An architect involved in a diversity of design disciplines—architecture, product, fashion—might seem strange in this country, but such professionals are indigenous to Italy. Emanuela Frattini Magnusson, AIA, trained in this tradition and set up New York–based EFM Design & Architecture in the same vein. “That’s how I started the practice,” she says. “Italian product design came out of architecture. It’s pretty much the way all architects have been trained there.”
In addition to homes, EFM designs textiles, leather goods, electronics, furniture, hardware, stemware, lighting, jewelry, brand identity, and more. Frattini Magnusson is the founder and principal designer of Articolo, a collection of European-made furniture, and is the founder of Manù, which specializes in leather bags and accessories.
Sometimes product design work finds her through conventional projects. A job to design the Getzville, N.Y., headquarters for leather goods manufacturer Spinneybeck led to a commission designing architectural products and a host of other tasks related to its corporate identity.
So what is her dream design commission? “A car interior. I’m partial to Audi, but in general I’d like to do a car interior. That would be an interesting brief to tackle.”