First of all, can you briefly tell us about the history of the company and your growth within a family tradition?
This is a typical Italian story, where craftsmanship is passed down from father to son. From the end of the 19th century to the present day, family stories are intertwined, tales that have become almost memorable, with passion and dedication to work always at the centre.
Jannelli&Volpi was founded in 1961 by intertwining my mother Emilia’s Milanese pragmatism with my father Oreste’s Neapolitan inventiveness. It was a great mixture.
In 1977 (a watershed year), Lidia and Mauro, and the later Paola, better known as the PaLiMa brothers, came into the picture at different times.
And now we are surrounded by numerous children and grandchildren…nothing is better than that.
What is your role in the company today and how do you like to define yourself?
A creative, a visionary, a 'technician' or a wallpaper expert?
I feel like a free-rider, someone who appreciates rules but prefers not to abide by them. I am stimulated by curiosity, intuition and imagination. A role I play in the company with commitment and lightness.
But without Lidia's tenacity and strength, and Mauro's kindness and vision, the whole thing would have been dull.
Today, resources have increased and there is room for many.
What was your starting point in a family business and what was the "leap" that led you to become what you are today?
I have always drawn, coloured, invented stories, sung and made "noise", but the real spark that ignited the spirit of my happiness were the encounters with lively, intelligent, witty and ironic men and women.
What thoughts and visions did you have when you were very young and decided to join the family business?
I joined the company 100% after the birth of my daughter Teresa in 1999. During my university studies, I started working on my own in a studio doing a bit of everything: from graphics to interior design, and I brought my contribution to the company from outside as a freelancer, a definition that still identifies me today. It seemed like a good way to better digest the paper that was enveloping me. It turned out to be a good choice. Looking at the outside and bringing it in.
Vision and project today.
Bringing decorum where there is space... even in space!
How do you envisage the evolution of your sector in the coming years?
There is always living to be done, and today with technology and sustainability we have a lot to do.
Today and yesterday. Does or has there been a Jannelli&Volpi style?
I believe there is a JV method: that mixture of pragmatism and imagination that we grew up with.
Home, colour and wallpaper. I know you have a strong passion for colour... I remember when I had the opportunity to photograph your house I was struck by the intense and widespread use of coloured paper.
Each space had a specific paper, a different colour, a different texture.
The house seemed magical and the spaces playful and ironic.
What was your approach and what were the ingredients used?
I believe that everyone should feel that the home, no matter how small it is, is a place where you should feel comfortable.
If you can make it look like you and not represent you (in the sense of wanting to appear) it will never be dull. It becomes yours.
And it's true: in my house there is a lot of colour and decorum but with rules. But talking about it is a bit like self-promotion, so be my guest and visit me! My house is always full of friends.
Materials and design
What does J&V do to meet designers and let them discover the evolution of the sector, the research and the endless proposals you have?
Knowing how to tell your story and promote your product is fundamental. So there are many initiatives: the most recent was the creation of a real space dedicated to the project, JVstudio. A space that meets the design needs of architects, designers and companies that also operate in the contract sector, providing support with dedicated personnel for large-scale projects, personalised technical advice, and support for the design and application of wall coverings. We would like to export it to other countries thanks to our customers.
Another important achievement in terms of digital marketing is the JV TradeNet: a cutting-edge digital solution, unique in its sector, aimed at communicating effectively with its entire system, shortening time and distances with its partners. Designed and dedicated exclusively to dealers and all points of sale looking for better efficiency and communication, the JV TradeNet is not just an Intranet or a digitalisation of the catalogue of all products, but a real B to B working tool. In the age of the digital shop, a solution that aims to guarantee immediate access to information and services that are extremely important for the daily work of the point of sale (stock availability, sample requests, ad hoc communication, marketing and order management).
How to involve designers and architects and make them aware so that they can appreciate the material aspect of wallpaper, the surface, the textures as well as the patterns and colours?
Today, all our articles are available on request in samples that are sent directly to the designer and this worldwide.
What relationship do you have with the designer, with the architect, and what kind of assistance can you provide?
