it in an innovative way by cutting, geometrically and doubling at critical points. This technique, which is the basis of the entire collection of NVK Daydoll® clothes, has been granted a utility patent by the Ministry of Economic Development. Another fundamental value underlying the NVK brand is health: the garments in the NVK Daydoll® collection not only reduce the environmental damage of textile processing, but also allow a high degree of skin transpiration.
In addition to sustainability, the NVK Daydoll® production line has a further strong point in the ethical supply chain: the team that makes my creations is made up of people who have been working together for a decade and who, with regular contracts, have been able to find work stability so that, if necessary, they can activate family reunification procedures.
The brand's focus on sustainability and transparency of the entire supply chain - "from yarn to finished garment" - has led NVK Daydoll® to obtain the Certification of the Textile and Health Project funded by the Ministry of Health aimed at protecting the health and safety of citizens. Thanks to this sustainable innovation in the field of fashion, I was selected to participate in several cultural meetings by the Prince Claus Fund in Amsterdam.
In 2020, following the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, I designed a functional, safe and sustainable mask called "Shield", made of 4 layers of modal/tencel, machine washable, tested and certified by the Next Technology Tecnotessile laboratories (National Research Company compliant with ISO 9001:2015). The filtering capacity is guaranteed by a slot for inserting a specific filter.
By virtue of my interest in Art History, I was selected by Imago Mundi of Luciano Benetton Collection to collaborate in the selection of the 200 best contemporary artists from four countries (Netherlands, Fijji, Australia and New Zealand), and to organise and edit the collection of their works in 4 volumes.
My experience in the environmental and cultural field led me to be appointed in 2018 as Expert of Urban Planning and Environment Commission and Expert of Culture Commission of Municipio 1 in Milan. In this capacity, I have recently organised several public events, including an informative day on health Amici per la Pelle - la moda salutare with Mauro Rossetti, textile chemist of the Associazione Tessile e Salute and Giulio Tosti, dermatologist of the IEO (2018), the exhibition of Pakistani artists Art for education at the Museo Diocesano and Palazzo Serbelloni (2018) and the multidisciplinary congress Contagio. Humans against viruses, proposed and realised in collaboration with the Presidency of the Council of the Municipality of Milan. The innovative aspect of the Contagio congress, which was broadcast live on the web on 2-3 March 2021 (currently available at https://www.comune.milano.it/-/presidenza-del-consiglio-comunale.-contagio-un-congresso-per-spiegare-la-pandemia-contro-fake-news-e-cattiva-informazione), was to bring together some of the best scholars and researchers in the medical, astrophysical and cultural fields, united by the aim of disseminating the latest scientific results and systems for inactivating pathogens in indoor environments.
As a result of this experience, in 2020 I, together with two colleagues, created the brand 'Kushim Caring Design', which will mark a series of devices made on the basis of the latest studies on the inactivation of the pathogen Covid-19 in confined environments. The first device, called SanLight, was tested in the laboratories of the L. Sacco Department of Biomedical and Clinical Sciences (University of Milan) and presented at the Milan International Furniture Fair 2021. It is an LED lamp for sanitising and reducing the infectious load in confined environments, capable of reducing the Sars-Cov-2 viral load by 90% (details at https://www.kushim.it/technology). In this context, in 2021 I started a collaboration with INAF (National Institute of Astrophysics) aimed at the development and design of other devices, soon to be presented, useful for the inactivation of the Covid-19 pathogen in confined environments and public places such as schools and offices.
I have also been an expert in the "Laboratory of Final Design Synthesis" course 2008-2009 with Luciano Crespi; I have been a commissioner for the degree on call at the Faculty of Architecture of the Politecnico di Milano since 2007, holder of patents in collaboration with the Department of Environmental Engineering of the Politecnico, qualified as a CTU at the Court of Milan and a journalist.