There are many tailor-made projects that require a direct line to the designer. We count a lot on loyalty by not disappointing expectations and our strength lies in being versatile, both in terms of product and service.
How do you explain the fact that today ceramic companies that produce porcelain stoneware for wall and floor coverings make products that are reminiscent of wallpaper?
Digital printing technology found its first application on paper-based substrates. This led to the creation of large-format prints made using a continuous technique with sheets laid side by side. The strength and communicative effectiveness of wallpaper paved the way for this new, unconstrained form of furnishing expression. In addition, the digital terminology that defines the term wallpaper as a background for screens has fostered the circularity of this commonly used word in every language.
Is there some strange reason why this is happening in 2022?
Historical facts are somewhat like baking cakes: when they are at the right point they are ready to be enjoyed.
A mix of technology, timing and fatality. The important thing is not to stop searching and to be chameleon-like.
Who is a character, a set designer, a director, a creative person who has impressed you for his theatrical scenes and for his ability to bring a place, a landscape, an environment to life through imaginary worlds ... in the world of theatre, cinema, design, architecture?
I really liked Topotek, a Berlin-based architectural studio which has dedicated part of its work to the recovery of degraded urban spaces using the power of decoration and graphics. We covered the Porta Genova weighbridge with them years ago.
A delicate and powerful memory I dedicate to Gabriele De Vecchi who built a work of kinetic art by Gruppo T in our space: Large pneumatic object - Variable volume environment.
Working next to him was like still feeling the creative vibrations of an experimental spirit of yesteryear.
There are also many designers I have met who have inevitably become friends and playmates.
I have worked with schools and many students so it is always very nice to exchange experience and imagination with them.
I am also enjoying the field of shared reading, to which I am devoting part of my time, so much so that I have founded an association called Millefogli_lab www.millefoglilab.it
Sustainability is a hot topic, everyone is talking about it, everyone is moving in this direction or trying to do so. What can you tell us about J&V and sustainability?
The issue of sustainability is a very serious and difficult one. This definition has many meanings and should perhaps be better defined. Being consistent in this area is very complex: I believe it is more a matter of a culture to be promoted and supported, so that people become more aware of the need to take care of the quality of life in all its expressions. What has been happening in recent days has given a clear sign of failure in this sense, a real reversal .....
In which direction are you moving?
Our new industrial site is recent (2014) and has therefore been designed and built within the culture of an industrial process that is attentive to consumption, certified raw materials and research. Examples of this are certain processes: closed circuit (water for example) or circular (recovery of waste to generate other products).
J&V Paper is a natural material derived from trees. What is the origin of your papers?
We only use paper from companies that guarantee replanting (e.g. Finland).
The materials are all certified with different meanings. I’ve always wondered about that, but in all the years I’ve known you we’ve never looked into it.
How are the Jannelli&Volpi collections created?
Like children: one moment of happiness and 9 months of hard work.
Joking aside, the design process is based on many considerations: trends, technology, demands, timeframes, reference cultures, comparisons with publishers who produce for us and stimulate us to experiment further.
As a child you grew up in the family business and I imagine you enjoyed playing with leftover paper.
I used to have a lot of fun in the flat built in the 1970s showroom. Everything was fake: walls, windows, beds, kitchen, books, everything except the papers on the walls. A real mise en scene. I could go there from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. and this fiction enhanced every game.
Are you still doing that today?
I continue to play in everything I do: I colour, sew, cut, cook, bake, like that slightly spoilt child who prepares the end-of-year play, preferably in company.
In fact, I think my biggest strength is the ability to build teams.
From mother (yours) to daughter (Paola) what has been transmitted in this handover?
Did she raise you on wallpaper and glue?
My mother was an example of dedication to work and tenacity, of interpersonal skills and spirit of sacrifice. A pragmatic woman. That is why I see her hands with coloured nails at work and in the kitchen.
My father, a great visionary and lover of great enterprises, an inexhaustible source of ideas and passion.
I loved him very much and admired his way of tackling life even at difficult times, but I feel the essentiality of Emilia's being in me. In short, I was very lucky.
Thank you Paola, I wish you success in all your endeavours